Friday, February 19, 2010

The Happy Ticket

by Gege C. Sugue
Speech Project No. 3
Advanced Communication Series: Specialty Speeches

Who wants to be happy?

I guess most, if not all, of us want to be happy. So tonight, I'm selling tickets.

Tickets to happiness. No, this is not magic. This will not give you 185 million pesos instantly. It will not enable you to lose 20 pounds overnight. It will not help you find the man or woman of your dreams. It is not magic. Happiness is not achieved magically.

There is, however, a formula. It is a formula discovered by author Allan K. Chalmers, who said that there are three grand essentials of happiness and these are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.

Yes, this is tonight's special offer, something to do, something to love, and something to hope for, all packaged in one activity.

This activity is called Speechcraft. For those who are not familiar with it yet, Speechcraft is a program designed by Toastmasters International. It teaches through 3 or 4, or up to 8 sessions the rudiments of public speaking to members and non-members. Seasoned Toastmasters teach by sharing and showing. And the participants learn by doing.

BnT has had the opportunity to conduct the program for some corporations, but this particular Speechcraft project will be spearheaded by Division B as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility goals. Division B's mission is for Toastmasters to work together in projects that enable them to share their time, talent, knowledge, and heart so that underprivileged individuals can improve their communication skills and enjoy positive change in their lives.

So this project will not be for a corporation. Instead we'll be working with an NGO called ATD.

ATD, All Together in Dignity is an international organization working with the community to eradicate poverty from this planet. It's a group that does not believe in dole-outs. Their projects are those that give persons living with poverty a voice. We know that money talks. So the one without money can't be heard. ATD wants to change that through projects that allow the community members to speak through art, fora, livelihood projects, and other events that enable them to speak up, to share their experiences, their views, their aspirations.

The participants are not your usual participants -- corporate employees, yuppies -- but instead we will share our talents and skills with youth from underprivileged communities. Some of them were drug addicts, the type you see sniffing glue in the streets. Some of them engaged in petty crimes like pickpocketing. But they are willing to turn their lives around. And that's where we and Speechcraft come in.

This is also where Chalmer's formula comes in.

Let's talk about something to do. What's the major happening this year in our country? Yes, the elections. How many of you already have that one candidate in mind -- the one who will change things around, the one who will eradicate corruption, the one who will make poverty history, and lead us to a path of recovery and prosperity. Ah, I see only a few raised hands. And the rest? Uncertain? Some of us, I suspect, will probably end up voting for the one who is the "lesser evil." Some of us, like I am, must be so frustrated, feeling helpless, thinking, "what else can I do aside from voting for the lesser evil?"

Well, here's something you can do. Join me in one of the Saturdays of Speechcraft. Participate. Play a role. That's what you can do. As a Toastmaster, you can share what you know. Maybe it does not seem like much, the impact not of national import. But it will make a difference in the life of a person, who will otherwise not have a voice.

How about something to love? It is Valentine weekend. Love is in the air. And some of us are contemplating the meaning of love. What is love? Share with me your definitions.

Ah, cheesy definitions you have. I realized though, that I need not google cheesy love quotes to define love. The best definition of love comes from here: 1 John 4:8. God is love. This definition is further defined in the very popular verse, John 3:16. For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. God defiines love as giving, as sacrificing for the sake of others.

Look, I know that what I ask you is not easy. To wake up early on a Saturday morning and go all the way to Pandacan to teach people you don't know for no pay and hardly any glory.

And how can I even suggest that you love these people? Some of them may not be worth loving or some of them may be hard to love. Some of them may have picked your pocket or wrangled your phone away from you. But you know what, God loves us even when we're not worth loving. God loves us when we're ugly, stinky, and evil. Because to love is to give and to sacrifice. Here's an opportunity to love in the way that God loves.

The last element of the formula is something to hope for. I thought to myself that in this project, we are more the deliverers of hope rather than the receivers. But here's another perspective on hope as defined by President Barrack Obama, who says that that "hope is the belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us; by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, but have the courage to remake the world as it should be."

Friends, do you envision a world of hope? Does your vision of the world as it should be include positive change for the youth? Does it involve action by doing something concrete? Does it include love?

If it does, then you need one of these tickets. It's a ticket to do, to love, and to hope. It's a ticket to happiness. But it does not come for free. First, you have to sign up. Sign up for one or more of these dates -- Feb. 27, March 6, April 10. Then you have to show up. Show up from 9 AM to 12 noon of those dates. Then, you have to speak up. Deliver a speech. Take on a role. That's the price -- Sign up. Show up. Speak up so that others may speak too.

Let me close this presentation with a story, the story of a woman who lost her husband and her son at the same time. Such tragic events could rob anyone of happiness forever. And try as she might, none of her possessions, her friends, her diversions could make her happy. Until one day she came home and saw her son's puppy. Since her son's death, the puppy has been neglected, left hungry and lonely. She took pity on the dog and fed it, bathed it, and gave it a hug. Only then when she felt the puppy hug her back, rub against her with appreciation did she feel a tinge of happiness again. And she thought to herself that if doing that could make her happy, what else can she do? The next day she brought cookies to her neighbors. The day after that she brought food and clothes to the community center. She spent her days giving, sacrificing, loving, and she learned that you don't earn happiness by looking for it. You find it by giving it away.

So, happiness anyone?


Ed Ebreo said...

I love the Speech Ge! I wish I was there to see you deliver. I miss BNT, I wish I can be in the first meeting in March :((

Meannbunye said...

Hi Ge! I like this. I hope to see you do your speeches.

And with your permission I'd like to borrow your story abt the lady. I can use it in my teachings..

Btw John 3:16.

gege said...

Oh no. Thanks for pointing out the typo, Me-ann. Haha. That's just about the most famous bible verse. I have corrected it.

I just googled that parable. :) Go ahead and use it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gege,
I just...finally...took some minutes to read some of the Toastmasters International posts on the blog.
And I saw the two about the speechcraft you and your friends delivered at ATD. I was there only the first day, then in vacation, another step to get closer to happiness....but I heard comments about the speechcraft and I know that some important and quite deep moments took place. Even if people may not have so much the opportunity to remember all and practise the new skills, they will surely remember the time spent with your group as an opening, filled with respect and learning.

Please extend our thanks to your team!

Best regards,
Anne-Sylvie (ATD permanent volunteer)


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