Thursday, August 2, 2012

Max’s talk

I took this picture after Max got home from speaking in church.  He talked about a conference talk on the Priesthood.

And he was quite relieved when it was over. 2012-06-24 summer 52550

It was kind of a big experience for all of us because it was a lesson for Dave and me about not doing things for our kids, which can be SO hard sometimes. 

He kept forgetting to prepare. 

“Max, are you ready for your talk?” we’d ask.  “Oh, I forgot.” came the response. 

In the back of his mind I’m just sure he figured we’d come along and think up ideas for him.  We’d come save the day.  Cause that’s what we do.

Dave and I talked about maybe this would be the time he would have to learn the hard way and get up in front of all those people unprepared if he didn’t do it himself.  And at that moment a big lump came up in my throat.  Oh man, it is true that kids need to have ownership of things and if we come along and save the day all the time it’s a total disservice to them.  But wow, it’s hard to just let go and hope that they do what they are supposed to and it will be a learning experience rather than a negative one. 

We decided to make sure he had all the tools to do it, to make sure he was trained in how to give a talk (he’s given one before, but we sure helped a bunch).  So we sat down with him and let him know he was really 100% in charge.  There would be no coming to save the day if he forgot.  If he came up with an outline we’d critique it if he wanted, and we’d be happy to talk over his ideas with him, but they needed to be purely his ideas.

I know it was just a talk.  I know that it wouldn’t be the end of the world for him to fail.  And sure, he’s done many hard things by himself before.  And he’s had some rough experiences too. But for some reason this little example was kind of a turning point in my mind with parenting.  Maybe because it turned out well.

He pulled it off with flying colors. 

Aside from the part where he said “um” like 65 times, he was composed and confident up there.  He remembered what he prepared.  He had a couple good stories and even a little joke. 

As I sat there with my heart pumping in my chest for him, I realized something big.  He can do hard things. And this little tiny example is a building block for other harder things to come. Because life will be full of them. 

I know he can do it.  I know he can fly.

We just need to give him room to let him spread his wings.

…and to be ok with the failures that will come, and will ultimately help him stretch those wings even further.


  1. well done max, i still don't like giving talks or lessons in RS, but when when we moved into a rural area, and a small ward, the youth get to speak almost monthly, and us adults at least twice a year!!

  2. Good for Max! Good for you, too! I find it so hard not to come and save the day for my kids.

  3. ps, did you move yet? The back ground look like a new place?

  4. That was great!
    My son is now working full time during the summer as a swim instructor and life guard. He woke up this morning complaining he had to work. Well as I was working out overlooking the pool this morning I could see him teaching those children and working hard.
    I was so proud of him for doing it. I knew he could do it too.
    Kinda gives you a bit of a teary eyed moment.
    Take care.

  5. Congratulations Max:-) I remember when I was in high school I was sooo afraid of taking presentations in front of others but after a while I realized that I actually love it. If I have to speak publicly now I can't wait for the ecent to come. It's just funny how my attitude toward the whole thing changed:D

  6. Hooray for Max! Wish we could have been there!

  7. Wow, that was beautifully written. It's amazing how parenthood changes us and how our children change us! They are so amazing! I'm learning everyday because of mine. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Oh how I love this post. Well done, Mom and Dad! Well done, Max. Such an important lesson here and I so neededto hear it.

  9. I had a similar experience just recently with my 11 year old. Growing pains for him are just as painful for me. My son lost his talk he was to give in the primary program in October and he didn't realize it until a few minutes before church. I should have followed through with the thought I had to photo copy the great talk he had written weeks before. It was so hard. He cried in the car at the thought of getting up there without a prepared script. With inspiration on what to say to get him to fulfill his duty, he got up there and gave a heartfelt talk on Moses and the children of Isreal. I was overwhelmed with emotion. A few days ago he found his talk in a pencil box. I sure love that kid.


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