Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Lifelines: F is for Fluency

C. Saphir

Instead of waiting for me to get out my name, people jumped into the uncomfortable, drawn-out pause with what they probably thought was a funny rejoinder.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

shiur

no caption.

on the first day of my first summer in overnight camp, when I was nine years old, my counselor came over to me and asked me my name. “Um,” I said. “Um… um… um…” “What’s the matter?” he asked, slapping me on the back. “You forgot your name?”

How many times in my young life had I heard that question? My last name started with an F, and F was one of the hardest syllables for me, a stutterer, to pronounce. Instead of waiting for me to get out my name, people jumped into the uncomfortable, drawn-out pause with what they probably thought was a funny rejoinder.

But for me, it wasn’t funny at all. Because the less chance people gave me to actually say what I wanted to say, the less hope I had that I could ever open my mouth without stuttering.

I wasn’t a severe stutterer — my stutter was diagnosed at about 40 percent, meaning that I’d stutter on 40 out of 100 words. But the fact that it wasn’t a terrible stutter worked to my disadvantage at times, because not everyone realized that I stuttered, and they misinterpreted my inability to answer basic questions or speak up when necessary.

Caption text

When I was in third grade, my rebbi called on me to read a Rashi. In learning, I was at the head of the class, and I knew the Rashi perfectly. I just couldn’t get the words out of my mouth. I was stuck.

I sat there, my eyes twitching furiously, for what felt like an eternity. One boy started to titter. Then another kid cracked up. Very soon, the entire class was laughing. They thought it was a joke.

The rebbi didn’t find the joke very amusing. “Mechutzaf!” he shouted at me. “Go straight to the menahel’s office!”

As a punishment for my chutzpah, the menahel sent me home and gave me a 100-word assignment.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


 
Top-Down Theory
Shoshana Friedman Our true currency, the accomplishments we value most
Strive for What Binds Us
Yonoson Rosenblum The chareidi community represents something of an oasis
Embracing Victimhood
Eytan Kobre Combating the allure of victimhood
The Kids Are Going to Camp, the Parents Are Going Broke
Miriam Klein Adelman Mindy has to feel good; it doesn’t matter that I feel ba...
Work/Life Solutions with Carlos Wigle
Moe Mernick “Rejection is Hashem’s protection” 
How to Create a Simple 900-Page Novel
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman All of us can reset the titles of our own lives
Stand There or Do Something
Baruch S. Fertel, MD, MPA, FACEP It’s called collaborative care, and it works miracles
I'm Here — Are You Ready?
Riki Goldstein Upbeat and catchy, but still makes listeners think
Back in Time
Riki Goldstein "I wish I could recapture that excitement"
Mixed Messages
Riki Goldstein The unsung craftsmen who give albums their special touch
Go in Peace
Faigy Peritzman Inner peace makes us vessels for blessing
All Work and No Play
Sarah Chana Radcliffe A life only about doing your duties loses all its color
Dying to Believe
With Rav Moshe Wolfson, written by Baila Vorhand Emunah peshutah is the force behind Jewish continuity