Boy, did I pick a great time to be alive, and great parents to be born to!
My mom is an elementary teacher, and my dad is a speech and hearing therapist. I was taught to read early, and I don’t remember having any trouble talking. Of course, moving from New York to mellow Ohio (adjective, not place name) has slowed and softened my speech some.
I remember one time, after college but not this century, when I affected a stutter. It wasn’t any sort of a mocking thing. I have been around people who stutter, but only knew one well (Don Coleman, former landlord). I was just trying something different, seeing if I could do it convincingly.
I succeeded. I don’t remember the specifics now, but I imagine people asking me if I stuttered, and I’d clearly answer something like “No, I don’t stutter. Perhaps you mistake me for another person.” And maybe that’s why I did it, for that look of amazement as their assumption got undermined.
Anyway, I succeeded too well. I remember the time when I started speaking and it came out as a stutter, unintentionally. It frightened me, and I don’t think I have tried to stutter again. But I’m happy to live in a time where there are people (including my father) who can help those afflicted with stuttering and other speech defects.
As opposed to living a few thousand years ago. Back then, a speech defect could be deadly. From Judges 12:5-6:
The men of Gilead captured the crossings of the Jordan River that led to the country of Ephraim. A person from Ephraim trying to escape would say, “Let me cross the river.” Then the men of Gilead would ask him, “Are you from Ephraim?” If he replied no, they would say to him, “Say the word ‘Shibboleth.’ ” The men of Ephraim could not say that word correctly. So if the person from Ephraim said, “Sibboleth,” the men of Gilead would kill him at the crossing. So forty-two thousand people from Ephraim were killed at that time.
We read that and say “Silly Ephraimites!”. If we think a little bit more, we are happy that we weren’t born in a country where we couldn’t speak the language.
Dig deeper here. We are ALL born into a country where we don’t speak the language. We grow up with tall tales and white lies, with disrespect for our elders and others, with gossiping and greed. All have sinned. And yet, instead of a sword, we were given a Savior who took the penalty for us, One who loves us and wants to teach us how to talk. He teaches us how to pray.
And He does it perfectly, with love, patience, compassion, and wisdom.
Blessed be the name of the Lord!