A Lecture on Being Human by a Man who Cannot Speak

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One of the many great things about Youtube is that you can pause, rewind, and listen again to think through what someone is saying. You'll want to do that with this one. In it, Chris Klein delivers a lecture at a TEDx conference held here in west Michigan recently.

Chris lives with a kind of cerebral palsy that causes his body always to be in motion. It also prevents him from speaking so that other people can understand. He prepared his speech by inputting it into a computer using his left big toe, and the speech is delivered via a voice synthesizer. It takes a little getting used to, but I'm amazed by the quality of this computer generated voice. Chris said that when his parents gave him his first voice synthesizer, he went from not speaking to talking in complete sentences in one day. I just can't imagine the joy that must have given him and his family.

I praise God for Christian leaders like Chris who can speak so articulately. He talks about disability, of course, but more importantly, he talks about what it means to be human. Here a few quotes to whet your appetite.

The disability community needs more people like myself. Actually, society needs more people like myself. You have to see that I have unique gifts like everyone here. Are you able to see them?

We care about our stature in society so much that we lose sight of what we believe, and our beliefs become secondary to us. And soon we don’t really know what we believe. We begin to build up walls to hide all of our flaws. Soon we are walking masks conforming to the culture around us.

When we mask our own constraints, it’s harder to see past the disabilities of other people because we feel inadequate ourselves. It’s time for us to stop pretending that we have it all together so that we can share our struggles together. When we do this, it’s easier for everybody to see past the disability and able to see the gifts the person has to offer the community.

Be listening for the story about the time a stranger spoke to a friend of Chris when Chris and his friend attended a hockey game. It's a funny story, and a reminder of what Chris had to live with every day. And the MC of this TEDx delivers a double congratulations at the end that you'll want to hear.

 

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3H3e2MXV6iY]

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