I’ll start right off by admitting that I’m not sure why I chose the title for this posting but it somehow fits with how I’m feeling. I’m writing this sitting in a cafe on the outskirts of Toronto where the Family Supports Institute of Ontario (FSIO) is holding it’s 2008 conference “The Communities We Grow; The People Who Make it Happen.” This is a wonderful conference for all professionals who support families and children. That’s a lot of people. I’m sitting here writing because in all of the confusion of closing down my work-office and trying to set up my working space at home – and therein lies a topic for another day – I keep on losing things and overlooking things. So, when I got up this morning I knew that I’d be presenting this afternoon, but I couldn’t remember at what time in the afternoon and couldn’t locate a conference brochure. My solution? I drove out to the conference centre around 11 a.m. so I could deliver my handouts, have a look at the room I’d be presenting in, and find out – without giving myself away – what time I’m “on”. It’s about 11:30 now and I’ll be speaking at 2, so I’ve got lots of time to sit and write. Great plan!!
I’m here because this afternoon I’m presenting a workshop entitled “Our children aren’t born to hate, they’re taught to hate.” There’s just so much to say and the exercise of trying to fit so much into a short period of time always reminds me of one of my favorite videoclips: ;”>Mom’s Song. It’s a big day for me because this is the first conference presentation that I’ve made in a long time that is absolutely about what I care about; how we raise/teach/socialize children to live in peace and harmony. Yes, I know, that sounds a bit idealistic, but as Rabbi Tarfon said: “It is not incumbent upon you to complete the task, but neither are you free to desist from it.”
I’m speaking here at this today and I’m doing a keynote address in March and then I have no other presentations or workshops pencilled in. That too is scary. What if this is it? What if I have just these last two times to speak and then that’s really it? It circles back to anxiety that being out of the loop comes with some very real ramifications I don’t necessarily do well under extreme pressure, but part of me is feeling that I have these two opportunities to prove – perhaps most important of all to prove to myself – that I really do have something to say and that I can say it in a way that’s worth listening to.
POST SCRIPT: It’s 6 p.m. and I’m home now. I’m adding these last words after the conference. There were a lot of us crowded into a small room and pretty much all of the tech-nightmares I’ve had played themselves out; the powerpoint presentation wouldn’t run properly, I had to switch back and forth between the powerpoint and some videoclips and every time I switched the ppt would go back to Slide 1 and the video would choose randomly where to begin. Argh!!
That said, one of the participants came up to me after the session and told me that she hoped that when I retired my voice would not be lost; that she hoped I’d keep on speaking and using my voice to encourage others to find ways to live together in peace. I don’t remember her name, but her words lifted my spirit immeasurably. Here’s hoping.