A few weeks back, I was involved in organizing a Speech Festival for the youth of my church - which basically entailed about 40 kids writing their own talks, giving them and then being judged on their content and delivery. Now in theory I'm sure this seemed like a great idea. However, I was put in charge of 6 kids, who I wouldn't describe as little Anthony Robbins...heck, these kids' stage presence made Kristen Stewart, of the fascinating books Twilight, seem incredibly engaging and gregarious. But, I was given the task and so we pressed forward.
Over the course of a few weeks I took the most awkward one of the bunch and became determined that she would be the victor of our 6 and go on to the main Speech Festival...which she did. (High fives around). Now, before I go on, let me just describe my sweet Autumn. She is shy beyond description. Before giving this talk I'm not sure I ever heard her speak more than two sentences at a time, and yet, she somehow nailed it. So, fast forward two weeks, Autumn, after being coaxed and bribed, was sent to the main Speech Festival to compete against six other churches' winners to determine the ultimate speech giver...and to win 2 free movie tickets!
Now, Autumn is not my child and I'm not even a mom, but I'll admit I sort of got into "Mom Mode" watching this speech festival. For example, and I'm not sure moms actually do this, or even admit to doing it, but I truly wanted to see all the other kids fail. I mean truly fail. Every time a kid stuttered, forgot a line from their talk or made an awkward statement I found myself thinking, "Alright, this one sucks - we totally got this."
Secondly, when Autumn got up to speak I felt like one of those crazy moms from the TLC show Toddlers and Tiaras. (See picture up top. Yeah, that would be wire cones on her little girl.) Honestly, if you could have seen me, I was almost mouthing the words and smiling in that way that says, "If you make eye contact with me, I'm trying to tell you to smile bigger." It wasn't pretty.
And lastly, I'll admit I sort of behaved poorly as we were waiting for the verdict. I, may or may not have, told some of the judges Autumn's background and how winning this could help her conquer her shyness, and the fact that she is waiting for a kidney transplant. (She doesn't actually need a kidney, but I thought it painted a courageous picture.)
Unfortunately, at the end Autumn was robbed. She did manage to take down Barack Obama Jr. and hippie happy 17 year old from Malibu, but second place was where she stood....and I, may or may not, have said rather loud, "We were robbed," over and over again when the winner was announced.
So, what did I get from this experience? Well, one you can conquer fears. Two, we have some great youth coming up as the next generation. And three, I think I'm going to be that annoying Mom on the sidelines,who runs up and down screaming, "Billy get the ball! Get the ball! You got it! Score! He scored! That's my kid! That's my kid! That's my...oh geez.