Monday, November 21, 2011

Don't Point!

I stood singing in church one morning, my hands moving as much as my mouth.  The church-provided FM system hung over my right ear, the wire snaking down to the box clipped to my pocket.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw the little blonde haired blue-eyed girl in the row behind me pointing at me.  I turned to smile at her and watched her ask her mommy why I had the funny thing on my ear. I watched her mommy pull her hand down from pointing and saw the words "don't point" as they came out of her mother's mouth.  The rest of the reply was lost as the mother and the child turned away and we moved into a time of prayer.
My heart wanted to yell at her or at least offer gentle advice, since I'm not exactly the yelling and screaming type of person.  I wanted to tell to let her daughter point, to let her daughter ask questions, to let her daughter ask *me* questions.
Some of you mind think that this sort of response encourages rudeness or impertinence and perhaps it does, but that's not how I see it.
The genuine, inquisitive, questions of a child who doesn't yet understand the world around her are not offensive.  Neither are the genuine inquisitive questions of an adult who does not understand the world around them.
What *is* offensive though is people who assume they know the answers without asking.  The people who don't asking can't really know.
If we hadn't been sitting in church and I had the opportunity to interact with the child, I would have taken my FM system off and handed it to her and let her listen.  I would have shown her my hearing aids and explained that my ears were broken and that hearing aids were like glasses for my ears.  I would have told her that I use my eyes to "hear". I would have asked her what her name was and then shown her How I would fingerspell it.  I would have answered her questions. And I would have answered the questions that her mom was too afraid to ask.
And I would have told her them that pointing was okay, as long as they weren't laughing as me when they pointed.

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