Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Learning to chill out in the gymnastics class waiting room

As I sat in the parent waiting area during Hannah's dance class, I saw a dad of one of the kids in the gymnastics class next door walk behind me. Then I heard him loudly whisper/mouth the word, "FOCUS! FOCUS!" to his child through the glass windows.

In my head I was rolling my eyes. "Chill out, dude. This is a five-year old class. You have some time until the Olympics," I thought to myself, as I had flashbacks of my own dad trying to coach us from the sidelines us for so many well-meaning, but kind of frustrating years. 

And then I caught something from the corner of my eyes. He wasn't just whispering. He was signing the word "focus." I'm such a jerk. He wasn't telling his kid to focus because he wanted him to be The Next Big Thing in gymnastics. His kid is deaf and doesn't have the luxury of looking the other way and still knowing what the teacher is saying. And his kid was on the balance beam. 

Turns out I'm the one who needed to chill out.

First of all, this kid's parents took the time to learn sign language. Did you know that like almost 90% of hearing parents of deaf children don't bother learning sign language? Can you imagine not being able to communicate with your parents in your primary mode of communication?! Second, it has got to be scary to put your kid in classes like gymnastics when they are the only person who is deaf and there aren't any accommodations for him. I mean shoot.

My bad, gymnastics dad. I salute you.

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