This video should be used as a human litmus test. If it makes you tear up, you’re probably a human. If it doesn’t, then we will put you in a cage and poke you with sticks until we figure out what you are.
The happy little tyke is Jonathan. He’s an 8-month-old boy who was born deaf, but he’s just gotten a cochlear implant and is about to hear his first noise — the sound of his mother’s voice.
Incidentally, if you’re looking to add a good documentary to your Netflix queue, I highly recommend Josh Aronson’s SOUND AND FURY. It follows a deaf couple as they consider whether to get cochlear implants for their 7-year-old daughter (who is also deaf). Seems like an easy decision, right? Get the kid the implant? Only for many deaf parents it’s not that simple. If deafness is a disability, then, yes, it’s something to be cured. But if deafness is a cultural identity, as it is for the family in this documentary, then it’s something to preserve. Even cherish. More to the point, what will become of their daughter’s connection to the deaf community, and her connection to them, they worry, if she can suddenly hear and speak? Will they “lose” her to hearing world?
I’m not going to tell you what the parents decide. But I will say that I expect parenting to be just like this – i.e. a series of forced choices between equally heart-breaking options.
“Lose. Lose. Up to you.”