Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hear you go

Close your eyes for a second.  You're getting closer to experiencing the world to a person born blind.  You're not there yet though.  All those things you know because you saw them in use or experienced them through moments aided by the visual, forget those, too.  Try and think now how you'd explain a table or any other object for that matter to someone who's never known a house, a kitchen or shared a meal like you and me.  The task becomes so much harder.

Let's be honest, Jude will never know a table in the same sense that you and I know one.  He will come to an understanding of one through different ways than we likely came to their awareness.  Many parents, and I speak for myself, take so much of the learning experience for granted.  I never sat down and explained a motorcycle to my older sons, but nonetheless, they have few interests bigger.  It is true, so much learning happens visually and through the subconscious.

Here in lies our biggest challenge as Jude's primary teachers.  We must get him to a point where he too can appreciate motorcycles, tables and all sorts of things.  This takes a lot of time and personal evaluation as to why we use things, what good they serve and how they exist.  If you walk into our house most mornings while breakfast is being prepared, you're in for an auditory treat, if not a little turkey bacon.  Each step is typically announced and, with effort, explained.

"Jude, I'm putting the milk back in the refrigerator now," I'll say.  "This is where we store foods needing to keep at a cooler temperature," etc. and so forth.  You get the picture, but does Jude?  We feel like we must narrate our lives, and in many regards, we should for Jude.  It's a good thing that I like to talk, because it's become our way of life.  Friends and family talk to him in a way that both educates and includes.  We appreciate and encourage this.

Do you remember ever feeling lost or left out during a conversation sitting among peers?  Maybe everyone is talking about someone or something you weren't a part of; they're all laughing or sharing the moment.  The worst part is that feeling of exclusion followed by "this is awkward!"  Carrying on in disregard for Jude's lack of sight would be similar.  We've already explained the table, might as well tell him what's going on around it!

St. Jude: Pray for us.

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