Sunday, January 22, 2023
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Speak Your MindThe child within us

The child within us

Making presentations in front of an audience of students and teachers was one of the things I dreaded the most in high school and college. I was terrified of forgetting or saying my name incorrectly if I was asked to do so during a presentation.

Even now, I find presentations frightening, though not to the extent that I did when I was younger.

As a former teacher, I have had students present their theses to me and the rest of the class. I can confidently state that almost none of my students enjoy giving presentations. Their voices are breaking up to the point where some of them sound close to crying.

Ethiopians are famous for their shyness. It stems from politeness, but it also stems from the fact that we are shy people. I don’t think we’re people who look forward to speaking our minds in front of a large crowd and people we consider superior to us, either in age or in position.

We are the type of people who prefer to keep things to ourselves unless absolutely necessary.

Although I believe Ethiopians are shyer than people of other nationalities when it comes to giving presentations, fear is something that most of us humans share.

Have you ever wondered why we are so afraid of speaking in front of people, especially those we regard as superior to us?

The point I want to make today is not so much about presentations as it is about people’s general fear of other people they consider superior. Superiority can take the form of age, greater wealth, or greater power.

We frequently speak and interact with such people in ways that we would not with people of our own social standing. When we talk to such people, I believe we become paralyzed and lose our true selves and often put on our best face, voice, and physical position.

We frequently forget that they, too, are flawed humans. Politicians, millionaires, our bosses, parents, older siblings, community elders, and religious leaders are examples of people who, at the end of the day, are people with flaws, weaknesses, emotions, and childhood memories just like us.

All were babies; all were innocent children.

Is it just me, or have all grown-up adults begun to imagine or picture themselves as babies and small children after becoming parents?

Every time I meet an adult in my social, work, or media circles, I can’t help but imagine what kind of baby or little child he or she was. It makes no difference whether that person is a well-known politician, a billionaire, or a homeless man.

I’m always curious about what kind of baby or small child that person was.

This, in some ways, aids in sympathizing with that person and seeing the humanity in him or her. And helps lessen my opinion of that person. This allows me to see the child in that person and be kind to him or her.

I believe that if we could see the child in each of us, we would be more sympathetic to one another.

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