Caleb’s First Talk in Church

Caleb gave his first talk today at Church.  We were all excited last Sunday when he received the assignment.  On Monday night, we prepared a 7 sentence talk about the sustaining of our new Church President, President Monson.  Some of the words like "General Conference" and "raise our hands" were too big, and we used pictures to aid him.  Our plan was to rehearse the talk every night  until Sunday in preparation.  We set up the piano bench as the podium and took our seat on the couch.  To our amazement, on Monday night he was able to whip through the talk without any assistance.  We didn’t quite get around to rehearsing every night, but he had a chance to go over the talk 3 or 4 times over the week.  Tenille and I had a discussion about whether or not one of us should stand up there with him.  He seemed like he could and wanted to do it by himself, but at the same time, we were afraid that he might freeze up with the pressure of the entire class looking at him.
Sunday morning, we decided we would let him do it by himself.  Worst case, one of us would run up to the front and help him finish.  Tenille and I both sat at the back of the class, and I was holding Andrew, so any change in plans would have to be executed by Tenille.  After prayer and scripture were given by the other kids, it was finally Caleb’s turn.  Caleb made his way up to the podium with his piece of paper.  Sister Hartley, who just helped the other two kids with the prayer and scripture shot a glance at Tenille and it seemed like there was a moment of confusion.  Although Sister Hartley usually helps with the scripture and prayer, I think the usual protocol is that the parent of the child helps with the talk.  Sister Hartley gave a polite gesture asking if she should help Caleb, and Tenille whispered, "I think he should be okay." 
There are probably some parents out there who expect much from their children – perhaps too much.  They put their kids in impossible situations and show disappointment when their kids can’t measure up to their overzealous aspirations.  They do not have a well-grounded sense of their children’s limitations.  At the moment Tenille whispered to Sister Hartley, "I think he should okay," it felt like we were on the brink of proving to that small classroom, that we could very well be those parents of ill repute.  
I was nervous and excited for Caleb as he grabbed the microphone and put it to his mouth.  There was an expectant silence as Caleb looked out into the classroom.  From the stare on his face, I couldn’t figure out if he was nervous or if he was just ready to rip through it as he had at home.  I smiled at him, wondering inside if this was too much for him.  Half of me wanted to prod Tenille up to the front to help him, but there was another half quietly waiting and expecting him to just get started.  The silence grew to a point where it seemed like someone needed to intervene.  Keeping his eyes locked on the classroom, Caleb started in on his talk.   At home, sometimes he would rush through so quickly that you couldn’t even understand him.  But up on that podium, he said his words slowly and deliberately.  About half way through the talk, Caleb stopped.  He had yet to look at his paper.  I wondered if he had forgotten that he had the piece of paper to help him with the talk.  The pause grew longer and longer.  I tried to smile encouragingly from the back, hoping that he remembers that his paper had the talk written on it.  It seemed like he froze.  We were bad parents.  Tenille stood up and took a step toward the podium, when Caleb started back up again. 
Without ever looking at his piece of paper, he finished his talk – slowly and deliberately – just as he had started.  Perhaps, they were just memorized words rolling out of his mouth.  But, the way he said them gave the effect that he knew what he was saying and meant every word.  "I am thankful for a prophet.  I love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."
Caleb received many compliments and several ladies from Primary commented that the talk was very special…..and not necessarily because he gave a memorized talk without assistance.  We were moved by the Spirit he brought into the room as he expressed with his pure 3 year old voice the faith and love of Christ, our Savior.

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