Sunday, March 28, 2010

Flying through life in slow motion....yes, it's possible!

Hello everyone,

Have you ever had the chance to experience things in slow motion? In this world we live in, that seems like a pretty interesting concept. There's always places to go, things to do, appointments on the calendar. We always say we'll take time to slow down, but yet we never find the time to do so. Well, maybe when you're sick it seems like we tend to take things easy, and there are some who prefer to go full throttle every chance they can. Yet for me, I had a chance to experience slow motion, and I want you to know that it can really be great.

As those who have read my blog know, I am a very active speaker to local schools that have communication disorders programs. I do have a great appreciation for the academic process, and I realize that the classroom and clinical aspects cannot be ignored. But as an advocate for people who stutter, I feel that it is essential for me to do as many speaking engagements as I can. It is just as rewarding for me as it is for the students to learn all things stuttering. And how far we have come in these last few years! It makes me so excited to think about where the future will take us, and how these SLP students will be on the cutting edge of the technologies around us.

I seem to notice that the more public speaking I do, things tend to be in slow motion. And that to me seems very interesting. There are some people who will tell you that the more nervous you are, the slower things seem to go. I think it's the exact opposite. For some reason, being a person who stutters has shown me how to look at things differently. For that, I give all the glory to the National Stuttering Association. For example, talking on the phone used to be an absolute nightmare. Now I am very good at it-sure, I will always have my days when I block, but now it's an instrument of power instead of one that promotes fear. It's actually the one-to-one conversation that I struggle with, but because of my work with the NSA, I have gotten much better at it, and I'll continue to do so. In some ways, this is a role reversal, because there are many people who stutter who don't mind public speaking, yet would rather do anything to avoid the phone-even root canal three times over might be more suitable.

I am a huge sports fan, and one of the most common themes that I hear mentioned in interviews is the growth process, especially in hockey. Hockey, maybe more so than any other sport, has teens as early as nineteen coming into play professional hockey with the hopes and dreams on the front of the sweater they wear. And as they begin to amass the seasons under their belt, the players speak of the "the game slowing down for them." When they are a rookie, everything comes at you from so many angles-the media, the teammates who may resent you, adjustments to a professional game instead of a junior one. I think in many ways, that's exactly what public speaking comes to for me. When I did my first speaking engagement at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, I couldn't believe that two hours passed by so quickly with breakneck speed. I was left saying "Wow!" because not only it was so enlightening for me, but time never had passed in such a manner. As I began to speak at more schools, I began to see the experience slow down and it's so great: because when you do that, it enriches you and the students more. There's such a strong rapport in such a short amount of time. If only we could feel like that the rest of the time!

So to all those people who stutter around the world-take some time to see that your life can be good in slow motion! And if you have not done any speaking to graduate classes, there is no better time then the present. You have a story that needs to be told. There are students who need to hear it.

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


Anonymous said...

I do like ur article~!!!..................................................

sachin said...

Hey Steven
Man, I find your post very inspiring and honest..
Yes, it seems most PWS get frozen in a particular way of thinking, feeling and acting (even talking).. If they could just challenge themselves out- and let themselves thaw a little bit..What not could they achieve?
Would you care to write for TISA a brief essay about the three things which helped you to do 180 degree turn? Yes, many of us are interested in self change..