I recently spent a few days in Texas speaking to several groups of youngsters aged 12 to18, but worry clouded my excitement. Do kids even listen to guys my age anymore? I toiled over what to do to keep their attention. Should I mention Tic Tok? Or maybe even make fun of their teachers? These both sounded like bad ideas, so I continued to think.
You see, I was invited to speak in Texas to promote my book, reach out to kids about doing good in life, and meet with administrators to discuss the best ways to do the most good in the world. Big topics, not to be completed in such a short time frame, but it was rewarding nonetheless.
I finally decided to do what works best on me. I asked them questions and then told them a story. People like questions because it engages them and gives them something to ponder. People also like true stories because they provide a gauge to compare with their own lives. Furthermore, I wanted to shock them. So, right away I mentioned prison, cocaine, and mental health. This combination seemed to push these talks off in a direction that benefited my audience's attention span.
The talks were a success and the administrators all mentioned how well behaved the kids were and that they heard them chatting about my words in the hallways afterwards. My goal was to impart some knowledge of making good decisions in life, and that even decisions you make at young age can have lasting affects. The redemption part of my story was also important to let kids know that making good on the wrongs we have comitted can be righted, with the appropriate efforts.
Busy week and productive results.
That being said, I am reminded of where I was a year ago this week when my grandmother was close to passing away. We all spent our last Holiday season together in 2020. She was a fantastic woman who lived every day to it fullest. Her grace coupled with her love for people has definately spilled over into her daughters and now her grandchildren.
Grams Pat gave all of us grandchildren boxes of mixed roasted nuts for Christmas that year. They were from a store called the Nifty Nut House in Wichita, Kansas. My brother, Tyler, and I looked at eachother when we opened our gifts in unison and smiled broadly. LIke it had been planned, we giggled and started a chant to thank Grams. "NIFTY NUTS! NIFTY NUTS! NIFTY NUTS!" we exclaimed and the whole family joined in. It was silly, buy joyful in its holiday splendor.
Next, my brother and I picked up our grams, each holding a leg and setting her on our shoulders. The chant continued. Everyone didn't know whether to help her down, continue to cheer, or scold us for this bold attempt at jovial fun. So, for the next minute or so we held grams high, and continued to chant. "NIFTY NUTS! NIFTY NUTS! NIFTY NUTS!"
My mother's, aunt's, and grandmother's eyes looked scared, excited, worried, and happy all at the same time. After a moment, it crossed my mind that Grams Pat might have a heart attack, what with the roaring laughter and noise. My brother and I gently put her back on the earth and the whole room erupted with laughter. Grams looked a bit worried and worn out, but she knew that this was a moment that everyone would remember for the rest of their lives.
Her life was to end shortly after this occasion, but we have nothing but fond memories of Grams. You cannot live life without death ending it, one of the few truths we all endure. But death is not a sad situation, it is the passing on to another part of existence. When I am about to die, I will feel sorry for the humans still left on the planet that must keep living in this dimensional plane. For I, in all my glory, will be meshing with the light of the universe, just like a glass of water being poured into the ocean.
Thank you Grams Pat, for the memories, the steadfast support, and your love that continues today. Happy Heavenly Holidays!
With this in mind, I live every day full and pushing on. On to the next thing...