Can You Hear Me Mother?

Can You Hear Me Mother?

This phrase became very well known in the 1930s and 40s when it was coined by a radio comedian called Sandy Powell. I ‘ll make it clear now, that this was way, way before I was born although the fact that I am familiar with it is testimony to just how well it became embedded in our language at the time. It is said to be the very first catchphrase to be taken up in this way.

A few moments ago, in the interests of research, I ‘Googled’ the phrase and listened to a clip from one of his shows and found that the years since have not diminished the humour at all. Hubert, unaware of what I was up to, could hear it and was soon laughing aloud. If you want a laugh try it here.

I thought of this quote the other day when I was in conversation with someone who brought up the subject of the hearing aids which in turned to the difficulty of having to shout to make elderly people hear. I gently pointed out that shouting is the worst things you can do because it distorts the sound of the voice and changes the way the lips are used for the lip reader. Never fear, I am not going to give a lesson in communication but just as a by the by, my dear old great Aunt Win would often say, “Just a minute me duck, let me put my glasses on then I ‘ll hear you a bit better”. More people lip read or rely on visual clues than they realise.

Many times in the psalms we read the words, “shout for joy to the Lord”, in other words our love for the Lord should make us want to shout, dance or sing depending on how the urge takes us – there is a time for shouting. We are never told that we need to shout at God so that he can hear our pleas, requests, petitions or thanks; on the contrary the best way to get really close to God is to be quietly on our own to talk to Him and to hear what he has to say to us. Effective communication is never about shouting. Didn’t someone come up with the saying ‘empty vessels make the most noise’?


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