"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge." - Albert Einstein
Brilliant, wonderful, resilient speech and debate students practicing the art of thinking and communication here in Denver.
The ever present box of research cards for Apologetics.
Debate teams and such fun friends.
Joy in her gray and pink--the kids all have to wear professional suits of gray, black or a solid dark colors. She and her speaking partner, (her dramatic duo partner--always have to match--blouse and tie--it is tradition.)
All of this made me ponder the process of developing speakers and adults who can articulate their convictions and who can defend truth and great ideas..........
Candles fluttering in the cool evening air, music lilting softly in the background did not match the lively and loud conversation that was trumping everything else. Opinions were flying loudly, everyone fighting to be heard, laughter, more loudness and more opinions.
"Can't we just have one quiet evening where we just sit and enjoy the dinner table?" I asked wistfully.
Our nightly dinner table was the location of all of this brain life and our children and Clay and I were the participants. Every night, day after day, year after year, our dinner table discussions took on a life of their own. Books discussed, Biblical philosophy, scripture, contemporary issues, art, music, Hollywood, Washington D.C., travel, everything that could be discussed was discussed. Questions were always welcome and every opinion was evaluated. Articles read, people quoted, scripture and world view a regular subject. We would never consider exchanging television for what could be a rousing conversation.
Education is not about filling the bucket, Erasmus said, it is about lighting a fire. Education is not complete unless we pass on to our children the love of thinking, engaging in great and world changing ideas, and the nightly table is the very place for the training and shaping of great thinkers to practice. It is John and Abigail did with their children, and Sarah and Jonathon Edwards, and Napoleon with his own mother and so many more. A historical basis for cultivating a brilliant thinker.
Much as Jesus discipled his men or Plato and Socrates pontificated over discussions, we considered exposing our children to the best thinkers, writers, ideas and leaders and then discussing it all and allowing their brains to deeply engage in these ideas was the exercise of their brains.
Brain muscle or mental muscles is how we have explained it over the years to other young parents that have asked us, "How did you shape your children into speakers and thinkers, even though they have different personalities and skills sets in their lives?"
From the beginning of our parenting, Clay and I knew that we always wanted our children to have to practice speaking and thinking and engaging their brains to become communicators. Why? Because we wanted them to learn to handle accurately the truth of God's word, and Biblical world view.
And so, back to the Denver tournament, here at Metro Araria College, as I have been judging debate and speaking and Apologetics rounds the last couple of days, I have been reminded again, how important that parents teach their children and train them and cultivate in them the skill and desire to own their own ideas so that they may become defenders of all that is true in their life time. Speech is a great place to cultivate these skills with a great, positive peer pressure group of friends who are all thinking and discussing and practicing excellence of thought together.
The real heroes, of course, are the unsung leaders, moms and dads, who took the time to train, read, encourage and help write the speeches, to find the matching suits for all of their children, to travel far and near to take them to days of speech tournaments, and to spend zillions of hours judging and timing and counting ballots, so that their children might master this art of thinking and have an arena in which to rehearse for real life.
Great company all around and I sense the Spirit of God moving in the minds and hearts of those who will become the voices of the next generation.
Off to judge a few more rounds!
Two turquoise peas in a pod! Pretty cute!
I have been overwhelmingly encouraged by all of you who have written, joined our new website for moms (Momheart.org) and have encouraged us with our new dream of an outreach. You have blessed me and my sweet friends who are helping beyond belief. We are most blessed to have you with us. Thanks for taking the time to help us reach others and to encourage us in our labor of love.