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Public Speaking

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Mama’s Kiss #67: Develop this Point

As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 67  of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

As our children grew to be upper elementary, middle and high school ages, my husband would choose a premise–any premise– and state it to a particular child. Examples might be:

Christianity does not solve all my problems.

Faith is not a leap in the dark.

Worship has a beginning point and an ending point.

Suffering has benefits.

We live under a spiritual law today.

You get the idea. Then my husband would say “Develop this point.” The child would then formulate, organize and articulate on paper (or occasionally just from memory) a list of ideas and evidences that make the statement true. Then the child would speak the arguments back to Dad and they would discuss why the logic was on target or why it was flawed.

This simple exercise taught our children so many valuable ways we must use complete and unflawed logic to determine our values.

If I were to choose just one of these 100 practical service suggestions that I believe is most valuable in growing servants for Him, this would be the one. Critical thinking skills are largely missing in the generation from which our children emerged as adults. Logic has been replaced by feelings and the result is a lot of young adults who are leaving the reasoned faith. This little exercise is not the answer, but it is a tool for modifying this outcome.

Don’t be discouraged if the first few efforts on the part of your child are simplistic, difficult, or even result in blank stares. Keep the faith about this one and keep trying. Soon your children will be able to stand up and present the arguments for truth articulately. (Speeches, by the way, presenting points for a premise, will naturally come from this exercise. Debaters will emerge!)

How does this relate to service in our kids’ hearts? It relates in every way. When we establish critical thinking skills, the Bible and its directives champion the lives of our children. They learn the eternal value of living life God’s way. Service is the natural outcome of lives directed by the will of our immensely benevolent Father. If we trust God, we are living to glorify Him. If we love Him, we serve our brethren (Matthew 25, 1 Jn 3:10ff, James  2:14ff). Further, your children learn how to be kind and evangelistic. This is an activity that eventually prepares your kids to bring souls to Jesus. That’s the greatest kind of service.

Don’t skip this one!

 

 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Mama’s K.I.S.S. #62 Let them Speak!

As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 57  of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

 

It’s just so obvious and valuable. Let your children start getting up in front of kind and gentle audiences at very young ages. (We’re talking toddlers here.) It all starts with one or two sentence speeches. “My name is Hannah and I love Jesus. Jesus loves me, too!” Then go from there.

If you try to get a ten-year-old up in front of an audience for the first time, it will be extremely difficult. but if it’s been a natural progression since age two, he will think nothing of it. Keep your girls in front of ladies at ladies’ night out or ladies’ day or just little devotionals in your home or with extended family. Use your home often for this purpose. (It’s a double win: developing hospitality and developing speaking skills!) It’s also a fantastic opportunity to bring older mentors into the lives of children. Go visiting and take along your children to do their little speeches for the elderly in your congregation. Those hugs and notes of encouragement will help the generations on both sides of you to be encouraged and to keep striving.

Don’t be shy. There were many occasions when I was speaking at a ladies’ day and just asked if I could bring Hannah along and give her three minutes of my allotted speaking time. Ask your ladies’ class if a couple of your little girls can come in and give their little presentations. Ask your elders’ wives if they can meet you in a classroom after worship for a little speech. Take full advantage of the Lads to Leaders program if it is available to you and make the speech category a priority.

What’s the point of this? Public speaking is a very valuable skill and this is the best way to develop it. But the point is larger than a skill. It’s a preparation for bravery in speaking to people about spiritual things. It’s about souls. It’s developing hearts that are comfortable with evangelism. It’s about preparing little people to bring souls around them to the throne!

Have a great week for Him!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Mama’s K.I.S.S. #58: Public Speaking

As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 57  of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

In my judgment, there are few activities which actually sharpen as many skills of service as does public speaking. 

Public speaking builds boldness that’s necessary for effective evangelism in a world that is intimidating toward and sometimes even hostile to Christianity. It sharpens skills for effective communication. This is needed when we communicate the gospel in any setting. Public speaking, about any topic that’s in any way controversial, demands the development of reasoning and critical thinking skills. These developed  talents of the best minds are critical for answering the skeptics in Bible studies. Public speaking teaches our kids how to be persuasive without leaving logic behind. This is what Paul did when standing before Agrippa in Acts 26. Finally, public speaking gives your kids opportunities to go where the average child, who’s afraid of getting before people, will never go. Those places, some of them political arenas and some of them mission fields, where few go, are still places that need God’s truth. 

A quick google search of “oratory contest” yields several great venues for high schoolers. (My kids loved the National Right to Life Oratory contest (https://www.nrlc.org/students/oratory-contest/rules/) and were representatives to (and of) the states of Alabama and Tennessee on multiple occasions. This opened doors for them to speak on pro-life related issues in other venues, locally, as well. We were enriched, as a family, by the Lads to Leaders program (https://www.lads2leaders.com)  and it prepared them for speaking. I believe this influence was a large contributing factor to the speaking that they do today in behalf of the kingdom. I believe it made them more evangelistic, too, as they learned to face and overcome fears associated with looking a critical audience in the eye and stating truth. I know they (and I) are, at best, still woefully inadequate in our representations of the gospel to the world, but every bit of preparation to face the giants of atheism, relativism and materialism in our world today is needed. Homeschooling programs like Classical Conversations offer regular speaking opportunities for all ages.

But  if programs are unavailable to you, I’d work hard to make the venue for your children to get to speak before audiences, even small audiences. Ask your elders or church leaders if they can have appropriate Saturday morning devotionals in which the children are presenting little lessons for encouraging audiences. Start a book club in your home and have the kids present their reviews of  books that are filling them with moral and ethical lessons. Have a game night in your home once a quarter and begin the fun with letting one of your children present a short, well-prepared lesson before the games begin. Ask your minister for opportunities in hospital or nursing home rooms to speak on topics that will bless the sick and elderly. Remember, reading scripture is a great thing, but the force of this particular activity is preparing and being able to present one’s own ideas in an engaging way. (Reading scripture to someone will never be adequate in reaching his soul for heaven. We have to be able to articulate and apply the gospel.) Speaking, rather than reading, is the skill we’re after here. 

Along the way, teach your children that large audiences and accolades are not the goal. You can do this effectively by taking opportunities as they come, rather than saying no to hospital room opportunities and yes to national contests. Just say yes every time you can. You can do this by teaching them to always say no to any temptation to speak in any arena that’s sponsored by sinful products or activities. Never allow them to apply endorsement of sin.  Teach them that God can make great opportunities for souls out of small venues. Teach your children to give generously to the church each time they are rewarded monetarily for speaking somewhere. Teach them that seeking, serving and saving souls is the ultimate goal. Teach them daily, that whatever they do in life, the vocation will just be a catalyst for helping souls to heaven. It will be a tool for helping those around them to know God and His will for their lives. 

Being able to communicate effectively in front of others, sometimes even enemies of the gospel, will help them put on the shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15). This takes lots of “mom time”, but it’s is some of the most rewarding time you will spend.