So, Levi and I put the kids in a local chapter of the Institute for Cultural Communicators this year. It’s a Christian organization, for children ages 6-18, that uses public speaking as the primary tool to teach children leadership skills and to build character.
We did this for many reasons. The primary reason is that we want our kids to see past their own narrow experience to a wider world and its needs. We want them to see older kids giving, serving, and putting others first. We would like the values we are teaching them at home to be echoed back to them through the positive peer pressure of older children and teens who are already practicing servant leadership. We have been struggling with teaching the kids selflessness. We have never been good at helping them volunteer somewhere, or to give of themselves in some way, and we feel that this might be an opportunity to do that.
While ICC teaches public speaking, the emphasis is never on the speaker. The kids are taught to think about how best to minister to their audience. For example, as they have been practicing their Veteran’s Day poems, they are encouraged to dress sharply, because a military audience will feel respected and honored by that. So, it’s not about teaching public speaking so the kids can all be powerhouse speakers. They are taught to speak in public so they can share the Gospel, share their hearts, and really minister to whomever they have the privilege of speaking to. Because public speaking is a privilege they must earn, and not a right.
I have been a little intimidated by the process, but am learning quickly that ICC is a safe community, where parents are encouraged to grow along with their kids. They focus a lot on fellowship, by hosting potluck dinners every month, and by encouraging the kids to mingle with others. Tonight, at our potluck, Dain wanted to sit by one of the 18-year-olds. She graciously saved him a seat, and engaged him in conversation. She made my little seven-year-old boy feel like he mattered. And I can tell she genuinely enjoyed listening to him prattle on about the Wii. The great thing is that all of the kids there are like that. I have been so impressed with the student leaders, and the strong faith and character they display consistently. I am really very glad we joined.
I could go on, but I’ll stop here, and just share the kids’ first performance. Tonight, family and friends were invited to join us for our potluck, and for the kids to share the poems they have worked so hard on. So, even though it was a dress rehearsal of sorts, there were veterans in the audience, and the kids all did their best. They will do the official performance on Saturday, in an outdoor venue. I am not sure I will be able to get good sound quality there, so I filmed their recitation tonight. Yes, I am aware Lydia has a jacket around her waist. The other video I took was too shaky, so this will have to do. They were joined and helped by Kimberly, their student leader.
I hope you like it.
If you are local to us, and interested in enrolling your kids, visit the link to our chapter’s website HERE. I feel like I could write twenty posts on how this is benefiting our family, and maybe I will write more. Already, I am seeing positive differences in my children, and as a mother, I feel relieved to be sharing the burden of godly influence with so many others who actually do care about my kids.
Grace & Peace,