The Courage To Speak

You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth……. Exodus 4: 15a

 “Mrs. Driedger, I’d sooner die than talk in front of the whole class.” That’s what some of my high school English students used to say when I assigned a speech. Speaking in public can be tough. Some students claimed they didn’t sleep the night before. Others got physically ill. I often negotiated a Plan B for such students. Sometimes I allowed students to present their speech to a smaller group or record it on a CD. I gave a private audience to some and encouraged others to bring an object to compliment their speech. Holding on to something concrete while they talked seemed to give them more confidence.

   creole by stephen cosgroveThe children’s book Creole by Stephen Cosgrove is about an ugly monster named Creole who has an important message about friendship for the animals of the forest. No one will listen to her because of her grotesque appearance. She teams up with a cute little alligator. No one will listen to him because he stutters. Creole hides behind a bush and talks, while the attractive alligator stands in front of the bush silently mouthing the words. When the two creatures present their message together, each employing their strengths, their audience listens.

That’s what Moses and Aaron did in the story in Exodus 4. Moses was the ideas man and Aaron was the spokesperson.  Moses put the words in Aaron’s mouth and Aaron presented them. 

     We may feel we have an important message to share, but trying to present it in only one way, or all by ourselves, is simply too daunting. Having an alternate plan or working together with friends and family, the way Moses and Aaron did, makes it possible.

Other posts about public speaking…….

Ted Talks

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A Philandering President and a Self-conscious King

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