One day in the first year of my wife’s teaching career, one of her students entered her classroom, and excitedly began to share about her afternoon plans.
“Mrs. Miller, today I am going with my mom to go see Stanley Steels.”
“Oh, wow!” Lisa responded. “That sounds like fun. Who is Stanley Steels?”
The student’s eyes grew round with disbelief, and she replied, “You don’t know Stanley Steels?” She shared a look of amusement with a few other students who were nearby.
Lisa thought for a moment and said, “No, I don’t.”
The student said in awe, “Well, what do you cook with then?”
Totally confused, Lisa said, “I use my pots and pans.”
“That’s Stanley Steels!” the student exclaimed with a smile and went on with her morning work.
As Lisa shared the story with me later in the evening, she told me she had quietly laughed to herself as she realized “Stanley Steels” was indeed one and the same as her “stainless steel” cookware.
Our son, Bennett is one of the sweetest little boys you will ever have the chance to meet. He wants to make his thoughts and preferences known, but you will have to work to understand him through sign language, grunts, and word approximations, mostly made up of vowel sounds. Kind and gentle with no judgment, he patiently shows us what he wants or needs by pointing to his communication chart, or waits for us to ask him a list of “yes” and “no” questions since those are two words of the dozen he is able to say clearly.
Many of us take our ability to communicate for granted and are easily able to share our thoughts, ideas, needs, or wants. When a portion of the message gets tangled, such as the case with Stanley Steels, we struggle to make our points or the connections we are aiming for, and it can cause confusion. Most of us have probably never tried even to imagine what it’s like to communicate using a method other than speaking when, in reality, there are many different ways to connect with one another.
As always, may you find joy in the simple things.
Marlin Miller is the publisher of Plain Values magazine