On Grandparents’ Day (7th of August) at school, Medha was to give a speech about why she loves her grandparents. I wrote a few lines (like ‘My grandpa plays with me’, ‘My grandma cooks delicious food for me’ and ‘My grandparents in Dubai sent me a bike for my birthday’ etc.) for her to practice. And practice she did. But…
Medha went to a preschool in the US and so speaks better English than most kids her age. One of her teachers noticed this and gave her a chance to speak on stage. To memorize the lines I made her practice every morning for a month (maybe more). Her teachers did stage-rehearsals very often to prepare her for the big day.
In the beginning, she found it hard to remember the lines. For someone who finds it difficult to even recall lines of her favorite nursery rhymes, it was an achievement indeed to be able to say 10 sentences correctly.
Then her teachers told me she knew all her lines but spoke without any variation and needed to be a bit more expressive. I thought that was funny, until I listened to another girl from her class giving her speech. It was a big surprise to realize what kids at 4 years old are capable of.
My husband and I tried teaching Medha to smile when she spoke and to add a bit more energy into her speech. And when she did that, she broke into a fake smile and looked constipated! Chuck it, just do what you know and can, we said to her. We wanted her to enjoy the whole thing.
Her teachers almost decided to not let her speak on that day in front of an audience full of grandparents. But I asked them to give her a chance. Medha was so into it by then, she herself was determined to speak.
I was miserable I wouldn’t be able to watch my little girl give her first speech as only grandparents were allowed to attend the program. I made sure her grandparents knew how to capture a video of her on stage and sent a huge camera along.
So it was a bit of a disappointment for me( and a big one for her grandparents) that she bailed out in the end. (She tells me she was not allowed to give her speech. Her teachers tell me she did not want to go on stage. Who is to be believed?!). I wonder if we pushed her too far.
This is just the beginning, I know. There will be speeches galore in her future. A few months ago if someone had told me that kids from nursery could give speeches I wouldn’t have believed it. I might have found it hilarious! I know now kids can be pushed, gently (not too far into boredom or aversion or depression), to achieve new heights.
(One of these days I will post a video of her speech, that is when she doesn’t shy away from my camera!)