Two-bit Guru | Giving Inspiration | Photo showing a folded speech evaluation form.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write for today’s post, when last Thursday two young fellows each gave me gifts that caused me to feel really good, that glow-in-the-chest kind of good. Their gifts inspired me to share this little story.

I help home-schooled kids grow beyond their inhibitions and gain confidence through public speaking. I’ve been doing this for four years now, pro bono, and see no end in sight. Amy, our co-facilitator, contributes as much or more than I do to the program. She teaches the necessary stuff like structure, and is full of creative ideas. She also covers the administrative duties, such as preparing short feedback forms for the kids to use in evaluating each others’ speeches. I add a bit of craziness, and hopefully some fun to the mix.

I’ve helped numerous adults gain confidence in public speaking but when I started teaching kids I didn’t know what to expect from them. I didn’t know what to expect from myself, either. It has worked out well, as at the end of the very first session when a young man thanked me and said he had learned a lot already. At the end of an 8-week session an initially shy young lady was able to do an impressive speech about fencing, complete with a demonstration. Another young fellow who hadn’t been at all enthusiastic about the program surprised me with a speech lauding me as a friend. Believe me, the feeling was mutual. This list could go on, and on, but I think you get the idea.

And so it was last Thursday when George, who is 10, and Marco, who is a little older, must have conspired to each give me feedback forms evaluating me. Accepting the forms, the thought crossed my mind that this could be a joke, particularly since Marco is something of a joker. It wasn’t a joke.

They gave me the highest marks possible on the choice part of the form, that I made good eye contact, spoke clearly, and like that. Then they added their comments. Marco was succinct with one word, “perfect.” George was a bit more verbose. Let me sum it up with this: “Best teacher ever!”

You don’t need a lot of imagination to know that their comments make me feel really, really good. These young guys might not realize it, but beyond the gift of compliments, I am inspired to give more myself, to them, to the other kids, to everybody. And that in turn might give others the inspiration to give to others, and so on. I believe we, all of us, could build a whole new world on that simple premise.