So…Why do I speak?

Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent. ( Dionysius Of Halicarnassus)

I enjoy speaking in front of groups of people.  Most people hate it, would do anything to avoid being at the front.  I have the chance to speak to groups often, both at agricultural meetings and in churches.  It always gives me a buzz to have an audience pay attention and even get involved with what I have to say.

It has not always been thus.  I actually suffer from a bit of a speech impediment. Today, it is really only those who are closest to me that know it, but, in my pre-teen and teen years I found my struggle to get words out a great embarrassment.  One of my elementary school teachers recognized that, even though I stuttered in casual conversation, I could give a presentation in front of the class in a clear voice.  She spent extra time with me to work on my “public speaking” and in my last years in that school, where all the kids had to make and present speeches, I had some competitive success.

In high school the making and delivering speeches was not a required part of the curriculum.  It was an extra curricular activity, a small club indeed (we would likely be seen as the nerds today…then too maybe).  I did well and have been speaking ever since.

Yea, that's me in the plaid, Senior District Lions winner 1977

The moral of the story is that someone took notice and spent some extra time with a kid who had a disability (at least in his own mind), made that kid feel important, and helped that kid to understand that the disability (real or perceived) was not who he was.

Thank you.


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