Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Speech (All Four Sentences of It)

Tolman agreed to give a talk in his class again. The last time, he didn't prepare and then simply didn't want to do it, and I made sure he went directly to a leader himself and told her that he wouldn't do it. I thought he wouldn't volunteer to talk again.

Well, this time I just found out the night before, so that night and the next morning I asked a few times if he wanted any help, and he always said "no". Finally in church, he asked me if he had to do it. I tole him I wouldn't force him, so he said he didn't want to do it. That's great; I just explained the consequence: if he wasn't going to participate with his class and follow through on his commitments, he wouldn't be able to stay with his class. Instead, he'd have to spend his time somewhere else, like my class. He didn't like that very much; he kept asking and complaining, and finally said angrily, "OK, I'll do it. But I don't want any help!"

Well, I knew it wouldn't end there, but it wasn't until we were singing the final song that he asked if I would help him. I told him it was too late for me to help, but I talked with him during the song: I told how I pick a story to tell; he came up with one, and he practiced saying the whole thing. He forgot how to wrap it up at the end, so we talked about it and he did it again with everything right. I felt that much was an accomplishment, and it was positive because he was no longer angry. However, I worried that he wouldn't remember everything.

So we went and sat at the front, and almost immediately he asked if I remembered it, because he had forgotten. Actually, I honestly couldn't hear what he said earlier, so I was sorry but I couldn't help at that point. When it was time to stand, I made the mistake of going with him up to the podium; he didn't say anything and looked at me for help. I told him to go ahead, and he whispered that he was thinking, so I sat down again. He was up there for a few seconds longer, just standing without saying anything. Finally, he told his entire story and ended it perfectly. It was short, but it was all his! I grabbed him and gave him a huge bear hug and told him I was proud.

I heard from a friend that he looked down the whole time, but I don't care. He owned it, and he finished it.