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Understanding With Your Heart

As human beings, one of the strongest desires we have is the desire to be known.

To be known, truly known, has little do with someone knowing things about us, and everything to do with someone knowing who we are deep within our heart.

There is a very distinct and important difference between those ideas.

The ancient Greek word for “know” means, essentially, to have a deep level of intimacy with a person.

This is a kind of knowledge that goes well beyond intellectual ascent and/or knowing a set of facts about a person’s life such as what town they were born in and what his/her favorite flavor of ice cream happens to be.

This knowing has to do with a deep emotional connection. You feel what another person feels and vice versa. The two of you are intertwined in a way that needs no explanation because it is both intuitive and profound.

When we feel that another person knows us, we are, as a general rule, more at peace with the world and our place in it. Not only that, but we tend to be healthier, both physically and emotionally.

Being known. Knowing. These are two of the keys to unlocking the beauty of life.

Within the Deaf community, there is a term known as Deaf Heart.

Deaf Heart has to do with the willingness of a hearing person to KNOW both Deaf people and the Deaf community.

It’s not enough to know a set of facts and statistics or even to know ASL, it has to do with knowing and understanding from the heart.

It’s about being sensitive to and concerned with things that affect Deaf people.

It’s about being consciously aware of how Deaf people think, and how they feel especially in a room full of hearing people.

It’s about identifying with the Deaf community and expressing solidarity with the values they espouse and advocating for said values.

Ultimately, it’s about humility-the humility to put your desires second and the needs of others first.

Sadly, far too many people who work as interpreters within the Deaf community do not have Deaf Heart.

They view their job as just that…a job. They punch in and out and when their time is up, so is their interest in Deaf people.

It goes without saying that this is not the way things should be. Here at Deaf Services Unlimited, we are working hard to usher in the needed changes.

I grew up Mother/Father Deaf and when I started DSU over two decades ago, having and maintaining Deaf Heart was at the forefront of my value system.

I am proud to say that I believe we have Deaf Heart and the way in which that influences our day-to-day operations cannot be overstated.

Deaf people and the Deaf community are my people, are OUR people and because of this, we make every effort to ensure that those we interpret for have the ability to be known.

We don’t want to hire “professionals” we want to hire people with passion.

We don’t want to employ just another set of hands and lips. We want those things to be accompanied by an understanding from the heart.

I believe we’ve done just that and I promise that we will continue to do so.

Deaf Services Unlimited, where passion meets compassion.