Thursday, February 23, 2012

County Presentation

It has to be said (or in this case, written) - our daughter is absolutely amazing. In fact, she's more than amazing - she's dazzling, and we couldn't be more blessed by her. She is the most darling little girl anyone could ever ask for, truly! I know it might be considered bad taste by some for me to brag on my girl, but this is my blog, after all, and it is meant to document our life. So bad taste or not, I'm shouting it to the rooftops - Brailey is something special!

Today she had a major presentation in her class. All the fourth grades are presenting and Oregon county - she lucked out and got Harney County, her mother's county of birth and current home to her grandparents. She has been working very hard on this project, from the research to the actual practice of the presentation. I'm so proud of her!

She dressed like a little cowgirl today, and came up with this introduction all on her own, "Welcome to Harney County, the county of ranching!" The first part of the presentation was in Spanish, and the second part was in English. I wish I could have been there to see her, but sadly the timing didn't work out. In any case, she woke up early this morning and was quite nervous about it. I said a small prayer for her during the time I thought she would be delivering - hopefully this gave her an extra dose of courage and strength and helped her push the nerves away.

I can relate with her nerves, and I'm so thankful she is experiencing public speaking at such an early age. Hopefully this will allow her to be confident in her ability to speak in public as she grows older. I am so thankful to her school for incorporating these opportunities into their curriculum!

To tell you the truth, public speaking is one of my worst nightmares. Can you believe it? I have a B.S. in Communications Management, and I would rather do anything than speak in public. Last year I had to overcome this phobia a bit due to circumstances which required me to talk in front of people. It nearly did me in! But I survived... If you know me at all, then you might find it quite surprising that I am afraid to speak in public. I realize I don't exactly come across as shy and reserved. However, here is what happens to me when I know I am going to have to talk in front of people - my heart starts racing, my breathing becomes shallow, my ears start roaring, my mind races and my body quivers. My brain, for it's part, can't think, because the rest of my body is demanding too much attention.

Ironically, a few weeks ago I found myself encouraging Brailey to "speak up" in her classes. "If you don't understand something, raise your hand and ask your teacher," I wisely advised her. Later on, it occurred to me how hypocritical it was of me to ask this of Brailey when I myself sat through all my college courses praying I wouldn't be called on, even though I knew class participation was part of my grade. In the event participation was absolutely required, I would sit in my seat and wrack my brain for something worthy of sounding smart, which I didn't think I was. Don't even ask about my college presentations - I got through them, obviously, but they were never easy and the stress I experienced lives inside my memories to this day.

Even more ironically, if you can believe this, when I was in high school, I performed in plays, sang solos at concerts and desperately wanted to speak in public! I longed to be the Student Body President, or Valedictorian or Salutatorian (for the record I ended up third in my class) so I could address the gym full of people during graduation and share my thoughts (whatever they were?). Even though I didn't get to do this, the confidence I felt from merely thinking I could was more precious than I realized. My desire to address crowds rapidly left me within the first days of my college courses at Gonzaga University as a freshman, and they still haven't come back. I doubt it they ever will, but then again, stranger things have happened, right?

So I can really feel my children's pain when they get nervous to speak in front of others. They've both done it several times, already. Britt spoke into a microphone to address his entire First Reconciliation class several times this past fall. Brailey addressed hundreds of people during the Fiesta concert held in Sheldon's High School gym as a second grader, in Spanish. They have both experienced speaking in front of their classes. Again, I am so thankful for them to have these opportunities, even though I know they aren't always easy. Hopefully, the more they do it, the more confidence they will gain. No matter what, Brady and I are proud. And for his part, Brady loves to speak in pubic and is quite good at it! I pray they follow their father's footsteps in this regard...

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