SpeechToday’s Word: ‘Speech’ … as in what’s the best love, advice, encouragement, wisdom you’re going to pass along?

I’m always taken just a bit off guard when I walk into stores and see “Back To School” signs and displays – in the middle of July. There’s something unsettling about opening mail just after the Fourth of July only and finding the circular advertising school supplies, lunch boxes, and even – wait for it…winter coats and boots when it’s 82 degrees in the shade and we haven’t heard a thing about the State Fair yet.

But while that may be annoying, there’s an upside.

From a parent’s perspective, the “Back To School” displays are reminders of what’s coming and that we’ve got to get “The Speech” ready. You know what “The Speech” is, don’t you? It’s the “Evening-Before-the-First-Day-of-School Speech.”

Parents, you know how it goes: “Make sure you’ve got your lunch. Don’t forget your backpack, sit up straight, listen to your teachers, be nice, remember to share.” Nancy Lee and I did this every year with our kids. The litany of dos and don’ts was epic:

“Make sure you do this, don’t forget that, remember those things.”

And as our kids got older, the messages became more urgent: “Be careful when you’re driving! Make sure you call us when you get there! Wear your seat belt. Don’t text and drive.”

My mom was spectacular at this – and then some: “Make sure your socks match. Wear clean underwear. Don’t forget to comb your hair. Make sure your zipper is up.”

Really, mom! Are you kidding me?

Sometimes I think this probably says more about the anxiety of parents than anything related to kids.

But it does raise the question: What’s most important to you that you want to pass on to your kids and grandkids? As these days begin to lean toward September and the ubiquitous yellow busses begin to rumble once again, you’re forming your speech. I know you are.

What’s the best love, the best advice, the best encouragement, the best wisdom you’re going to pass along?


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