Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Flashback: Public Speaking

As most of my readers know, I was raised in a family that belongs to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During the growing up years, we just considered ourselves to be Mormon, and that's what everyone around called us, as well.

Part of the religious practice is to attend a Sunday meeting called "Sacrament Meeting" which includes speakers chosen from among the members of the congregation (called a "ward").

At that time, it was customary to have one or two "youth speakers" start out early on in the meeting. They were customarily followed by two or three adult speakers. When I was 12, I got my first opportunity to be a youth speaker.

When I stood at the pulpit, I began to cry out of fear or tension or something. I couldn't seem to get control. My dad, who was seated on the stand behind me, as a member of the bishopric, came and stood beside me, with his arm around my shoulder, while I composed myself. He sat down once I started to give my talk.

I have always appreciated his gesture. Many a time I overheard him in our home asking my mother with some exasperation, "why is he crying?" I can't remember her answer, nor do I really know myself why. But, I used to cry quite easily as a child.

After this traumatic public experience of crying, I had a stern talk with myself, and mostly control myself ever since.

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