YouTube is a great source of “stuff”. We use it to play episodes of childrens’ tv programmes long after their “tv scheduling life” ended. One such programme features a character called “Mr Tumble”.
Mr Tumble is a perpetual child in an adult’s body, surrounded by a “Tumble family” of different “Tumbles”, all of whom use a sign language called Makaton. Makaton is “sign language” for those who hear and speak – just less well – less ably with “just speech”. An “assisting” sign language for speakers and hearers alike. If you never have cause to communicate with children who struggle with speech as their “first language”, you will never bump into Makaton (or indeed sign language at all).
I am going through a phase of learning Makaton (again). A teacher fluent in Makaton made the point that children will take the easiest course of action to get something they want. And if we, as family, quietly insist of Makaton being used – then our child will use Makaton as the “easiest way”. The motivation is “the easiest way”. The objective is “understanding.”
I am learning Makaton again because I never “used it” the first time. And with language – unless you use it, you lose it. You don’t get fluent and you don’t communicate. And I love all our family. I want to be fluent. I want to understand.
Now read this:
”While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, ‘Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.’ But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, ‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ And pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.’ Matthew 12:46-50
I have heard these verses pondered so many times. I have pondered them many times. Why did Jesus not immediately invite His family to join Him? Why did Jesus not immediately acknowledge His family? Why … why … why … ?
And this morning he simply said:“Makaton, Paul – Makaton.”
YES Lord, YES!! Do you see the Makaton God Soft Hands Jesus uses all the time? We call it “parables” and “discernment”. It could be called Makaton.
“Us speak”: Your mum and brothers are here – look they are waiting outside.
Makaton speak: Family is important, we support each other, we look after each other, we respect each other, we love each other.
Jesus speak: Who is my family?
Makaton speak: This is my family in Love, in God, in One. I have my “blood line” family and I have my “Love line” family. Just like you.
“Us speak”: We are your family!
Makaton speak: Family is “blood lines” and “Love lines” and You have merged the two.
I am learning Makaton for one reason. This family member understands some of what we say, and we understand some of what he says. But when you’re family … “some” is not enough.
So, a question… How is your God Soft Hands Jesus Makaton?
Are you still speaking “just” The Word, struggling with “just” the words? Because whatever you and He call “it” – understanding just “some” – that’s not enough.
Not when we are family.
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The Makaton Charity: why not have a look?