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Monday, August 25, 2014

Burden given to Children of Deaf Adults.

I have been married for 10 years and loving her more everyday.  We have four beautiful daughters and they are now all in school.  Now that my youngest have started Pre-K, my wife and I now have the time to sit back and relax.  Of course, we think about them and hope they are having a good day at school but I, myself, can't stop wondering of how others are treating them. 

Yes, they are different, not only because of their nationalities, but because of us as being deaf parents.  My children can sign and read lips pretty well.  Make me wonder if the other kids or bullies may thank of them as weirdos or freaks all because they are different or able to communicate in sign language.  In a way,sign language, can be a blessing or a curse. 

Blessing because they can communicate without the voice and it can be a curse those who don't know how to sign, can become annoyed or  they want to know what was being said.

Blessing because they can sign from afar or through the window and people would sometime people would stare at them and wonder what they are signing about.  They can keep secret from those who can't sign but surely can't do that in front of us, deaf parents, people, or signers.  

Now, to us who are deaf or hard of hearing, when they are speaking with their voices without signing, it's a curse.  We can't understand what were being said or if we don't see their lips, we missed out a lot. 

At dinner table, we love to see our children laugh and enjoy their dinner and  my kids love to make sure that we were in the conversation at the dinner table, and that my wife and I don't feel left out of our kids' lives. 

When we are communicating to other deaf people, we made sure we do the same.  We interpret to our kids when they can't understand some signing words  and help them learn new words and stay involved in our world.  Just as when we can't understand what a hearing person said, my children would either sign that word or finger-spell that word out for us to understand.  We made sure that we as a family, are involved in both worlds. 

We don't want to make our hearing children "deaf" minded.  We can't expect our children to be "deaf" but we can show them the differences between how deaf people are in the deaf culture and hearing culture.  We can show them sign language, our expressions, our body behaviors, our thoughts, and much more.  But we should be able to accept them as hearing children and let them be hearing  Yes, my children can sign, and understand some of how we are because we are their parents but never will  fully grasp the concept of the deaf mentality and thoughts. 

My children are CODA (Children of Deaf Adults) and sometimes to them, it is a burden.  They are there to interpret for us, to protect us even though we are supposed to protect them because we are the parents!  They made sure that we are safe from danger such as the hissing of the gas pipe, the whistling of the kettle, the loud bangs and noises from outside and so forth.  Bless their hearts, they protected us even though we didn't ask them to.  They do it out of love and we "deaf" parents use our eyes to protect them from visible threats and dangers around them.   We are family and team.  

As my children grow older, I always remind them that I am thankful and appreciative of what they have done for us.  I don't want them to be obligated for us.  I want us (parents) to be responsible for their well beings and make sure they have a good childhood.  Let them be kids and yes sometime I do want them to grow up but I have to remind myself that they only have one childhood to live.  Let them be kids and not carry our burden just because we are deaf.  

So to deaf and hard of hearing world, we do get frustrated and left out in the hearing world and we do suffer from dinner table syndrome but we aren't the only ones.  There are hearing people that traveled to different countries, not speaking their native language and feel left out in the crowd all because they couldn't speak their language.   They share our burdens as well.  So we are all similar in many ways and the only major difference is this :  We can't hear and they can hear. 

To all Children of Deaf Adults, thank you for all your help and carrying the burdens of being children of deaf adults.  Thank you for stepping up to make our "Deaf" world easier and safer.  Now, we want to do the same for you, let's us make your world easier and allow you to be yourself as a hearing person. 


USMC Gunny said...

Amen to that!

Anthony Moore said...

Roger. I can tell you that my daughters both elected to take Sign language as their electives in high school. I didn't understand why as Spanish and French would be the natural choices. I learned some sign language when I was growing up with my uncle. I have never been able to use this outside of the family but hopefully my daughters will