Learn From a Movie: The King’s Speech

PRODUCED BY: Iain Canning
LEAD ROLE: Colin Firth


He stood in front of the crowd, tall, and handsome. They stared eagerly at him, their prince. His throat expanded and contracted, his lips moved, he spat out a few words and then fell into silence. He had a speech to deliver and the world was waiting but his vocal cord had shut down, like a computer paralysed by a deadly virus; possibly a Trojan. Or do you know any other virus, more notorious and powerful?

As the dilemma of the duke of York became rather embarrassing, the people began to avert their eyes, ashamed for him. I imagine that he wished that the ground beneath his feet would open to suck him away from the awkward moment.

How do we like our leaders? Not too long ago, a lot of people went gaga over president Bill Clinton’s looks, today, president Obama’s looks and charisma are not the least amongst his many assets. People love to fall in love with their leaders as they do with the heroes in their favourite movies. It is “vanity upon vanity” but who’s minding that? If a leader in not blessed with good looks, he must have a redemption ticket, which is none other than his voice. The power to command attention when one speaks and have listeners remember what you have said, long after you said it, is imperative for a leader, it even rates higher than looks because looks without voice will become ultimately boring. President Olusegun Obasanjo may not be on the list of world leaders that will be fondly remembered for their looks but he had a way with his voice, even if people didn’t always agree with him.

So, how can a prince who stammers and who’s vocal cord eventually freeze up should he venture public speaking be king? How will he communicate with his subjects and officials if he can’t get the words out? And for how long will they be willing to sympathise with him? Not very long, I imagine. But I reason as human, and God will be God.

In bible history, God choose Moses to lead His people Israel even though he had speech impediment. To add salt on injury, God did not heal Moses’ speech challenge miraculously to make his task of leadership possible to at least imagine. Instead, God appointed a spokesman for him in the person of Aaron, his elder brother. In the movie, “THE KING’S SPEECH”, I marvelled as I waited in vain for the speech challenge of the duke of York to disappear overnight, or at least, gradually, as the young man sought professional help from Doctor Lionel, an older man who had founded and developed a career in helping people with speech problems get better. The best thing that happened for the duke was that Lionel was always by his side to help him prepare mentally and emotionally to give a public speech shortly before and after his coronation as George V1, of England.

It was most striking for me that the duke had to be crowned king of England and fulfil his obligations in spite of his obvious obstacle. The “thorn in his flesh” was never removed, but as it were, the grace of God was sufficient for him. God sent him a helper in the person of a naturally gifted speech therapist, a man who had no formal training or paper qualifications. Imagine that?

Dear FOJ,

Just because you are afraid that your disadvantages, limitations or peculiar challenges can hinder you from fulfilling destiny does not mean that the grace of God cannot or will not be sufficient for you. By the special grace of God, anyone can fly without wings.

Yours truly,