About 3 weeks ago Friday I spoke to students at a local high school, Blue Valley Southwest. I was ask by a teacher to speak at his new school. For several years I had spoke to his students at another school. This was my first venture at BVS.
I spoke to 4 classes of students. A mix of ages from freshmen to seniors.
The week after I spoke I returned to the school to retrieve my coffee cup that was forgotten and left on the teachers desk. Unknown to me that Monday the teacher ask his students to write down their thoughts about my talk and what they got out of Friday. He ask them to be honest and he also committed to the students he would not read their papers but deliver them to me directly.
This is the first time I had written response to what students thought of my discussion. I am going to quote some of what they said. This is not to toot my own horn about my talk but to emphasize it is CRITICAL we talk to our young people. They will LISTEN but you have to be HONEST.
These were handwritten letters on notebook paper, single spaced and some of then a full page long. I am sitting here sifting through over 50 of these.
- different than any other story or speaker that has talked to us about drug usage. I loved that you didn't say "don't do drugs" but rather you showed us and told us what would happen if we did.
- my eyes watered up a couple times
- I went to my closest friends and basically said, "Look, I don't care what happens promise me you'll never do drugs."
- It was life changing.
- Your words hit me hard....
- Your presentation was amazing and different than than the usual presentation.
- I had a cousin who went through this and it was very much similar.
- When you started yelling I could feel the anger, when your started breaking down I could feel a tear in my eye.
- I appreciated your honest and direct manner.
- This felt much more important because it didn't feel fake.
- Other presentations are too corny, "say no to drugs" you gave us real life.
- ...incredibly touching and so moving.
- It made me want to stay drug free even more for the sake of my family.
- It was brave of him to speak about something so personal to him.
- I am glad you didn't sugarcoat anything.....I have family members that have struggled with drugs so it is good to know there is hope.
- ....my uncle died because he was a cocaine addict.... thank you.
- I can't even imagine what my parents reaction would be if they got a call that I was unconscious and not breathing from the hospital.
- ....drugs completely trash families forever.
- His son was a normal kid that got addicted. I found it interesting it could happen to anyone.
- I personally have never done any kind of drug. I have been offered it many times. What you talked about will always be in my mind.
- I learned a lot about these things from my mom who is an addiction therapist who deals with kids my age.
- My mom struggled with pain pills for a couple years, she has been clean for 6 years....life was hard.... I had to stay strong for my little brothers.
The biggest impact on me from all these letters was how they all were so glad my son came out of his addiction and is clear and sober today. I believe they felt a personal connection to my son.
In every class I challenge each of them to go home and talk to their parents about drugs. I have heard from teachers that kids actually do that, parents have mentioned it during parent teacher conferences.
We change the world one person at a time. I challenge you to make that effort with one person each day. There are people we have all heard of that have changed the world, Jonas Sauk (polio) Madame Currie (x-ray) Florence Nightingale (nursing) Alexander Fleming (penicillin). Maybe your name will not be known as these people but all of us can have the same impact on a person that they did with there efforts. Be the light.