Make Room For The Stuttering

On Obligation

Posted on: August 28, 2009

I went to a conference last week on education reform and what leaders need to do to make sustainable change in the ways we teach our kids. One of the driving messages was the idea that we need to strive for deeper understandings. That it is not enough to just prepare students for tests, that we must ensure that learners can think, challenge and ask the right questions for real learning to occur.

One particular theme hit home for me, as I saw this relating to stuttering as well. “We have a moral obligation to share what we know. Knowledge does no good if we don’t pass it along.”

In the stuttering community, we do have that same obligation. To share our ideas, ask questions, be honest about what works for us and what doesn’t, and talk about our needs. This is the main reason that there are so many good sites and blogs about stuttering. To share information, provoke thought and get us thinking about the tough stuff that maybe is not talked about all of the time.

I know this is why I write. I feel compelled to share what I know, what I think and feel about stuttering in general and my stuttering as it relates to my world and my life. There are many people who are afraid to talk about stuttering. If we don’t talk about it, we lose a precious opportunity to generate ideas and possibly new directions to help each other.

These are a few of the things I feel obligated to do as a person who stutters and has lived this experience.

  • openly talk about stuttering, to help normalize it for me and others
  • let people know it is OK to ask me questions
  • share with people what I think about stuttering
  • discuss ideas and research I read or hear about with other people
  • teach people who don’t know about stuttering what it really is
  • be honest about stuttering feelings – fear, shame, worry, uncertainty
  • be encouraging to those who feel negative or hopeless about their stuttering
  • talk to kids and parents and SLPs as much as possible about stuttering
  • seize teachable moments to help somebody understand on a deeper level
  • recognize that each of us who stutter is an expert on our stuttering

We can’t be greedy with our knowledge. Our experience, our journey, what we have learned, is a valuable commodity. We have to share it with others, and as corny as it sounds, light the path for others. I really do believe this is my personal responsibility. We make a difference.

What about you? Do you agree? Do you feel responsible for sharing your knowledge?

3 Responses to "On Obligation"

Pam, I couldn’t agree more.


But do you feel like at times you want to check out from it when someone asks questions and is doting on the topic… when ya just don’t feel like talking about it? How do you sway from it? Or do you not since you feel an obligation to share your knowledge?

Yeah, sometimes I don’t feel like talking about stuttering. But lately it seems that much of what I think about is somehow connected. Stuttering for me is/has been a journey,struggle, connection and is almost spiritual for me in a sense. So I do feel compelled most of the time.

But then other times its just absolutely refreshing to just experience life and not think about stuttering. Because it is just a part of what makes me whole.

Good questions – you made me think!

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Same protection applies to the podcasts linked to this blog, "Women Who Stutter: Our Stories" and "He Stutters: She Asks Him." Please give credit to owner/author Pamela A Mertz 2022.
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