Sunday, February 22, 2009

Respect others...and their points of view.

Good evening everyone,

I was enjoying two slices of pizza today on this cold, raw day here in the metro New York area, and I decided to sit down in the restaurant, instead of picking them up. Maybe it was coincidence, but I sat underneath a framed photo that had a list of Italian proverbs on them. And the very first one said "Respect others and you will be respected."

Those who read the blog know that I have a tremendous amount of respect and wholly dedicated devotion to my fellow NSA chapter leaders. Regardless of what we believe in our own private lives, we can come together for the triumph of the NSA and to support people who stutter everywhere.

One of the most interesting topics (or spirited debates if you want to call it that) is the use of fluency-enhancing devices and intensive workshops. Now when you attend an NSA conference, many times you will find exhibitors who will represent companies who sell these products. The NSA's official policy has always been, and will continue to be, that we make no endorsement of any product featured. However, we do acknowledge that for some people using these products may be a good source of developing fluency. Sometimes in our zest, we can say how passionate we feel about something, but regardless, the other person may take it as "putting them down."

I was thinking about this today...I am a very big hockey fan, and a "student of the game," who enjoys learning about strategy and chemistry. Today, the local NBC affiliate showed the NHL Game of the Week, which featured two of the game's top superstars: Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, and Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins. I saw the highlight on the TSN web site, and toward the end of the second period, when the Capitals were ahead, Ovechkin decided to introduce his shoulder to Crosby's, and that followed by Crosby retaliating with trying to slam him over his team's bench. After Crosby got restrained, Ovechkin mockingly waved to him.

Now understand these are two fierce competitors, but yet with different points of view about how to be a leader, and a person. Crosby will never be described as "fiery," yet he is subtle with the way he approaches life on the ice. Ovechkin on the other hand, is more passionate, loud, and absolutely loves to be the center of attention. I do not begrudge him for that, but there's something to be said for his gesture to another competitor. It all boils down to the proverb I mentioned: "Respect others and you will be respected." We can all agree to disagree, especially when it comes to issues involving stuttering. But no matter what you believe, make sure that we understand other points of view and where they are coming from.

My name is Steven Kaufman and I am a person who stutters. Until next time, stand up and be counted. Make your voice heard.

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