It is really encouraging to see such airtime given to a wonderfully uplifting story of a profoundly deaf 6 year old girl from Swindon winning an Oscar for best short film, ‘The Silent Child’.

The screenplay was written by actress Rachel Shenton, who was inspired to learn sign language and qualify as an interpreter after losing her father to cancer. Her father had become deaf when Rachel was twelve, after undergoing chemotherapy. In 2011 she became an ambassador for the National Deaf Children’s Society and continues to raise awareness of deafness in the UK.

This story has done much to promote a debate about the use of sign language in schools in the UK and whether it should be taught as part of our national curriculum. There are some schools where this is happening in England, and Scotland are leading the way in making British Sign Language (BSL) used in more areas of life including schools.

When you consider this, it seems slightly crazy that we teach foreign languages in our schools but our children do not have the opportunity to learn BSL. Signing is used to communicate with babies and it is used to teach young children phonics when learning to read.

On the other end of the spectrum it is common for people to lose their hearing later in life and this can be very isolating. If we were all able to sign as well as speak, as a matter of course, it would be helpful on many levels for deaf people and hearing people alike.

As somebody who has taken up meditation in the last couple of years, taking time to be silent can be real challenge. To find some quiet time in a world where we are bombarded with constant media and information is a struggle. But actually being able to make a choice of silence or sound is a whole different thing. Most of us take being able to hear totally for granted. Therefore, I would like to invite you to take a moment now to fully appreciate what we do have. Be grateful for being able to hear the beautiful sounds like the birds singing, our children laughing or crying, to be able to take part easily in conversations, enjoying films and listening to music. Take a bit of time to get present about what you can hear at this point in time and let your heart fill with the joy of this amazing sense that we have.

While researching for this blog post I learnt more about the background of how the film got to be made. I have shared a video clip where Rachel Shenton talks about her idea developing. Idea from Silence

This morning I started listening to a book on Audible called ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert. She has a very interesting concept regarding ideas. Ideas are out there waiting to find a human collaborator to work with and if we are able to receive the ideas, accept them, then we can work with them and create something amazing, just like Rachel Shenton has done in this example.

From a silent moments feeling appreciative for what we do have is the best place to allow the ideas to come. If we like the idea and choose to accept it and then take action – who knows what it can turn into? An Oscar maybe? Or a change in the world?