Monday, 28 October 2013

Speeching - 'Lucky'

Last week I had the incredible honour of being the guest speaker at my previous school's Foundation Phase, Intermediate and Senior Prizegiving. And I had to write 2 speeches. No problem. Or so I thought. I wracked my brain as to what I should talk about because it had to be inspiring and something for the kids (and maybe some adults) to take a lesson from... I had nightmares for about a week before I eventually buckled down and wrote them, drawing from my life and things I had learnt. And the writing turned out to be the easy part! On the night I realised that nerves are very different when speaking to a class of children, than they are when speaking to a hall full of adults and ex-colleagues! But I battled through, and the feedback was positive. So I thought I'd post my speeches, just to show I HAVE been writing.

This is the speech for the Intermediate Phase (10 - 11 year olds), with a few adjustments for reading as opposed to hearing. I call it


"Look around. Look at the people sitting next to you, in front of you and behind you. These are your classmates, your friends. And they are all hardworking people. I know your teachers and parents are very proud of you, and you should be very proud of yourselves.

It isn’t by chance that you are sitting here, you have worked hard. You have listened in class, studied and tried HARD to achieve. But you know what? The work doesn’t stop there… you have to keep at it. But you have the ability, or the power to do it. We all know that.  And like Peter Parker’s uncle told him: With great power comes great…..…. Responsibility.
You have a responsibility to live up to the potential your parents and teachers know you have. You have the responsibility to keep working and keep trying. You have the responsibility to

LIVE every moment,
Don’t let life pass you by and wonder “what happened?” Time passes way too fast and before you know it you’ll be in high school, or finished with school.
If you do something, do it properly. Don’t think that you’ll do just enough to pass. Always do your very best, every time. Like my class motto: Good better, best, never let it rest, till your good is better and your better is best. You are not average. You are not ordinary. You have the potential to do great things. So do them every day, in everything you do.

USE your strengths daily
Everyone has their own strengths. You might be great at Maths. Someone else may be amazing at creative writing. But those aren’t the only strengths we have. You may have compassion. Or be a great listener. Or be a great thinker. Or be a good communicator, enthusiastic, imaginative. You know what you are good at. We are all different. God made us that way on purpose. And the more we use the strengths He gave us, the more they develop and grow, and you discover more strengths you didn’t know you had. Together we make up a diverse culture and world. Like a big puzzle, and without you, and your abilities and strengths, the puzzle would be incomplete.

Do you know the definition for insanity? It is doing the same thing every day and expecting different results.
What that means is that if you want things to change… your marks, your environment, the way you are treated by your friends… then you need to make a change. Change your attitude towards work. Work harder, see it as a stepping stone to greater things, not as something that wastes your time. Change the way you look at the world. See the rubbish lying on the ground and pick it up instead of thinking someone else will do it. BE that SOMEONE. Sometimes the change we have to make is a big one in ourselves. Sometimes we need to look deep down inside and realise that our teachers, our parents and our friends treat us a specific way because of the way WE treat THEM. You need to respect your parents. Listen to them, they have a wealth of knowledge that they want to share with you. You need to listen to your teachers. They are only trying to help you. And your friends, the good ones, are there to support you. Treat them well, and you will have an amazing support system and foundation to build a new you on. If you aren’t treating them the way they deserve to be treated, if you aren’t respecting your elders, then maybe that is where the change needs to happen.  Don’t expect things in your life to change if you are not willing to change yourself.  

KNOW yourself and your goals.
An arrow needs a target. A basketball needs a hoop. A soccer ball needs a goalpost. Without those things, they are not achieving their purpose, what they were made for. You need a goal in order to know where you are going. Start small. Make a goal for the end of next week. “By the end of next week I want to have gotten full marks for one test”. Then go bigger. “By the end of the year I want to finish top of my class” And even bigger. “By the end of Grade 6 I want to be nominated as a prefect”… the goals don’t have to be school-based. Maybe your ultimate goal is to be a successful doctor. Make the goal and aim for it. Cut out pictures of what you want out of life and stick them up on the wall in your room where you can see them every day. And be realistic. If you know you can’t kick a soccer ball, don’t make one of your goals to play soccer for South Africa. You know yourself, your strengths and what you can do. Use those to make your goals.

This is the most important point I want to share with you. You are incredible. You are special. In the Bible it says you are wonderfully made. You are amazing just the way you are. So why would you want to change who you are or how you dress, or what music you listen to just to make someone else happy? Don’t change yourself for another person.  Don’t let people tell you “I’ll like you if…” If you aren’t good enough just the way you are, then maybe they aren’t people you want to surround yourself with. Keep people around you who make you feel good about yourself. Be confident in your abilities, don’t try to please people. Stay YOU. With the things you like to do. With the things you like to wear. Your style is what makes you YOU. Love the things you love, if it’s reading? READ. If it’s drawing, DRAW. Don’t hide what you love just because other people make you think that it’s stupid because they don’t like it. Don’t ever apologise for being you.

If you do all these things and listen to what those older and wiser than you tell you, and surround yourself with people who are good for you, and keep working hard at your dreams… then you can be successful. And one day, you can say you made your own luck and that you are LUCKY to be where you are."

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