by Burt Dubin
What makes a family? What bonds lives together-whether by
blood or by spirit? What ties unite us? What cords bind us?
What chords make us one?
The certain sign, the vital fluid, the elixir we share is
our need to be before audiences sharing our essence, sharing
our feelings, sharing our thoughts, and our ideas.
Some primal urge informs us, compels us, makes us let our
message out. We do it in the moment, in the here, in the now,
our words vibrant and alive as we look into the eyes of our
As parents feel delight seeing their children grow, we feel
delight seeing audiences accepting us, enjoying our stories,
listening to our lessons-and taking value away from our presence.
As the father in the traditional family goes forth into the
world to do his work, whatever that may be-to build, heal,
fix, create, service, move, plant, harvest-so we speakers
go forth into the sky to speed our speech to classes or workshops,
to auditoriums, to venues large and small, wherever audiences
can assemble to see and hear us, audiences longing to learn
and grow, wanting to widen their horizons, gain skills, take
away strategies, methods, tools and keys to personal achievements-and
always, always, always seeking hope.
As the mother in the traditional family nurtures and protects,
comforts and cradles her children, we who speak illuminate
and teach, open doors to potential, entertain and inform our
audiences, with acceptance, with tenderness, with love.
As siblings, the brothers and sisters in the traditional
family may have their differences, varying tastes and views,
plans and directions, yet come together at mealtimes, at special
occasions, at times of celebrations and at times of loss,
supporting and serving each other- so we speakers have our
unique specialties and topics, approaches and attitudes, examples
and experiences. And we join together in our local, national,
and now international gatherings to share, to serve, to help
each other widen our horizons and expand our worlds.
And, there's more. There's more that bonds and unites our
family of fellow speakers.
A traditional family shares a home, a shelter, a place of
being together whether or not all choose to be there. We speakers
have such a home now, thanks to the wisdom, the genius, the
faith and the spirit of our founding father and his caring
regard for his gifted children. Today we have a physical home,
a spiritual shelter, a legal shelter. It's here now. It will
continue to be here for generations unborn.
Like traditional families, we speakers have an extended family,
too. Our cousins are in every direction. They may call themselves
teachers, trainers, facilitators, professors, consultants,
coaches or mentors. They may work for schools, colleges or
universities, public or private, for governments, for business,
large or small. Some wear blue suits. Some wear blue jeans.
All serve to build bridges between the past and the future.
All are closely related to us, honored and welcome guests
whenever they come by.
Isn't it great to be part of this family? Don't you feel
wonderful, knowing your true blood line? If space permitted,
we could look back on our heritage. Socrates, Demosthenes,
Plato, Cicero, and so many more white-garbed speakers of a
far earlier era. Let's bow low to Franklin, Jefferson, Emerson,
Whitman, and so many more speakers of the modern era.
And, what of us? We are the torch-bearers. We're accountable.
We carry hope and light into the future. Welcome to the family.