Today was our county 4-H competition day. The kids had the opportunity to present talks, demonstrations, skits, music, dances and dramatic readings. Getting ready for these events was as much a learning experience for me as it was the kids.
What did I learn?
- I miss public speaking. I wish had something to talk about that people would like to listen to. I showed the boys how one section of their talk should sound and suddenly realized I really miss speaking.
- My kids don’t like public speaking as much as I do, but they will have to continue to do it. I have seen it pay dividends in so many friend’s careers.
- People, especially teenagers, can make public speaking much scarier than it really is.
- Sometimes, kids just need someone to believe in them to bring out their natural skill.
- My mother should be nominated for sainthood. I put her through skits, demonstrations, public speaking, dramatic readings for so many years. The more outfits I could wear in the day, the better. I never realized how much she did to make sure everything was packed and all the clothes were clean, pressed and packed. She never lost her cool, never let us see her sweat and always made us calm and ready to do our best. Someday I hope to be half as good of a 4-H mom as she was.
I truly believe that of all the life skills you learn in 4-H, public speaking is the most important. Today, one mom was upset that her daughter wouldn’t give the talk she thought she should. After a little coaxing from me and one of my 4-H daughters, she agreed to do the talk. Her mom raced the 20 miles back home to get the supplies. I worked with her for 20 minutes. I can honestly say I have never seen anyone with more natural public speaking talent. She stood up there with 3 very (intentionally) vague note cards and spoke with poise and grace. She smiled. She spoke with purpose and with confidence. She won her division and I hope it is the first of many more firsts for her!
My mom taught me that you can’t force all kids into individual speaking events. This is the second year that I helped coordinate a short skit for the kids. Some are ready to speak, some are not, but all are ready to do a line or two. It is so fun to watch the shy kids get confident in what they are saying. I hope to see (and maybe help) a few of them next year. We like to do humorous skits and were proud to win first place!
I love to watch all the awkward, shy, introverted young kids develop into poised,well spoken, confident young adults ready to take on all the world has to offer.
Thank you to everyone that helped me throughout my 4-H career. I could never start to name everyone. You all have made a difference in more lives than you will ever know.
-A Kansas Farm Mom