Working with children is not only hugely rewarding but also brings with it the greatest learning experiences. If you want to learn about where you are in terms of your own personal development – go work with children!
A few weeks ago I was asked to give an inspirational talk to some teens at a referral unit. These teens are there because they have been excluded from school or have had a complete disinterest in school. Last Wednesday was the day I had to give the talk and I decided to not plan too much in advance and only to plan my key points and deliver my talk as free flowing as possible.
I realised afterwards that it was probably not the best approach. Something I’ve learned from doing stand-up comedy is that the key to be able to improvise and maintain that sense of control while doing it is to be fully versed in what you’re going to say. I learned it the hard way but it was a great lesson to learn. I also found other areas where I was lacking in that children, in order to remain engaged, need plenty of humour and information that sparks the imagination; nothing too challenging, just enough that it gets them thinking!
The key message of my talk to make it clear to them that they all had a unique gift. They may not have discovered it yet but it is most certainly there! I shared my story of how I left school with virtually no qualifications and yet today I have branched out into several different areas and along the way I’ve tried a variety of different things. I’ve decided for next time that I’m going to include more of my talents including magic and comedy. Magic is something I haven’t done for a long time but I recently decided to take it up again for this very purpose.
I remember now that in order to pull of a magic trick with confidence it requires an immense amount of practise and once perfected then, and only then, should it be performed. During the course of the trick because you have thorough practised the trick you no longer have to think about doing it. You could do it with your eyes closed and while frying an egg! 😆 If you can get to that stage small distractions don’t matter you unconsciously go through the processes that you need to do in order to complete the illusion.
What I learned is that speaking to teenagers requires a very similar principle and the key is being well versed and getting plenty of practise. What I also got from there day is that there is much work to be done. My goal there was not to change them, it was to empower them. It was for them to awaken to the fact that they do have gifts and if utilised they can go on to do amazing things no matter their level of education.
I know that this will be the first of many talks that I’ll be giving to children over the coming month/years and if you are responsible for a group of youngsters and would like me to come and give an entertaining, inspiring, fun and challenging talk then please do get in touch with me and I will do my absolute best to accomodate your requirements.