Families & the Nation Speech

Hey friends!

Boy, have I been busy lately. Last minute, I entered a high school speech contest sponsored by the Rotary Club. A little background info: if you win first, second, or third in the preliminary round, you get to speak at the Rotary Club luncheon the following week. Last year, I got 4th in the preliminaries. This year, I got first! That was last Wednesday. Today was the Rotary Luncheon, and was I ever nervous! But, the Lord carried me through and it was all for His glory! I placed second today, which means I don’t get to go on, but that is okay. The Lord gave me a platform to speak and give His message, and it was so much fun doing it! Plus, I did get a few seconds of book advertising in there. ;) One more thing… for the speech contest, all contestants must incorporate the Rotary 4-way test into their message (Is it true? Is it fair? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Is it beneficial to all concerned?) I thought you all might enjoy reading the speech I gave:

A typical morning at my wild, fun home might look something like this: the kitchen is bustling with action as dad whips up another healthy everything-but-the-kitchen-sink smoothie. My sister Genevieve pokes at the turkey bacon with a fork and my mom straps baby Felicity into the high chair. I drop a placemat at each spot at our great round breakfast table and then holler into the playroom, “Melody! Harmony! Food’s ready!” The playful 6-and-4 year old duo meander their way to the table with arms full of plastic reptiles and baby dolls. After a hectic struggle to get everyone to the sit at the table at the exact same time, my dad calls the attention together and we join hands in prayer. After blessing the food, we dig in as my dad reads to us. After we’ve finished reading, we talk—probably all at once. In case you were trying to count, that was five girls, and I’m the oldest—Marjorie Jackson. I’m only sixteen, but I’m already thinking about what kind of a legacy I want to leave. I have realized in first hand experience that, when a family is loving and supportive, one’s true potential begins to reveal itself. And, when one is using their true potential and developing their talents, then they will make a great impact. But I’m not going to stop there—I’m going to apply this idea to the Rotary’s 4-Way Test by analyzing—is this true? How about fair? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it benefit all concerned? You’ll find out in just a minute. Someone once said that families are the backbone of the community, and this is the truth. In fact, families are the backbone of the nation.

Ever since we were born, my sisters and I have been raised in godly principles and virtues. From the start, we have been taught to respect our authorities, to treat others the way we want to be treated, to work hard and learn practical life skills. My parents have fostered the growth of the talents they have seen in each one of us. When I was about 8, I wanted to play the piano. It grew old and boring after a few years, but for some reason, my parents wouldn’t let me quit. For years I complained every time piano lessons rolled around, but they were relentless, and about two years ago I fell in love with piano. I am now even accompanying a choir at my homeschool group. My parents have also seen the gift of writing in me through the years, so in 2012, they got ambitious and nudged me to cultivate my gift on a grander scale. Hesitant as I was at first, I am proud to say that this past December I have written, illustrated, designed, typeset, and published my first ever book, The Greatest Book You’ve Never Read, available on Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com. (crowd laughs :)) I also write a blog biweekly. See, what my parents are doing is recognizing the talents and the potential in their children and growing it by carefully working the soil, watering the plant, and, occasionally, pulling out a weed or two. They are equipping us to build goodwill and better friendships and to use our gifts to benefit all concerned. I have seen first hand how a stable, loving family that supports one another and works together can grow strong. We certainly aren’t perfect, but we strive to serve first our Lord, then one another, then our friends in our community. This is what my family has taught me about the true design for building strong families: as individuals, we are strong. But as a family? We are even stronger.

Just imagine with me for a moment if all families were working together, showing one another Christ-like love, and bringing out the full potential of each member—what would our nation look like today? My hypothesis is that if all families were building strong, lasting, godly legacies, then our nation might reach a Golden Age! I’m not saying we would recreate Leave It to Beaver’s Mayfield, but imagine the success young people would achieve as the future of the nation. Imagine how many fewer broken hearts and homes and how many more empowered and loved individuals with a potential to change the world and make a difference. This sounds like a nation where truth is fostered, where fairness is regular, where goodwill and better friendships are promoted, and where everyone concerned benefits. But, I’m sure you’ve realized that there’s a problem.

Reality is, our nation is hurting. Left and right, there are broken homes everywhere. I realize how blessed I am to grow up in a safe home where I have a godly father and mother that love and care for each other and us kids very much. But I realize that my case is rare, and that the flip side is that many young people today live in hurting families. Many kids today find themselves alone and bitter at their divorced parents. That’s not fair to all concerned. Many kids today wind up in foster care because of neglect or abuse. And that’s not fair. Many kids today look to drugs, alcohol, and negative influences to meet their needs because they don’t know the One who ultimately fulfills and they have no one to show them true, selfless love. And that is not fair. President Ronald Reagan said, “If the family goes, so goes our civilization.” If our nation gives up on family values, traditional marriage, wedding vows, and empowering the youth with love and drawing out their true potential, then we are forfeiting a waging war that we have not yet lost and driving our communities and nation towards ruin—a most unfair situation all around.

But, there is hope. You and I can make a difference. No, we can’t single handedly change the statistic that fifty percent of all marriages result in divorce, but we can honor our word and do our part to make families and the nation thrive. We may not be able to fix all the broken homes around us in one day, but you and I can start today by loving our families and being fair to them. We can sacrifice our time and energy to let our families know that they are important to us. We can set an example for the families around us to admire and aspire to match, causing all those concerned to benefit from our actions. We can build a legacy of love to leave. You and I can be patriots for our country. With valor, we can fight the destructive pattern of broken families trying to creep into our country by helping to create strong, stable families. Join me, as we pick up this nation from its crumbling state and build it up to be America the Beautiful—and that is the truth. I’m ready to do my part. Tell me, how about you?

It was a great experience, and I’m looking forward to next year!

THE WINNER OF THE SUBSCRIBE CONTEST 2.0: Astrid Ward! Thanks to all who participated! I am looking forward to the next contest. Astrid, I will be contacting you soon to work out the details of getting you your copy of The Greatest Book You’ve Never Read!!!

Your friend, Marjorie

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness. {Psalm 115:1 NLT}

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