It’s hard to believe that I’m going into my 17th year of empowering teens to dream bigger DREAMS, make better DECISIONS and fulfill brighter DESTINIES!
Time really does fly when you’re having fun! This “second career” has been more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.
As I begin another school year, I wanted to give you an update on how the year has been so far. Plus give you a glimpse inside a typical day for me when I’m conducting assemblies.
Think of it as a behind-the-scenes tour, and you have VIP tickets.
Welcome to My World!
Even though my school year began later than usual (I normally begin speaking in August and didn’t conduct my first assembly this year until the Tuesday after Labor Day), it started with a bang!
Over the past two weeks, I’ve conducted 12 assemblies at five middle schools and high schools. And so far, I’ve spoken to over 2,000 students.
I often go into assemblies knowing that I’m speaking to a skeptical, if not hostile, crowd.
The first five minutes of an assembly can be pretty tough to ignore the students’ body language and facial expressions that indicate they don’t want to hear a word I have to say.
Fortunately, I don’t have to deal with that scenario for long and I’m able to win them over fairly quickly.
After one of my assemblies a week ago, a sixth-grade boy told me that he was really dreading my presentation and didn’t want to attend.
I smiled because it wasn’t the first time I’d heard that.
He then admitted that it wasn’t nearly as awkward as he expected and he actually learned a lot. Which I consider high praise.
After the same assembly, a teacher told me that her twin boys begged her not to make them attend.
I guess it’s a good thing I have thick skin. 😉 But after all these years, I’ve learned not to take students’ initial resistance personally.
Last Thursday I conducted four assemblies at a high school and once again, the students weren’t very open to listening to me.
I was speaking to health and PE students who would have much rather been outside walking the track with their earbuds in their ears or talking to their friends than sitting in an auditorium listening to a guest speaker.
And they made that fact very clear.
Right before I started, I heard comments like, “Oh my God, I’m so tired of adults talking to us about sex.” And, “I wish I had skipped class like my friend.”
To make matters worse, I had to kick off the assembly demanding that they put their phones away and take their earbuds out.
You should have seen their faces. You would have thought I was asking them to put away an oxygen tank or take out a breathing tube.
And I had to go through this scenario four times in one day. Can you see why I solicit your prayers?
Prayer Changes Things!
I know your prayers are working when I can see the students’ demeanor change and I can tell they realize what I have to say is worth listening to.
On Thursday, I watched the guy who had his hoodie over his head, remove his hoodie and sit up straight in his seat.
The girl who was rolling her eyes at the beginning of the assembly started to laugh at my jokes.
The guy who tried to sleep through the assembly eventually opened his eyes and began listening attentively.
I don’t take any of this for granted. Your prayers are appreciated!
Teens Prefer Their Talks Sugar-Free
On Friday, I picked up the students’ evaluations from the school where I spoke Thursday and was thrilled to see that the vast majority of them gave the presentation a high rating.
The most common positive comment they made was that they liked the fact that I kept it real and didn’t sugarcoat it.
One thing that is abundantly clear about this generation of teens?
They long for TRUTH. Even when it hurts.
And they don’t want the truth to be sugarcoated.
Those who know me personally, know that I’ve never been one to sugarcoat anything.
And I’m definitely not going to sugarcoat my message to teens when there’s so much at stake—their self-respect, sense of value/identity, reputations and even their very lives.
They need to know that the media, culture, and society have sold them a bunch of lies.
Lies that tell them:
- Sex is just a physical act.
- Oral sex isn’t sex.
- Everybody’s doing it.
- “Hooking up” is consequence-free.
And the list goes on and on.
For the rest of this school year, I’m committed to giving teens the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
So help me God.
When was a time you refused to sugarcoat the truth with your daughter, even though you knew it might hurt? How did she respond?
Feel free to leave your comments in the box below. I look forward to reading all of them.