Baseball Bats and Students… May 2017

I have presented to many high schools since I began this public speaking quest – Fall 2016.  Ever since I started, I have been struggling to understand how the high schooler brain works.  Believe it or not, I was a high schooler at one time.  I was that young guy who sat in the back of the class and thought he was invincible – took way too much for granted.  Hindsight is 20/20…right?  There were actually several people who came and spoke to our school classes about the dangers of unsafe driving.

When I go to schools now, one of my first powerpoint slides is titles: “How do I get through to you guys?”  This is the slide where I walk through the crowd (carrying a baseball bat) and sincerely asking how to get the kids to understand that this is real?  I begin by showing the students a short 4 minute video which is on this website – the one in the video section at the bottom of the main page.  This is a heart wrenching video about a girl (who I know) that lost both of her parents as a result of a distracted driver on his cell phone.  Reactions before and after meeting this girl are priceless and really drives home the issue that people really don’t connect distracted driving to destroying lives.

I first ask the students if I need to scare them in order for them to understand.  I have plenty of bloody pics and videos of horrible car crashes that I could show if that would help them understand.  I next ask the kids if making them sad / on the verge of tears would help them understand that the dangers are real.  The students look at each other  – not knowing how to respond.  Then I pick up an aluminum baseball bat that I like taking to my presentations.  “Do I need to beat you all with this baseball bat?” “The administration would get very upset with me and I would probably be arrested and spend a long time in jail – but if it helps get this idea through to you all, I would be inclined to do this.” (I wouldn’t really do it)  But this exchange really emphasizes that importance of getting through to the kids.  Even if I speak for 45 minutes to the kids, it is not worth anything if I am not able to get through to them in some way shape or form.

If you have any additional ideas, please shoot me an email! I just finished school for the Spring semester – I have a lot of time this summer to improve me presentations!

– Ben

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