Real Stuff

Before Christmas break, Mrs. Abbey and I completed a semester that involved teaching a class of 30+ 8th graders.  Very few farm kids but a great group of kids.  Their semester test was a team event.  We split them up into teams of 5 and each team member had to say a paragraph of the FFA creed.  This was an effort to develop public speakers and to prepare them for saying the FFA creed as freshman.

By the way, it had to be word for word.  Didn’t matter if they were straight A students or special ed.  Race, gender, whatever—come one, come all, let’s do this.  And do this they all did.

We also used some awesome, local, expert judges.  How expert?   One was a mother of an OK state FFA officer and FFA creed speaking champion, one was a former TX state FFA officer and FFA creed speaking finalist and the other was a current Shattuck FFA member and state champion speaker.  And these ladies critiqued the kids.  And urged them to keep at it. Oh, oh, so awesome!

This deal went better than expected.  It was cool!  Wicked cool!   30+ students memorizing, using hand gestures, enunciating words, working together and doing it all with confidence.  There ain’t nothing wrong with a bit of peer pressure to motivate.  5 kids saying 5 different paragraphs= 1 grade for all team members.  Come on real world, carry your weight.

Those of you that know me, are well aware that I had motives in mind.  1–first and foremost to help all kids with public speaking.  And 2–trying to identify some competitive public speakers.  It’s all good.

Every one of you clowns reading this drivel are thinking one of two things–1–I wish somebody would have made me learn to speak better.  Or 2–I’m glad so-and-so forced me to learn to speak.

Now, school is back in session.   These 8th graders came marching into the Ag Building.  One of the boys came strolling right up to me with a question.   “Meester Kelleen, how do I sign up for the public speech competeetions?”

Me:  “You want to give a speech at a contest?”

Cool kd:  “Yes Sir.”

Me:   “Dude, we can handle that.”

Also me:   I might have had to swallow hard and look away for just a second.

RUSM?!  I did not expect the kid with a tic of an accent and a tic of a speech impediment to be the first one to hit me up about giving a speech.  I love it!   Now, I’m pumped!  So, I asked the others, how many of you want to speak?    Oh crap, it looks like we are going to have to have a local contest.  This is real stuff.

Sure, it is big fun to deal with just a few elite kids and go win, a lot.  I’ve been there and it is fun.  But, which is better?  BOTH!   Winning contests, shows, games, etc. is fun, awesome and cool.  But there ain’t a dang thing wrong with having a pile of kids that aren’t afraid to get up in front of others and present a topic.  Put that kind of stuff on the news.  It happens all over our country.   This isn’t a localized incident.  Ag programs, all across this country, have got lots of kids,  that are learning to talk, shake a hand properly, work hard and help others.

Now, for some real serious stuff.  I see commercials about shirts that stay tucked in better.  I have gotten some free t-shirts that seem long.  For Christmas, every year, Tammy gets me a pack of white t shirts.  This years version is long.  Sleeve, shoulder and girth fit fine–they are just longer.  Not quite skirt length.  But, they stay TUCKED better.  This is B.S.  America is getting fatter, so they made the shirts longer.

I don’t need nor want longer t shirts.  If I have a problem with crack showing, well, then I will just get me some leather suspenders.  Then, I can look like the cool kids.

I hope all of you people have as much fun as I do.


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