Developing Character: Judging NCFCA Participants

» Posted by on Mar 20, 2014 in developing character | 0 comments

Developing Character: Judging NCFCA Participants

Twice this year I have had the honor and the privilege to judge for a National Christian Forensics and Communications Association (NCFCA) in Olympia, and in Richland, Washington. What a treat to see these home schooled children (ages 13-18) deliver their speeches! Duly impressed and thoroughly impacted by their work, I had extreme difficulty in determining placement, e.g., first, second, third, etc.

Extremely humorous moment in Nairobi, Kenya: the wind tore off the fabric of my umbrella, which I was using to protect myself from the sun, January 2013.

Extremely humorous moment in Nairobi, Kenya: the wind tore the fabric off the umbrella I was using to protect myself from the sun, January 2013.

The humorous round of speeches was the one I chose to judge in Olympia. I encountered speeches involving:

All memorized and complete with changes in characterization, including sounds of Chewbacca! Stunning, absolutely stunning, is all I can say to describe what I experienced. From the memorized speeches to the spread of breakfast and lunch, which contained variety enough for a vegan, I was hooked!

Needless to say, when I received opportunity in my email to judge again, I decided to go to Richland. Honestly, I had ulterior motives, as my parents live in Pasco; this way, I could see them and enjoy some more fantastic speeches. I was also pretty sure that there was something for me to learn in the process, which had to do with developing character.

Speaking before my peers on the impact of the GED, February 2014.

Speaking before my peers on the impact of the GED, February 2014.

This time I chose to judge the informative round of speeches, and was treated to:

  • The Story Behind Dr. Seuss
  • Mary, a Missionary to Africa
  • Evolution vs. Creationism
  • The Importance of Communication
  • Body Language: The Super Power of Reading Minds
  • Gangsters Anonymous
  • Experiences of Visiting Thailand
  • Greatness

Each subsequent speech I heard was better than the last one, and I felt like their words were directed to me personally! I love public speaking, especially when it makes an impact, and these young people were seriously giving me something to think about.

Originally uploaded by Alvimann to morguefile.com.

Originally uploaded by Alvimann to morguefile.com.

Perhaps the speech that impacted me the most was given by James Dunning on Greatness, whose twin brother, Tyler Dunning, flawlessly delivered the speech on Evolution vs. Creationism. The points James made resonated in my soul, and assisted me in developing character by helping me to reflect on what it means to be great. He started with the quote by author, business consultant, and lecturer on the subject of company sustainability, Jim Collins:

Good is the enemy of great.

He had my attention immediately, and went on to use the acronym, GREAT, to explain greatness. People who are great have:

  • Greater Purpose
  • Rigor
  • Endurance
  • Authority
  • Trust in God

James used well known cases from history to describe these characteristics. What I found notable was that he used an example from his personal life, his own father, to illustrate the final attribute of trust.

My father, on the day of receiving his bronze star award, March 2013.

My father, on the day of receiving his bronze star award, March 2013.

This had a profound effect on me that this young man, perhaps 13 or 14 years old, felt so confident in using this element from his own life as well as the audacity to claim that it was relevant juxtaposed against all of the examples he used from history, which I think were ones like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. How awesome that he felt that way about his dad!

From speeches to food, western to eastern side of the state, rhetorical to humorous, silly to serious, I really enjoyed stretching and developing character right along with the speech participants in the NCFCA tournaments, both in Olympia and Richland.

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