There are times when a family extends beyond the family.
Family was the theme of today’s meeting of Future Stars, a youth speaking and leadership group, modeled after a Toastmasters club. My children joined us which put about twenty kids in the room, ranging in age from 12-17. Although their adult mentor Tahseen helped out a little, the kids ran the show.
We heard about the importance of family, some expected complaints about annoying siblings, and much talk about extending family to include friends and community. During the impromptu speaking portion of the meeting, I believe every young person in the room got a chance to speak about their family including my own kids who gave public speaking a try. They did quite well in my most humble opinion.
More than just talk about family, the stars seemed to work well together and genuinely seemed like each other. (It’s sometimes hard to tell with teenagers) There was a bit of giggling, and some good-natured ribbing but that “teen-ness” was friendly and offset with great organization, enthusiasm, and courage. Yes, courage. They had the courage to do what many adults won’t do – get up in front of a room and speak.
Although I had been invited to give an inspiring speech, I think it was I who was inspired.
It was inspiring to see so many kids have the courage and the willingness to stand up and try to improve themselves. It was inspiring to see one girl completely lose her train of thought, pause, and continue just like a professional speaker. And it was doubly inspiring to see my children stand before a group with knees knocking to speak. My daughter told me afterwards that she was “soooooooo” nervous.
When you are a teenager, trying anything new is scary. Speaking is especially scary. But it helps to have a family like Future Stars and a great mentor like Tahseen to give you support.
In the parking lot as we left, I chuckled as I saw some of the boys wrestling while the girls looked on, laughing.
I asked them loudly, “What about family?”
Pausing to smile, they waved then went back to their game.
Just like one big family.
Gave a speech to inspire but it was I who was inspired.