How does a kid from the streets of Detroit end up becoming a world-renowned neurosurgeon? Education? Opportunity? In his autobiography, Gifted Hands, Ben Carson points to something else, recounting, “my mother…was the earliest, strongest, and most impacting force in my life.” Armed with only a third-grade education and her faith in God, this single mom single-handedly inspired, encouraged, and challenged her sons. Her dedication yielded amazing results: Ben Carson became a renowned neurosurgeon and his brother Curtis, an aeronautical engineer.
As parents and teachers, we can learn a lot from Sonya Carson. She wasn’t a theologian, yet she inspired her children with faith. She didn’t have means, yet she encouraged her children with affirmation. She wasn’t a scholar, yet she challenged her children to learn. As the apostle Paul writes in I Corinthians 3:4-5, “Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.”
This season let’s view speech and debate, not as an activity to be accomplished, but as a relationship to be built. Let’s model faith, speak life, invest time, and invite conversation. Let’s recognize that God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our children, and let’s join Him in what He is doing!
Practical ways to build relationship with your child through speech and debate:
- Learn with them. (Attend the Online Summit and Online Intensive or other teaching opportunities. Ask great questions to invite conversation.)
- Help them set goals and milestones. (What do they hope to gain this year? Confidence? Skills? Friendships?)
- Read the rules and ballots together. (Both provide great ideas for writing and delivering speeches.)
- Check in at least once a week. (What is going well? What barriers have kept them from reaching their goals? How can you help them to overcome these barriers?)
- Set limits. (Remember, more is not always better. Sometimes it’s just more. We often have to help our children to say no to “the good” so they can say yes to “the best.”)
- Get involved in a local club. (Community and accountability help us to stay the course.)
- Celebrate progress, not just medals. (Help your children learn to celebrate THEIR successes: reaching milestones, trying new things, persevering.)