Enunciation was a big deal for me as a student. A rather shy child, I tended to mumble my answers for fear of saying the wrong thing. The response from whatever adult was addressing me was, “Speak up and speak clearly. I can’t understand you.”
In high school, I took my first speech class. Standing before a group of peers and giving a talk on anything is nothing short of terrifying. Fear causes everyone to default to what they’re familiar with, and my very first speech was more mumbled than spoken.
Children begin with the challenge of speaking clearly and understandably. My own kids struggled with the letters L, R, CH, and SH.
I’ve been reminded of that as the grands develop their speech skills.
Mason, who is not yet three, has an excellent grasp of language learning. He’s able to communicate well and tries repeating every word anyone speaks to him.
The letter L is a challenge. Which makes saying his new brother’s name difficult.
Nolan comes out “No One”.
The name No One speaks to Mason’s current condition. He’s been the baby for long enough to expect the attention of his parents and others. Nolan has dethroned him from that position. There’s no resentment on the part of the older brother, but it’s taking some effort to acclimate to the little guy.
Like most newborns, it isn’t a wise choice to leave them alone with the slightly older next in line. Closeness in age can cause frustration for the one who is no longer the center of attention.
Mason may mispronounce Nolan’s name, but for him, Nolan is a bit of a No One.
No one wants to be a No One.
Who we are is important. All of us long to be seen, known, and valued for what we do and what we’re able to contribute to family and community.
It’s easy to feel conspicuous about ways we don’t “appear” as everyone else. If we don’t speak well or look like social media insists we look, it’s easy to relegate ourselves to a place where we’re not enough, not equal to those around us.
He has created each of us in His beautiful image. No one is a mistake or made poorly. He has given us all value, with a will to make choices for ourselves, emotions to reach out in care and compassion for others, and intellect that we may learn and grow.
There are those who have special needs, from birth or other situations. These people are talented in ways far greater than we can imagine. People born with challenges have gifts and aptitudes we often miss, gifts that may be hidden from the world at large, but not from God.
God doesn’t make “no ones”.
We are often quick to judge what is and what isn’t worthy of our attention or admiration.
God’s rubric for acceptability is the gift of His Son. He longs for all to know His redemption.
Mason may struggle with Nolan’s name, but he will come to value him as his brother.
What will it take for you to value those around you who are different?