A New Language

Last night was our monthly Cub Scout pack meeting where the entire family is to attend.  In a moment of transparency, Mike and I would tell you that we dread going.  Why?  It’s just that we’re just tired, and sitting on metal chairs among a bunch of hyper boys, with a lot of awards to be given out, well, it can get … well, hard to stay awake. But we love seeing Sam and how much he loves Boy Scouts so it’s worth every minute.

Last night we were extra glad we went.

We witnessed a great communicator, or as Mike said, “The most alive human being I’ve seen in a long time.”

He was the director of the Idaho Council for Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  And he spoke with, as we discovered, the third most used language in the United States – American Sign Language.  We were all a bit surprised that over 120,000 people in our state were deaf.  The director showed the boys a bunch of famous people that we weren’t aware were deaf and spoke of their positive attitude.

Anabelle, who had begged to bring her Nintendo DS “I’ll keep the volume off, pleassseeee….”  put her DS down in favor of watching the man sign and listening to his translator.  She even started asking questions, fascinated, and then whispered to me, “Can I learn it?”

In elementary school, I had a teacher who taught our class fingerspelling.  At a young age I mastered the ASL alphabet and it became so hardwired that whenever I sang the alphabet to my babies, I showed them the corresponding sign language to keep them engaged.  But the alphabet is all I know.

So after a bunch of research, I found a free online video course that helps you learn the basics of sign language.  Clearly, if learned at a young age it sticks with you, so I’d like the kids to at least know some.

Here’s what we’ll be trying tonight:  Free Sign Language Class

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