Which Way to Speakers’ Corner?
I would like to find my way back into public speaking. I am considering whether I should pursue teaching in some way. Maybe when I write my books I will have speaking engagements. Then I can do radio interviews and maybe give speeches at political conventions. Or maybe I should just stand up and speak, like they do at Hyde Park Speakers’ Corner.
I have spent many years of my life teaching — but it seems like a lifetime ago! For some six years or more I taught children in Sunday School, Junior Church, 5-Day Clubs, and Good News Clubs while my life was moving toward a career in children’s ministry. I completed a four-month program at Child Evangelism Fellowship Leadership Training Institute. I even did my senior project in college on the faith of a child.
But somewhere I went astray. You could ask me whether I believe in child evangelism or whether a child could savingly believe or whether I believed that I was responsible to evangelize them. But I really wish you wouldn’t. These days I try to keep matters of faith private, and I am certainly not in the practice of seeking to persuade others regarding their faith. You could then say that I am apostate or unfaithful or some other word to heap shame and reproach upon me. But I really wish you wouldn’t. Can we just move on? Oh, but I guess I was the one that brought it up, wasn’t I.
The point that I am trying to make is that I have many years of teaching experience. Not only did I teach Bible lessons and missionary stories to children, I also preached sermons to adults. Sermons? Yes, and here we go with all the faith-based questions again. Can we just change the subject? Please? I also taught History of Western Civilization for a semester. This was at Tri-State Bible College. I love the subject, and I would love to teach it again.
I did a few more stints along the way. I once tried out for a teaching position at a Christian high school in San Antonio, Texas. I taught one class and was told that I did an excellent job. But the position was filled by a returning teacher. I also had a seven-week position in the San Antonio Independent School District as a Poet-in-Residence. I shared my poetry in various schools and encouraged students to write their own.
I have had very few opportunities for teaching or public speaking since those early days. I regret that. But what could I do? I had one opportunity to speak during my U.S. Air Force career. I was a lowly airman (A1C), and I gave a presentation about the section I worked in (Special Actions). I put together talking points that were approved by the Lieutenant, and after the speech I was given rave reviews. Some said it was excellent. In my telecommunications career I had very few chances for public speaking. I may have taught a tech course or two, but nothing special or interesting. I just spent eight hours a day with my arse in the chair staring at a computer screen and managing massive computer networks. How mind-numbing.