The other day I was reminded of a story I wanted to share with you…
I was eating lunch in a park earlier this year, enjoying the beautiful, sunny weather, when I noticed a young lady calling out to the people passing by. She was holding a pile of brightly coloured sponge New Years hats.
She kept saying the same thing again and again: “Happy New Year. Please donate to children with cancer!”
She did this for a while, but no one paid her any attention. No one came to donate and get their New Year hat in return.
After a while, she turned around to ask me a question. Here’s the funny part – she asked me about English pronunciation!
You see, she was not a native English speaker, having come to Australia from Japan. She was worried about her accent, and whether she was pronouncing the words properly, and didn’t want to be embarrassed.
I helped her with her pronunciation, and we talked about some accent problems specific to Japanese speakers. Things like pronouncing the final consonant, moving her lips and mouth more for English pronunciation, and which sounds she needed to say differently.
She told me she had actually learned from an accent teacher before for a few months, but had never heard these tips.
After she practised with me for a few minutes, I continued to eat and she went back to calling out to the passers by.
“Happy New Year. Please donate to children with cancer.”
This time she was clearer, and suddenly instead of no one responding, people began to notice her and come over to her. You should have seen her smile.
Just by getting the right English pronunciation tips and practising only a little, she was able to change her situation.
She had not been afraid to ask for help, and to persevere in her desire to make a difference to herself and others.