Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Tribe of Many Cultures

"All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree"
Albert Einstien

If you like my blog you may want to check out my friend's new blog. She just got started recently. Only three posts so far but her story is as complicated as mine. It will unfold, I am sure, over time. Our stories are never the stuff of a manual.

Our Greatest Journey

I met this family almost six years ago. I was their first ASL teacher. They showed up with a deaf infant and a toddler. I am a bit of a snob when I teach. I don't allow SEE signs or Baby Sign Language. My son visits to tell stories and I expect everyone to become voice off signers. There are other classes for folks who want something different. I am oriented to second language acquisition. Most of the folks who sign up have hearing kids. They were different.

So I mentioned they showed up. Mom and dad came to my class. Dad was an equal partner. I was shocked. I remember looking at their little baby and hoping they would stick with it regardless of what intervention options they chose. I remember how brave they were.

We were different, like apples and oranges, I am a free spirited artist and very liberal by nature. They were more conservative.  Turns out the mom is a talented artist and the dad is gifted in his "art" even though I doubt he would frame it that way. They have the same drive to make the world a better place. They love their children and are willing to think in such depth and not just do as they are advised.  They don't judge others..... maybe we are more alike than different? Turns out we are of the same tribe.

So a few years later..... I consider them to be trusted friends even though we have no political or religious similarities. We can ask each other candid questions without the fear of being judged. I can learn about them and not feel they will be threatened if I don't follow. I am allowed to understand. I can allow them to just be with my respect. They can expect the same from me. Huh.... that is my vision of utopia.

So the way I see it is we are all standing around the same tree. From my view the branches slope one way. From yours maybe it looks different. The guy over there that we don't know is seeing a branch that needs trimming. We are all looking at the same tree. How about we all work to take care of it?


  1. Hi, I am a deaf mother of a child with Down syndrome...I just saw your blog on DeafRead and was wondering why you chose your blog title? There is the famous story about going to Holland that is used to describe how it feels to have a child with Ds. Any connection?
    My blog is over at

    Good to know you!

  2. Wow! I peeked over at your blog.... Ergo is the easiest way to wear a baby, I am jealous of your trip and now I am really hungry.... I love it!

    There is a connection. That essay was written for a child with DS. It was given to me the first time our case worker met with us along with a list of limits we would reach. I admire her writing but it was a springboard for our experience. Her original meaning has been used to give parents as a limit in regards to all children who are not born in the typical range. For use her message was hijacked. Here is my response

    Warmest wishes