“I’m worth waiting for” explains all there is to know in four, short words on how to react when interacting with someone who stutters. As you can see, I liked the quote so much that I included it in the 5-pack collection of stuttering awareness buttons.
I first came across this quote at the beginning of the 2016 NSA Conference in Atlanta, USA. A tradition at NSA conferences is attaching special ribbons to name tags reading “speaker”, “first timers”, and “parent”, and some with witty sayings such as “old timer” for attendees who have attended at least 10 conferences. The Atlanta conference was my 7th and I noticed a new witticism on the ribbons for twentysomething attendees – “I’m worth waiting for”.
After doing some digging for the origins of this quote, I learned that it emerged out of the NSA’s Young Adult Committee. Committee member, Jeff Maddox, was the one who came up with it. “When we were brainstorming for ideas for the twenty-something catch phrase for the 2016 conference, I wanted something that was humorous, short, and got the message across that something a person who stutters wants to say is just as important as anyone else. That’s when I thought of ‘I’m worth the wait’.”
As all of us who stutter can relate, the 25-year-old who lives and works in Frederick, USA, as an HR director for an assisted living facility, experienced countless of conversations when he blocked on what he wanted to say. “Sometimes, the other person doesn’t know how to react. Should they try to finish the sentence? Should they nod along? Should they keep eye contact? In that moment of awkward blocking, I’ve always wished for a sign that I could hold up to inform the other party of my thoughts during that silence. I think ‘I’m worth the wait’ is a good start on what that sign could say.”
Jeff adds, “I thought it was a funny way to point out that while it may take me longer to say my thoughts, hearing what I have to say is worth waiting for.”
Agreed. For example, my friend and fellow stutterer, Grant Meredith, is an Associate Dean (Student Retention and Success) for the Faculty of Science and Technology at Federation University Australia. He won multiple Unijobs Lecturer of the Year Awards as chosen by the students two years in a row and was the Alumni of the Year for 2015. As Grant shared in an article for the British Stammering Association, one of the many reasons that he and peer reviewers notes is that his stuttered speech prevents his lectures from becoming monotonous and keeps student interest. In fact, students hang on the edge of their seats curious to know the outcome of Grant’s long blocks or maybe it is because they just do not know what he will say next?
The “I’m worth waiting for” button makes a great ice breaker for any occasion. It is available in the Stuttering Awareness collection of five buttons starring Franky Banky, a cartoon fox who stutters who appears throughout my stuttering survival book entitled Stuttering is Cool: A Guide to Stuttering in a Fast-Talking World. You can purchase both in the Stuttering is Cool Online Shop.