When Work Becomes Fun

This is a picture of my daughter giving her speech to her friends and siblings. She’s performing today at the Point Loma Classic Speech & Debate Tournament. You can barely see her flat-brim cap behind her expos props, but she’s working at it.

Practicing Expos

I’m quite proud of Lydia – and all 14 from my club who made the cross-country trip for competition. She is the Extemp Speech Titlist of 2011, and she’s aiming for Ironman awards in 2013. She’s a senior this year, so she’s aiming high, reaching for the best year.

I wish I could take some credit for Lydia’s success, but the older she gets, the less I can claim any. See, she loves perparing for speech and debate. Seriously, there is no forcing her or coercing her. She does it all on her own. In fact, I took this picture in the living room of the condo we’re staying at in Coranado: the kids were skipping the beach for speech practice!

What planet did these teenagers come from? [Tweet this.]

I believe there are three special realities in speech and debate that lights up the teenager to action.

  1. This is creative. Lydia is doing a speech on breakdancing, something she loves. You don’t have to force an artist to create, and this is Lydia’s art.
  2. This is community. These friends are best friends. They will encourage and uplift each other throughout the weekend, and they love seeing one another do well.
  3. This is challenging. These kids are trained to “think, speak and persuade.” When fully engaged in this reality, the kids have a ball.

Lydia and her friends – and the 200+ students competiting today for the tournament – are encouraged to be creative, part of a fantastic community, and they challenge themselves and each other. Perhaps these are secrets to success for teenagers.