Your Ability to Speak

Once in a while, I would be the person-in-charge (or whatever you call it) of my sister’s convenience store. One day, a little boy came up and said, “Ay adda i huha?”

He spoke audibly but I didn’t seem to understand what he said. He seem to be speaking in Ilocano but I didn’t understand half of it. So I asked, “Anya diyay?” (What is it?)

He replied, “Ay adda i huha?”

Still, I didn’t get it. I leaned in and asked, “Anya?” (What?)

He retorted, with a tone of little desperation, “Huha!”

I was puzzled. I had to pause. I replayed it in my mind. Then I realized, “Ahhh… suka!” (Ahhh… vinegar!)

I handed him the bottle of vinegar. He gave me a satisfied smile, handed me his payment and then walked away.

Then it hit me! That little boy had a hard time speaking. For him, to utter words is difficult. But he still speaks to his best ability to be able to communicate. He knew the value of it. He knew the importance of it. As I looked outside where he was walking, I was smiling in deep admiration.

Then I whispered to myself, “Blessed are we who are given the ability to speak without that kind of difficulty. But I guess, at times, that little boy is more blessed than most people. Why? Because a lot of people who can and should speak are not speaking at all. They shrink themselves. They say they are shy and they stop there! Worse, they don’t seem to see the value of their ability to speak – the seemingly small and simple act of uttering audible and understandable sounds. Am I using this ability to speak the right way in the best way?”

My friend, what you are doing with your ability to speak?

May that little boy who has a difficulty in speaking speak a message to us. May that little boy spark inspiration in our hearts. May that little boy spur action in us – to speak up, to share our thoughts, to share our stories, to share our insights, to share our messages, to state what we stand for, to inspire, to contribute, to express our love.

Once in a while, I still see that boy. I still speak to him at times. But the impact of the realization I had that first encounter seems to be fading. Then it hit me! “Am I also missing what most people is missing?”

I whispered to myself, “You are given the ability to speak. What are you doing with it?”


Speak a message, spark inspiration, spur action!


(Chris Dao-anis, CPA, DTM is a coach, speaker and trainer on public speaking and personal development. His latest book ‘Living Large in the Little Things’ is available at Mt. Cloud Bookshop, Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Road, Baguio City. For talks and trainings, email him at or visit Like his page at

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