I have given many high school presentations and always trust that the idea of going to college and pursuing your dreams is the most important aspect of my motivational message. I want students to relate to this more then anything else. I do cover health choices and hope to sway students from drugs, violence and risqué behavior. Although these are relevant issues that most adolescents must contended with, my goal is always to provide a positive example and a viable alternative.
Recently, I gave a student assembly at a high school in Blythe, CA. After, a group of boys approached to show their appreciation for my message. They introduced themselves and we talked about the presentation. Most of the boys really enjoyed the directness of my delivery and how they can relate to the content. One boy in particular, struck me.
Although he enjoyed the presentation, he connected most to my experience of grow up with no parents. I describe how being a foster child; never having being able to say mama or papi, drove me to a place of despair. Hearing this young man say that his experience is similar and that he is currently finding his way through, left me perplexed. Sometimes being a role model is not always an easy thing. Especially when the students I am trying to inspire connect to one of the most difficult aspects of my childhood life.