Sometimes, we forget the impact we can have on others. Even the smallest gesture toward another person can have an effect greater than we can even imagine, and even much more far reaching than we even dream. Usually, we don't see or hear about the ripple effect that we as one person can make in our community, our world, or the future of tomorrow's people.
At the end of class each week, we have a question and answer period where the children can ask questions. Often they just want to know why a certain sign is gestured in a particular way. Most of the time my answer is simply, "I don't know". This week, one of my first grade students raised his hand and asked, "Mrs. E., are you teaching us Sign Language because someday we'll be deaf?"
The first grade teacher quickly spoke up while I was still processing his question and said, "There is very little probability of that happening, the percentage is pretty low". We don't want these children worrying about such things as this.
However, if we live long enough, the aging process does deafen many of us, but that is not why I teach Sign Language to these children and their teachers.
The highlight of this particular class was when their first grade teacher shared with us a story of what took place in her family's restaurant last week.
A group of people came into their restuarant, and she greeted them. After they sat down, she noticed they were not talking, they were not even moving their lips, but they were signing. She went over to sign with them and take their order. They were very surprised she could sign and carry on a conversation with them. They asked where she learned. She told them she teaches at a school where Sign Language is part of the curriculum. They were so surprised, and they thought this was absolutely wonderful!
After sharing this story with us, the teacher pointed at me and said, "You are making a difference."
This is the main reason why I am teaching Sign Language to school age children and their teachers.
This teacher made a difference in the dining experience of her deaf customers that evening. The little boy who asked the serious question about becoming deaf someday is making a difference by showing his father the signs he is learning in school. His father has a deaf student in one of his classes at a local college. These little ripples are reaching out in our community, one ripple at a time.
By teaching American Sign Language in our schools, we are bridging tomorrow's communication gap with today's children. It's all about communicating and building relationships with people right here in our community. Schools teach Spanish, German and French. It's time we taught ASL, a recognized language of our own American heritage to our own American school children. I am very pleased to be involved with a progressive school that understands this and asks me to come back and share with them each year. I'm also very pleased to be part of making a difference with Signing Time DVD's and materials as an instructor of Signing Time Academy
By the way, check out the difference Signing Time is making in Ghana