Today, I judged three-minute speeches by my daughter’s Grade 4 class of 9-year olds. These kids taught me a lot about life. Here are a few clues as to why:
1. The topics they chose: A Thousand Years from Now, Stereotypes of Islam, I Believe, Protecting the Earth, Parents, A Trip to the Dentist, Water, Animation, and What’s so great about Hockey? The students’ content and delivery ran the gamut from serious to hilarious.
2. Their diverse heritage: Surnames of Buckles, Clark, Dryer, Karim, Litherland, Okano, Suri, Soltan, Wang, Yang and Zeng. Diversity is the world’s engine of enlightenment.
3. Admirable attitudes: Self-confident, enthusiastic, animated, spiritual (without religious overtones) and compassionate. They applauded each of their classmates with a vigor that was as genuine as it was benevolent.
4. Preparedness: My daughter had taught these youngsters that those who prepare, succeed. So they practiced, practiced and practiced. And when the time came to deliver their three-minute discourse to three complete strangers, they were ready to excel.
By the conclusion of 20 speeches, I’d gained new insights about Islam, places like the ‘Big Apple’ and the Dominican Republic, our planet, chocolate overloads and my daughter’s passion for teaching, guiding, understanding and loving these precious souls. Today she made her father proud. There’s truth to the saying, ‘we worry so much about what a child will be tomorrow, that we forget who they are today’.