Are you ever asked, “How do you know you are making a difference? How do you know your audience (or students) actually remembers your message?” Speakers in the education world and teachers particularly get this question a lot because so many people wonder if teens retain the messages being shared with them. Yesterday, audience members surprised me.
For the past week, my son was in the Northern Woods camping with his Boy Scout Troop (6 hours from our home). When he arrived home with his Troop, he began sharing all his great stories from the week (catching a 25″ Northern and getting the “Lumberjack” Award). In mid-sentence, he suddenly said, “Dad, try to guess what happened?”
“What?” I asked.
Son: “I got some free food and extra stuff from the store for free because they knew you.“
Me: “WHO knew me?“
Son: “The boys working in the store.“
Me: “Who were they?“
Son: “I don’t know. They saw my name ‘Domitrz’ and asked if I was related to you. When I said, ‘Yes,’ they talked about your program and how awesome it was. Then they gave me some stuff and EXTRA FOOD!!“
Me: “Were the boys from around here and working all the way up there for the summer?“
Son: “No, but they knew you.“
Me: “How old were they?“
Son: “High school age guys.“
While I’ve been blessed to hear stories of people seeing students wearing my “Can I Kiss You?” and “Want Some Action?” shirts in fun locations (Disney World, etc…), this quick conversation was soo much cooler. To know high school students in the middle of the Northern woods at a Boy Scout camp (6 hours away) KNEW MY NAME was the surprise. Had my son been wearing one of my shirts and these boys thought of the connection to me, I would have still have been pleasantly honored to know my audience had such a positive memory. To know they knew my LAST NAME was the shocker. They simply saw “Domitrz” and started talking to my son.
Neither I nor my son are the focus of this story. This small group of audience members get and deserve all the credit. Each of these young men made a CHOICE to open their minds and commit to change (not letting an important message be forgotten – even months after originally hear the concept). Regardless of what friends said, the entertainment world displayed before them, and their peers who tried to influence them otherwise, these students stuck to message they believed in! Kudos to each of them.
I only wish I had way to say, “Thanks” to each of them personally. Thanks for sharing with my son. Thanks for believing in a positive message.
Why do I share this quick story? With the amazing talent you possess, I know you have peers and/or audience members you never knew you impacted – those same individuals who are excited to tell others they heard you and want to spread the message. Here is to the blessings of being a speaker, educator, activist, and/or caring individual making an impact. Thank you for all you do to make this world a better place.