We Never Know Our Reach
Posted January 7, 2011on:
I was so surprised and honored to receive a recent message from a woman in Brazil who had sent me a friend request on Facebook. Because I did not know her, I inquired who she was and why she was interested in connecting.
Ignes wrote: “I am the president of the Brazilian Institute of Fluency – IBF. I’m a speech pathologist specializing in the treatment of stuttering, however I’m not a person who stutters. This is my personal website: www.gagueiraonline.com.br. It is written only in Portuguese yet, but I plan to translate it into English and Spanish soon.”
“I really admire your work. Here in Brazil we use a video of you – in lectures and courses to educate teachers about what stuttering is and how to treat a person who stutters. I visited your blog and really enjoyed it. I forwarded the link to several people from the Institute and two colleagues in particular who are also founders of the IBF and women who stutter. They will probably write to you.”
“It is indeed a great pleasure to establish contact with you and be able to exchange knowledge.”
Now maybe I am just getting wimpy in my old age, but this really touched me. I did not even know that somewhere in Brazil, teachers are looking at a video of me talking to kids about stuttering so they would understand it and know how to best work with those children. The kids I talked to that day did not stutter. I was teaching them about it so they would not be afraid when they encounter someone who talks different and not laugh at someone who stutters.
What a powerful message this was for me when I read Ignes’ response. We never know who we might touch. We never know how what we do today may impact someone else tomorrow. I visited that middle school to talk to kids about respect for differences during National Stuttering Awareness Week two years ago and it is making a difference in Brazil today as well. Wow!
Moments like this remind me of why I keep doing this. Sometimes I don’t get any feedback and wonder if I should keep on writing and sharing my journey, my story. Thank you , Ignes, for reminding me that what we do does matter.