Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The King's Speech

Marcus Buckingham grew up with a terrible stammer.  There was a tradition in his British all-boys school that a senior student should be assigned to read the lesson to the younger students and the dreaded day came when Marcus was called upon to read.  The 13-year-old stood before the 300 boys gathered and began to read -- without impediment!  That is the day, says Marcus, that he learned the secret of speaking that works well for him: to imagine he's speaking to a crowd, even if he is only conversing with one or two.

As I sat in the sixth row on the floor of the packed Key Arena in Seattle last October for the Women of Faith conference, I heard the articulate, entertaining Marcus Buckingham for myself.  He's a stellar example that a speech difficulty can be overcome.

But it isn't easy.

Last night we agonized with King George VI as he struggled to overcome his stuttering, as portrayed in the movie, The King's Speech.  Although there were no high speed chase scenes in the film, no murders, no spies, still I felt a great deal of anxiety listening to a well-intentioned man trying to utter even a few words.  The tremendous amount of work necessary for him to become a public speaker required confronting issues in his life much deeper that an uncooperative tongue.  The well-chosen actors all did their part to make the re-telling of this victory in the life of King George compelling and rewarding.

King George had his speech problems.  You've got your own problems; I've got mine.  Dealing with them can be excruciating.  But oh, the joy, the triumph, that awaits the one who is willing to face those problems and persevere!

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