Serious, by Ken Bradbury, 2000

This persuasive speech urges the audience to drop pretenses and be themselves. Some great advice in this!


8 - 10 minutes

Product Id: #405

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An excerpt …

            “She looked at me, sniffed and mumbled ‘Mrs. Brown.’ This was not going well. In the space of two weeks it became ‘Old Mrs. Brown.’ Then after the first six weeks it was ‘Ugly old Mrs. Brown,’ and at the end of the first semester her kindergarten teacher had become ‘Fat old ugly Mrs. Brown.’ What could I do? This was the first year of my first daughter’s first experience with public education. I made my living by writing books on how to educate and motivate children, and now I was faced with a daughter who was ready to give up school entirely and join the Peace Corps at age five!      “We made it through that first year … somehow. I don’t know who wanted the year to end more … Katie or me. Finally the last day of school arrived and when the bus stopped in front of our ranch I saw a bubbly, joyous Katie literally jump off the bus. ‘How was school today, Katie?’”

            “’Oh daddy, it was wonderful! It was awesome! Mrs. Brown was so cool!’”

            “I thought to myself, ‘Mrs. Brown? What happened to fat, old, ugly?”

            “’Why, Katie?’ I asked. ‘What did Mrs. Brown do?’”

            “’Oh Daddy, it was the last day of school so Mrs. Brown wore jeans today! And she went down the slide with us!’”


            An incident that got national attention in the Christmas of 1989 involved a small grade school in the Midwest. A third grade teacher had given the class the assignment: Write a Theme on  “What you Want to Be When You Grow Up.”

            The usual assortment of fireman, nurse, doctor, and teacher themes were handed in on the following Monday. Only one little boy was asked to do his assignment again. He had apparently misunderstood the assignment. His theme began: “When I grow up I want to be myself.”

            He continued, “People who are real have the most the fun, I think. When I grow up I want to be real. My daddy is real. Sometimes he kids me and stuff, but mostly he’s real. I like that.”


Craig Dunham, Youth Director for Navigator’s International, who host thousands of inner city youth at summer enrichment camps, says that “Every child coming toward you is asking two silent questions in his mind: 1) Are you real, and 2) Will you love me?”

            Are you real? And will you love me? And perhaps every adult asks the same question … and every grandmother in a retirement home … and every little girl on her first day of kindergarten.


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