To the point week of 5/10/07


THERE ARE ALL SORTS OF THINGS going on this week that are near and dear to my heart. Some of them are very familiar to you, while others may be a little more obscure.

May is “Better Hearing and Speech Month”, and it brings to the forefront the issue of hearing loss and the stigma that goes with it.

My older brother has lived with a hearing loss nearly all of his life – certainly for all of mine. Growing up I learned that hearing loss is not some tragedy, but rather a medical condition that needs to be treated for the betterment of the people with the loss.

Like wearing eyeglasses, hearing aides help a person overcome a deficiency. It is rather amazing, however, that small children wearing eyeglasses aren’t looked upon in any way that a child wearing a hearing aid is.

As a father, my youngest daughter overcomes a hearing loss by wearing hearing aids. She has done this since she was very little, and has not let them hamper her in any way. She lives a very active life, and is a confident and outgoing young lady who I am very proud of.

Which leads me to ask the question: why don’t more people get their hearing checked? And: If there is a loss, why won’t people wear hearing aids?

Hilary’s audiologist, a wonderful doctor named Cathy Goldsmith, tells me that as people age, it is natural that functions decline – from eyesight to hearing.

When it begins to happen, we run and get our glasses, contacts, or bifocals – but heaven help us if we go and check on hearing aids.

Today’s hearing aids are nothing like the ones my brother wore as a child. Today microtechnology allows the aid to fit completely inside the ear canal – virtually undetectable to others.

As our children listen to louder and louder music through headphones and ipods, we run an even higher risk of damaging our hearing prematurely.

So, May is a month set aside for people to be more aware of better hearing – and I encourage you to “be brave” and get the help you need.

It’s also Better Speech month, and as a child in elementary school I attended speech classes.

For some reason my “R’s” sounded like “W’s”, so I spend a couple of years pushing my tongue against the roof of my mouth in front of a large mirror while repeating “Red Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers”.

My speech pathologist, a man named Glen McDermott, had me come back to his elementary classes as a high school student and tell them about my time in his class. As a senior I was the public address announcer at home basketball games – and it was rather surprising to the kids that someone would talk over a loud speaker after growing up saying “Wed Wubba Baby Buggy Bumpas”.

Not many kids read this column, but if parents who have children in speech class do, please let them know that they can overcome any obstacle that may be placed in their way – and that comes from a “speech class alum” who spent more than 20 years talking on a PA system and now preaches to a congregation every Sunday morning.


As you read this I am chaperoning the 8th grade trip to Dearborn, Michigan. This is my fourth time going on an 8th grade trip to the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village – once as a student and three times as a chaperone with my three daughters.

If you’ve never been to the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, I would encourage you to go. It’s a fairly short trip in a time of $3 per gallon gasoline; and the history that you will find there is amazing.

From the limousine that President Kennedy was riding in when he was assassinated in Dallas to the bus that Rosa Parks was on and refused to give up her seat, those who go to the museum can get up close and personal with some very important pieces of American history.

If you’re a history buff, it’s well worth the trip.


Finally, Sunday is Mother’s Day, and I need to take the time to say hello to my mom and tell her how much I love her.

My mom raised a house full of boys – four if you count my brothers and my dad. As the only man living in a house filled with girls, I have a better understanding of the trials and tribulations that she went through on a daily basis, putting up with dirty sports uniforms and farm clothes and work clothes and a variety of other things that we drug home.

My house was a place where any of my friends could come and find a meal and a place to sit and relax. My friends, and the friends of my brothers, were always treated like they were “one of the family”, even when supper had to be spread a little thinner.

There are more long distance calls made on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year, so if you still have the opportunity, call your mom and tell her that you appreciate all that she’s done for you.