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My son kept telling me he was nervous and shy, and that he didn’t want to do his speech in front of the class and all us parents.

The speech is a second grade tradition at his school: each student researches, writes (with help) and delivers a speech about a changemaker.

Changemakers picked this year included leaders like: Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Misty Copeland, Jackie Robinson, Simone Biles, Malala Yousafzai, and more.

My son chose Lonnie Johnson, engineer and inventor of the super soaker. When I asked him why he chose Lonnie, he said, “He went through a lot in his life to be where he is. He had to work harder as a Black student and one of the only Black engineers to prove himself.”

The changemaker presentations included so much recognition of the real challenges underrepresented groups face, and highlighted the triumphs too.

My son practiced everyday this week. We worked on words he had trouble with. That was his focus.

The morning of the speeches, he was nervous. He told me he was scared. I reminded him: hey, just have fun. You’re prepared. You’ve practiced. You got this.

And this is him giving his speech. He nailed the 5 words we worked on: mechanical, engineering, Tuskegee, revolutionary, and nuclear. It was a huge success for him!

I started recording a little late because he was eager to start.

To teaching our kids about changemakers like this, and to helping them see you can still be nervous and prepared, and that practice is about progress not perfection.🙌🏽


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