Back when I was handling a well known cable account years ago I had an American female customer who wanted to watch her favorite baseball game but was unable to view it on a local sports channel. Part of my job was to assist customers look for alternative channels where they could watch their favorite shows in the shortest time possible while having small talk so as not to have dead air. I was just new then and still adjusting with the account. Personally I am not one to start a conversation especially to somebody that I have not met yet until I was coached by my Operations Manager where she pointed that it was a skill that I should start learning. And since it was my only bread and butter I have to adjust and loosen up a little even if it was hard to begin with. Good thing some customers do broke the ice first, a cue that I needed to join in the conversation.
"Voice lessons ?"
The customer corrected me immediately and answered, "Not voice lessons but music lessons."
Though I was a little bit embarrassed with my question (I was also in the midst of looking for the right channel for her favorite baseball team) the customer generously pointed out that music and voice lessons were entirely two different things. Although the challenge was still there considering my son was speech delayed, she pointed out that music was his way of expressing himself. She added that jazz and rhythm and blues artists performed and sang just like my son even added that enrolling him to music lessons can even be therapeutic.
"You may not know it but your son had always been communicating through his music. Perhaps because a lot of people often forget that music is a language on its own."
I finally found the channel she had been looking for and as I thanked my customer for her patience she in turned extended her gratefulness for the conversation and for finally being able to watch her favorite team.
It had been almost six years since I talked to that lady.Though I never had the chance to enroll my son to music lessons due to financial and time constraints, her sisters and I creatively did our best to support him. We let him watch and listen to station ids for local channels, movie theme songs and soundtracks especially the classics even if that would mean hearing them over and over again. His eldest sister who had always been like a second mother made him listen to jazz tunes on youtube and even concerts during fiestas. Lately when I tell him to take a short nap he would ask me to set the settings for the different ring tones on my old Nokia phone in return, and with his favorite teddy bear and pillows put the phone close to his ear until I could hear the music accompanied by his breathing, sign that he had fallen asleep. But the biggest improvement of it all was his ability to talk and ask for the very basic things which had been a far cry from the little boy who only hummed and sang that only he could understood.
|My autistic son Red|
I may have forgotten to thank that cable customer years ago on what she had shared but her words still echo a familiar tune. Amidst the hustle and bustle of work and parenting I sometimes forget that the mundane and the trivial things are the ones that make us stop, look and listen. From then on I understood.
Now each time I hear my son hums and sings every note, rhythm and beat comes alive. All I need was to listen closely.
And open my heart .