Sound of Silence
My son and I are taking American Sign Language at the Community College in our area. We are on our second semester and will be taking a Summer intensive this June. Like any language there is a lot of memorizing vocabulary. What makes learning sign language so different from my past adventures in learning language (German and Spanish) is that this is in the body. Our educational structure in general relies heavily on auditory learning and learning languages in particular is loaded with listening and hearing, tuning your ear to an unfamiliar language. But Sign language is not like that. A different brain leap has to happen between your thoughts and your body. It has been a fascinating and humbling experience. Along with learning the vocabulary we are learning about deaf culture as well, though documentaries and question and answer times with our deaf instructor. The deaf community is strong, lively and independent. Recently we watched a movie called “Sound and the Fury” which was shown at film festivals in the early 2000’s and on PBS (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/soundandfury/). The documentary explores two families’ struggles as they look at cochlear implants for their children. It is very compelling, and I recommend you seek it out. In any event after the showing in our class our instructor took questions. She is very clear, she does not need “fixing” and if she were offered a pill to give her hearing today she would not take it. “It is very peaceful being deaf, why would I give that up?” One of the deaf people in the documentary shared a similar sentiment.
This is has intrigued me ever since, so this week I want to explore the idea of the peacefulness of silence. As a part of the class we have to be “deaf for a day”, wearing earplugs all day and only signing or writing to communicate, so perhaps this will give me some insights. Until Friday seek peace where ever you can find it!