One of the biggest fears of humans is public speaking.  Very few people like to get up in front of any number of people and talk.  I don’t know why it doesn’t bother me, but I don’t mind being in front of a crowd.  Which is weird as I have a lot of anti-social tendencies.  My mom made me do the reading at church when I was a kid.  This was the only form of public speaking that I really had growing up.

     Once I began my teaching career, I discover FFA and Ok Farmers Union speech contests.  I loved these.  I encouraged, pushed and flat out made kids give some form of public speaking.  Tammy and I will agree that our family’s biggest win was Kela winning a state FFA speech title.  She was not a natural speaker.  But hard work, perserverance and determination paid off.  Now, the dang kid is on tv.  I don’t care who you are, at some point in your life, you will need to present something to a group of people.  Whether it be in front of a school board, church function, business meeting, community event, etc, etc, etc.  My point is that everybody needs public speaking skills.  You don’t have to be a state champion, but everybody needs the skills.  There isn’t an argument because I am right.

     Now, a lot (most) of the show kids that I help also give speeches.  It is part of the deal.  Tammy and I enjoy helping kids with speeches.  I love writing speeches and she loves fine tuning their delivery.  I always bring it up to kids that they need to be giving a speech.  Usually, once the seed is planted, the kids will ask for help.  That is the scary part–What topic do they give the speech over?

     I believe the kid must have an interest in the topic.  Not just some memorized deal.  If they have an interest in it, then they will learn it easier, will research it better, will deliver it with more confidence and will answer questions better.  This all makes for a less painful ordeal and possibly a future speech champion.  The topic must be current, interesting and it really needs to be different.  Judging a speech contest where all of the speeches sound the same is brutal.   The Ag policy division can be hard to judge as most of the speeches will cover the farm bill.  It is like a fresh breeze when somebody comes in and delivers a speech over anything that doesn’t have to do with the farm bill.  

      I am often asked if I miss teaching.  Yes and no.  I don’t miss the useless paperwork and petty crap that goes on.  I do miss working on speeches, ag mechanics and the kids.  However, I still get my fix by working with our show kids.  Showing livestock is NOT about winning shows.  It is about building kids–building their knowledge, work ethic, confidence, social networks (with real people not some facebook crap) and building character.  All of our kartel also believes as I do.  Therefore, a pile of our kids are involved in public speaking and other character building events.  And a by product of this is that our kids can talk to people, are confident in their abilities all which in turn makes for better showmen which helps win shows.  Hhmm?  It all kind of ties together.  

     I hope everybody has a lovely week.  We are finishing a busy, but laid back kind of weekend.  

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