THE FIRST TOASTMASTER

12 Jun

I came to Toastmasters because public speaking scared me. Let me be brutally honest, I came to Toastmasters because speaking scared me. I would wait until someone spoke first. Sweaty Palms and hyperventilating outed my fears if I stood at the front of a room or tried to carry on a conversation with more than 12, make that more than 2, make that more than 1.

In my few short months of becoming a Toastmaster, I have graduated. The sweaty clammy palms have gone. I can publicly complete an unscripted sentence that has a beginning and end and a middle. And my heart no longer beats to me to the end of a sentence like American Pharoah crossing a finish line ahead of the whole field. I am able to be heard across a room without being miked. And I embrace my space, talking with arms opening wide in grace filled conversation of motions like a bird in flight.

Toastmasters taught me to soar.

All this time, I hadn’t thought much about where and how Toastmasters got its start. I was fixated on my starting to speak, publicly that is. I had to learn fast.

And then one day I had time to think. I thought about Toastmaster’s origins. Toastmasters magazine prompted me to wonder, who was the first toastmaster was… and when. I understood the why.

I found my answer in a piece penned on Ralph C Smedley. I learned that Smedley had a phenomenal notion about bringing together young men in speaking clubs. Smedley felt the young men wanting work needed to learn to speak, conduct meetings, plan programs and work alongside others on committees. Smedley was the director of education at a YMCA, Young Men’s Christian Association. Smedley named his group of young men, and mentors, the Toastmasters Club honoring people who gave toasts at banquets and other phenomenally celebratory occasions. Seems the name toastmaster may have had an even earlier origin dating back to the Roman tradition of drinking to a lady’s health with spice soaked toasted bread softened in wine.

I didn’t think much more about Smedley’s phenomenal Toastmaster idea until, one day, I was listening to a faith leader speak. He talked, and he talked, and he talked and talked and talked and talked and talked. I was sooooooooooo restless that I reached out to the nearest book I could grab. It was then I had my Aha Mentor Moment that twerked me to realize who the real first toastmaster was.

Bible 1.0.

It was there in Black and White in a book that is read all over. A good book, if you asked me…..

God was coaching Moses to be the first Toastmaster ever. God told Moses to go talk to the Israelites. Moses said no. And God said yes you will. And Moses said I wont, no one will listen to me. And God said say, ‘Moses, buddy, trust me they will.’ And Moses said say ‘I have a speech impediment.’ And God would say ‘so who cares, believe that you don’t, you just need to speak up, and deliver your message, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10.’

What a difference a page in history makes. If this was not the first Toastmasters moment then, what is.

We all know how that story ends up. God did a bangup job getting Moses to speak up loud and clear. Moses became such an expert Toastmaster, improving so much that he, Moses, convinced a community of Israelites to follow him in to the desert, wandering for years in a journey that is technically takes hours as the crow flies.

I can only presume that everyone else has history wrong. According to my theory, no, Moses didn’t throw the Ten Commandments down to the ground. That would have been phenomenally dumb, after having spent days and nights alone atop the mountain chiseling away on the first evolution of mass communications, that made him a “rock” star. From my perspective? I think that Moses suffered from palms that were so clammy and sweaty those darn heavy stone tablets slipped from Moses hands, crashed to the ground and shattered.

Thank you Toastmasters for my teaching lesson in grandeur of the mastery of being coached, reminding all of us of the phenomenal power of being mentored in the art of the Toast, by the master…. God.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: