Monday, May 10, 2010

Inspired by Mom: Is she in your speeches?

Yesterday was Mother's Day in the U.S., and I wondered whether mothers figure into our speeches.  I think women can be especially eloquent and powerful when speaking about women and women's issues, and I notice plenty of women working their children into their speeches--usually an effective tactic.  But do they mention Mom?  I turned to the community on The Eloquent Woman on Facebook to find out:

First, I asked: Have you ever given a speech about your Mother?  Here's what Facebook readers said:

Gaynell Bellizan: "no, but what a great idea!"

Eliza Calder: "In my mind yes...many times thought about things to say.., but unfortunately never the opportunity to do a real one."

Uldean Harris-Wright: "great idea!!!!!!!!"

Maakai L Vita: "Yes, I do that unconsciously everyday... cos she is such a wonderful person; I just can't help it. I can only imagine how a well crafted speech would look like..haaaa!"

Sarah Chaffee: "When I talk about my volunteer activities I always credit my mother for instilling that in me."

Then, sensing there were stories about mothers to be told, I asked a different way: How would you open a speech about your mother?  That really brought out some homegrown eloquence:

Katherine Nobles wrote:
"My mother always had a secret sorrow, just like her mother. Their pictures, even when they were smiling, were wistful, and the smile never touched their eyes..."
Eliza Calder wrote:
"I remember the first time I realized there might be something just a little out of the ordinary about her. Together we dragged a small table from the schoolroom about 200 yards into the woods next door. Then I had to climb up on the table, and at the top of my voice I had to recite my multiplication tables to the tall eucalyptus trees swaying in the midday heat. At 8, I did not really know, but I did suspect, she was not following the standard model for child education."
Maria Elena Poulos wrote:
"She had dark black hair, green eyes,and such a warm smile, smile that touch her eyes. That all changed if someone crossed one of her four girls, the indian came out in her and she went into defence. She was a wonderful teacher, all four girls know how to cook, fish, cast and cry to get what we want. Well the crying we made up, she did not fall for that at all."

R.I.P mom,you will never be forgotten
Now it's your turn:  Share whether you've spoken about your mother in a speech, or how you'd start a speech about your mother.  No matter your relationship, your mother's a topic that automatically includes many of the elements that make an eloquent speech: Emotion, universality (you may not be a mom, but you have to have one), history and insight--not to mention stories galore, stories you know well enough to tell without notes.  Share your thoughts here or on The Eloquent Woman on Facebook.

UPDATE:  Here are some more entries from Facebook:

Denise Vozella wrote: "My mom would say her personal motto is 'Work hard, play hard,' and she has taught us that. But I'd say a more accurate motto for her would be 'Work hard, play hard, love hard'."

Cynthia Zhai wrote: "The person in the world who loves me the most......"

Lisa Schrager Bloch wrote: "My Jewish mother's favorite saying is 'You only have one mother'."