I am going to take this opportunity and tell you some stories.
Let’s begin with this Canadian silver dollar. A dollar is a dollar they say, but ever wonder what it is really worth? Everything. This dollar was given to me by my father and means everything to me. We arrived in Canada in 1985 and were on welfare. Our whole apartment was furnished with discarded pieces of furniture nobody wanted. It was not easy for my father who was in his 50’s and didn’t speak the language to find work, but he managed. Illegal work. The kind where you get paid under the table, and the government can’t collect their dues.
My dad never made excuses and worked hard his entire life and so when I went to sleep, he he went to make donuts for people in a sweaty little donut factory with very little ventilation.
The first time he got paid, we went to the bank bought himself this silver dollar. The first dollar he ever made in Canada. He kept it in his pocket to remind himself of why he left the country he loved so much and why it matter to work so hard for the people you love.
This dollar bill, is the first dollar I made. I couldn’t help and did what my father did. I took the money I made at Gerry’s Variety Store that first afternoon, and I saved one dollar, so that I would never forget the sacrifices my father and mother made bringing me here to this wonderful country and today I use it to remind me to continue working for my own family.
The last story I want to tell you doesn’t involve money. I want to tell you about something that happened to me last summer.
I was driving north one morning towards Baltimore, when I saw a farmer on a side road, just a bit off the highway, dejected, sitting in front of his broken down truck full of vegetables and fruit he must have been taking to the market. I turned around, stopped and asked him if he needed help. He accepted my kindness.
The truck was beyond repair and so we picked up all the vegetables from the side of the road and I gave him a lift to back to his farm which wasn’t far away. We began talking and he told me a story about the time he went to the market and traded in the only cow his family owned for a bag of magic beans. He planted those beans and one of them sprouted so high that it rose beyond the clouds. He climbed up that bean stalk and up beyond the clouds he discovered a mean giant who continuously stole from people. He also saw his golden goose and so he took it and climbed down as fast as he could. But the giant pursued him and when he was at the bottom, he chopped down the beanstalk and the giant fell to the ground with a giant crash and died. He made a huge impression in the ground.
We stood inside that whole, while he gave me a jar of his magic beans.
I know what you’re thinking. Is this really a silver dollar? And yes, it is, but more importantly, the real story I want you to hear, is the story you tell yourself. The story that you cannot do something, that you’re not good enough to do something, that its too late, or that there is no point.
That’s the important story.
No. My father never went to the bank and got a silver coin, but he did give his family everything he could. No. I didn’t do the same, but like my father, I also try to give my family and everyone I meet the best of me.
The story about the magic beans is true. It is totally true, and you should come and get one when I am done. You should plant that bean inside your heart, and you should slay the giant that has been stealing your hopes and dreams from you. It is time you fought back.
It’s your time. It’s your life.
Delivered on February 5th, 2019
Toastmasters International Meeting in Cobourg – Cobourg Toastmasters
Contest Speech – club level