Although I wasn’t scheduled to speak today, I woke up to a very early text asking me to cover a presentation for someone else. As usual, I said I’d take it. Name the time and place. I’ll be there.
So I found myself this afternoon sharing my story of addiction and recovery with 100+ fifth and sixth-graders at a school in North Phoenix. As younger kids can often get much more fidgety much more easily than high school students, I made a point to jump into my presentation headfirst with even more energy than usual. It worked well. You could have heard a pin drop (with the exception of the parts designed to elicit laughter, shocked gasps, or other emotional responses). That’s no small feat when it comes to kids that young at the end of a school day. They were really respectful and attentive and I thanked them for that.
Afterward, the Q&A segment went even better than usual. Dozens of kids had their hands up. Despite budgeting 10-15 minutes for Q&A, I couldn’t get to everyone. So a lot of them came up individually afterward to ask their question, tell me thanks, give me a high five, etc.
One angelic-looking little girl came up and waited patiently in line behind all the other kids who came up to talk to me. Following a series of kids giving me high fives and telling me how much they liked the presentation, I figured she’d be doing more of the same, or at least asking a question.
However, as she got up to me, she looked me right in the eye and said, “I don’t have a question. I just want to tell you that it was really stupid of you to use drugs.”
It was then me who initiated the high five and told her she was right. Whether the response comes in the form of a “thank you,” or something more like her approach, I’m just happy that the message gets across.