It's Friday evening and time to decompress. A week of speaking to students can be emotional draining. For old broken knees like mine standing for multiple hours speaking can be physically taxing too.
As I sit here his evening what comes back are the little things. Thank you and handshakes from students that take a second to express their appreciation as they rush to the next class.
Reviewing and thinking about what I said, not during the presentation, been doing that for eight years now. My uncertainty is when I speak one on one with a student or teacher. Did I say the right thing to students when they ask questions during the presentation? I do my best. Maybe me being there just to hear the question or statement can be enough.
Small moments mean so much. I want to share some of those moments
- When a teacher dabs tears throughout the whole presentation and comes to me and says, "I was crying inside and outside the whole time you spoke....my sisters child...."
- A student asks, "Can you help me? What should I do to help my sister"
- A student listens to the presentation with a very stressed look on her face. Eyes not even blinking the whole time.
- A student begins to cry in class. I ask the teacher if she can help and they leave the room together.
- A student tells me that is exactly what it is like when you have an addict in the family.
- A student comes to me after class shakes my hand vigorously, saying thank you, thank you over and over.
- Two different classes ask to hear the story again. Even though they had heard it 2 years ago.
- A teacher finds out I am speaking and he asks the scheduling teacher, can I open the classroom so my students can hear too?
- A student during my entire speech making comments and asking questions but I can see him doing something pencil on paper. After class he gives me a very good pencil sketch of me speaking.
- Students come into the classroom during the off period. They are talking to the teacher and all of a sudden one student, "I know you. You spoke to us 2 years ago." They begin repeating my story back to me.
- A ten minute conversation with a student going to rehab.
- The smiles on students faces when I tell them about my son's life today clear and sober. I can feel the love from them and sincere happiness he is where he is today.
- Students in a class planning to enter the medical profession. Spending 3 hours intently listening and talking to me about addiction and recovery
So many experiences that provide the reward for doing something like this that may sound simple and routine after eight years. There is nothing about this that is simple and routine. With every presentation I give each person a piece of me. I do it willingly. I feel honored every time they accept that piece.
The week after Thanksgiving I will be back at it again. I have two presentations at the Johnson County Resort. I will be speaking to juveniles again at the Johnson County Detention Center.....Wish me luck.