Saturday, April 19, 2014

Award Acceptance Speeches

We had a terrific College of Education Awards banquet last night.  the  food was very nice and very quickly served.  The seating was assigned and thoughtfully so.  The venue was excellent with lots of parking.  It was a joyous occasion with many scholarships given along with much recognition.

I had the pleasure of giving a Prize to a colleague who I had nominated for a service award.  I had prepared a 5-9 min speech recognizing her accomplishments in service.  Upion entering the venue I sought out the very compentent young administrator who had arranged everything and asked her about my presentioan.

"Phil, I know you can talk, but we need to keep it short tonight, because we have a lot of awards to make." she told me definitively.  I understood.

I quickly cut my speech to 3 minutes in deference to her advice.

The award I was presenting was the first in the faculty-staff section.  The transition to these awards didn't go very smoothly, and at first, I was left out of the program altogether.  No problem.  But, at the last moment I was called up to the stage.

I quickly delivered my congratulatory speech and then quit.  My awardee wasn't told she would speak at all, but gamely went to the microphone and said "Thank you." and quit.  Hers was the best speech of the night.

Every award after us was accompanied by a 5-10 minute talk of how great the awardee was.  Most every acceptance speech was a much longer version of Hershel Walker's remarks upon winning the American football Heisman Trophy, "I want to thank all the people who made me the great person I am".

Don't get me wrong, the people who received awards are all fine people.  Some of them may even be "great".  But, I am not sure truly great people see themselves and talk about themselves as being "great".

Scripture tells us that we ought not to think of ourselves as more worthy than we are.  Romans 12:3, "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you."

Even though I received no awards, I need to keep this Scripture in mind at all times. "... Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment...".   Plus, that makes for a short speech indeed.  

Almost never can anyone give a speech that is too SHORT!

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