First I was shocked that a grown woman (approaching 40 by my guess) would still be terrified to speak in front of a group. Actually, I wasn’t even asking her to speak in front of a group. This was a very casual, sit around a circle meeting where we would go over our notes and share what we learned at a recent homeschool conference.
My next response was sadness for this woman. Sadness that she does not have the confidence to speak before people. Sadness that she doesn’t think that any knowledge she has is worthy enough or important enough to share with her fellow homeschoolers. Sadness that she can’t find the courage to do something she is uncomfortable with in hopes of helping someone else.
My last response was sadness for this woman’s children. Sadness that they will never see the example or feel the pride in seeing their mother speak before a group. Sadness that they will probably never be encouraged or even pushed to speak in front of people. Sadness that these boys will probably do they same and when asked say, “I don’t speak in front of a group.”
This is the very reason I encourage parents, especially homeschool parents, to put their kids in activities such as spelling bees. Spelling bees, geography bees, Bible quizzing, etc., all have a much bigger lesson than the topic at hand. Your children can learn study skills as they study for the big day. They will learn sportsmanship as they learn to be a good loser and to congratulate the winner. If they are fortunate enough to be a winner, they will learn to accept their award and not be boastful. They will also learn, gradually, to speak in front of people.
Speaking in front of a group can be terrifying for someone who is inexperienced. However, as a homeschool parent you can begin with baby steps by giving your children little experiences that will put them in front of a small group of people. As an adult, your child might have something important to tell the masses. You can start preparing him now to have the courage to do so.
- Local homeschooler wins state Geographic Bee (bismarcktribune.com)