“Are there any questions?”
“Yeah, this isn’t really related but has anyone ever told you that you look like Conor McGregor?”
Today I spoke with an eighth grade class at a local school, about faith and sobriety. This question came after about forty minutes of personal story telling and honest discussion.
I couldn’t help but laugh. But that is the reality. Our youth are capable of changing the world, providing insightful critique, and even chipping in to help raise their siblings.
They’re also capable of making a 33 year old who just shared some of his greatest successes and failures, with a room full of eighth graders, absolutely crack up laughing because of an off the wall question.
It is equally inspiring and frightening to think about this balance.
I was speaking to this age group because it was in their grade when I was first introduced to drinking. I feel strongly that we need to have conversations with our youth about some grown-up things, like drug and alcohol use and abuse.
When I was younger, I thought I had all the answers and I thought I was ready to be mature. I made futile attempts to lie to my parents and at times turned away from their guidance and support.
When we are young, many times our actions can be chalked up to immaturity, but some have grown up consequences.
As an adult, occasionally I’ll trick myself and fall right back into that immaturity – thinking I have all the answers, turning away from help, only to realize that I (obviously) do not.
Over the course of the talk, I noticed the students were listening intently, trying to figure out if I was legit or not, trying to figure out if they could trust me.
I noticed that, and I stopped.
I said, “Listen I know this is my story, it isn’t yours, but through sharing, we learn about one another and grow. Even if one person goes home and takes something from this, it was worthwhile.”
Driving home, happy with how it went and energized by the experience, I realized I need to keep doing this. I need to because there’s already one person who has benefitted, the guy who apparently looks like Conor McGregor.