This may come as a surprise to you, but my dog talks. Not only does Max talk, but he happens to be quite persuasive. Words, of course, don’t come from his mouth, but my sweet wife gives him voice and he says stuff ALL the time.
“Daddeee, will you take me for a wawk?”
“Wook at me – I have my bunny wabbit.”
(and when he is barking out the front window) “Awert! Awert! People on the pwemises.”
You may have noticed that even though Max is a middle-aged dog, he has the speech patterns of your average 3-year-old. The speech therapist that visits our house twice a week noted yesterday, “Wow, Max could use some speech therapy too.”
Max’s “voice” is such a normal part of our family that we don’t even consider the possibility that he can’t really talk. In fact, one of my daughters said something recently and then exclaimed “Hey, I sounded just like Max!”
The funny thing is I’m fairly confident that my wife is tuned into this dog enough to really be able to communicate many of his thoughts. He often will give her a certain look and she will proclaim, “Daddeee I’m hungwee.” I go to check his dish and sure enough, it’s empty.
What Max probably doesn’t totally understand (or maybe he does) is just how many of his needs get met because my wife gives him a voice in our family. Having someone give you a voice is a powerful thing.
For years now, I have been attaching the verse, Proverbs 31:8 to my email signature and, at times, to my outgoing voicemail message. The verse says this:
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…”
There are two things to note when it comes to speaking up for others:
- When we talk about “those who cannot speak for themselves” we are not talking simply about ability here. Most of the people we speak up for are able to speak. This is not about a patronizing parental act of doing something for someone because they are “helpless.” They aren’t helpless. However, when certain voices aren’t being heard we lend our platform, our relationships and our voice to make sure they are recognized.
- You can’t speak up effectively for others unless you are really tuned in and listening to those for whom you are speaking. Every one of us has someone who needs us to use what we have on their behalf. We live in a time when listening to others isn’t seen as being as valuable as being heard. And if we don’t listen well, we’ll never speak up well. And that person for whom you are speaking won’t get their needs met.
So here are a few of questions to consider:
- Who are you supposed to be speaking up for right now?
- What have you built into your life (or can build in) so that you can stay tuned in to their voice?
- What are some ways you can be lending your platform and relationships to make sure these voices are recognized and heard?