Tough (preschool) crowd

by Arwa Mahdawi

Public domain

I’m going to sound like a LinkedIn lunatic when I say this, but here goes: I’m a seasoned professional with a strong track record in public speaking. I’ve spoken at literary festivals, corporate retreats, and one (1) TedX conferences. (That’s back when TED was still vaguely considered cool.) I’ve spoken to crowds of thousands of people. I’m not bragging, I’m just setting the scene; drumming home the message that I’m not afraid of public speaking. I rather enjoy it.

Except when preschoolers are involved. There is nothing, I recently discovered, more humbling than addressing a crowd of under-fives. Particularly when you are trying to explain to the demise of print media to them.

To be clear: I didn’t just find myself just lecturing a bunch of kids about journalism one day. I signed up for it. Or, rather, my wife signed me up for it. My daughter’s preschool was doing a module about careers, you see, and they wanted parents to come in and talk about what they did for a living. I had no intention of volunteering but, after a few other parents came in, my daughter insisted one of her mums also come to school. My wife works in corporate social responsibility which is extremely difficult to describe to toddlers so I drew the short straw and scheduled myself in to speak. And then I spent the next couple of weeks panicking. What if I let my kid down? There is no greater fear.

It’s a paywall, but a small one

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