The Boy in our family has no problem speaking his mind. On any subject. Loudly. Whether anyone’s listening or not.
Mostly, I listen. Partly because I absolutely adore him, flaws and all. And partly because he’s a voracious, enthusiastic learner; when he’s on a rant I learn about interesting scientific facts, music-related tidbits, social issues.
Fittingly, a few weeks ago he was chosen by his class to represent them in a university speaking competition, “Speak Out.” The rules stipulated a persuasive extemporaneous speech, using only an outline. The Boy chose to speak on the topic of marriage equality, a subject about which he is particularly passionate (even more passionate than about aircraft specifications, the inner workings of a combustion engine, small furry animals, music theory…this kid has a range of interests wider than the Grand Canyon).
He sent me his outline the day he delivered the speech for the first time. I was impressed with his thoroughness, and loved his sources and the quotes he used – John Green, Hank Green, and Stephen Fry, heroes all. He also managed to get a video of himself giving the speech, which he forward for our viewing enjoyment. I loved that he was just himself, speaking from the heart, with his typical poise and ease while standing in front of a crowd – all those years on the stage and in practicing improv stood him in good stead for this project.
Last Friday was the competition. He texted me his progress and his impressions throughout the morning. Made it through the finals round. Had a good, free lunch – always important for a college student. And in the end, he won the overall competition.
Of course, my maternal pride overflowed. I’m thrilled that he did his best and that he won. The prize wasn’t too shabby, either. But even more importantly, I’m proud that he spoke passionately about a subject that isn’t exactly a walk in the park in our extremely red state. It’s pretty likely that many in the crowd assumed that because he’s strongly in favor of marriage rights, he himself must be gay. He’s self-confident and open-minded, and he’s okay with that.
Go tell it, kid.