I recently had an assignment to create what the prof called “my Big Idea”, something that would impact society and affect a social issue I felt strongly about. After much thought I decided that if all things are possible with God and a little help from me, then I was going to take this thing seriously and choose a topic I really cared about. Turned out to be teens.
It all started with a comment made by James Leman, a Christian psychologist and councilor. He said that research shows depression isn’t a major factor in teen suicide. Which started this red-head’s head thinking – what is? After a lot of prayer and a whole lot of research I came to the conclusion that I might know what might be. And it goes deeper than depression. Hopelessness.
Added to that, we then had to come up with a video by a person we respect, and create imaginary interview questions we’d ask them given half a chance. What fun! That being said, dear reader, you now have my mindset as I wrote this essay. I’d love anyone who stumbles upon this humble blog to tell me what you think of it. Here’s the essay word for word:
“How much fun will the law allow? I’m really not sure, but I am sure I enjoyed this assignment. A lot. I’ve never been much of a hater but I was sorely tempted when Megan took my first choice, “The Last Lecture”, by Randy Pausch. For the uninitiated I cannot say enough about how much it has impacted my life, the vid but more especially the book.
That being said, like Hollie I too could not decide between two men and two vids so I decided not to, and instead, write both inteviews.
FIRST INTERVIEW – with writer Mitch Albom
*Disclaimer – Mitch pauses an awful lot during his speeches, and I wasn’t sure how to take snippets I found meaningful and include them in a paper while at the same time preserving the impact of the speech. I chose to use hyphens.
Right from the start of the video Mitch has very open body language, with his eyes, hands, attitude, even his tone. I suspect the cuteness factor helps him considerably in connecting with his audience. He’s animated, enthusiastic, smiles a lot, uses humour in his speech. I for one have always found passion very enticing. Mitch obviously respects both his subject and his audience; he is very clear about his message. “Don’t spend all day on you… and you… and you… Your huge list of accomplishments will pale in comparison to somebody else’s… but that one thing, that you have, that make you uniquely different than anyone else on the planet – your voice – you didn’t spend any time – giving away. You were too – busy. It’s in every – little – moment – that you share of yourself – with somebody else. If you really want to put together… a good life, a meaningful life, a full life, it’s going to be in every little moment – that you share your heart– with somebody else.” Giving of yourself. Loving others. Using every moment you’ve been given to make a difference you in the life of another. What a revolutionary concept. I cannot say for sure if it stems from the fact that he went on to write several books on people’s last days on earth or if it was solely Morrie who inspired him, because at the time of this video he had, in fact, done just that.
Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie – the story of Morrie Schwartz, a man suffering with Lou Gehrig’s disease
1. You’ve written many books, but for our purposes today I’d like to focus on the small book, “Tuesdays with Morrie”. Teen suicide is at an all-time high right now in society – if you could share one thing with our youth that you learned from Morrie, what would it be?
2. Now you know more about what Lou Gehrig’s disease does to the body, what do you think people can do to help ease the suffering it causes?
3. Your professor obviously affected your life in your younger days. Since he’d lived his life and learned many lessons, he was able to share more of that wisdom toward the end. Do you feel he had more impact during his battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease than he did as a college professor?
4. Many people old and young are afraid of the unknown. I’m sure you thought about your own mortality as you walked this journey with Morrie. Do you believe death is something to be feared, or celebrated?
In case you’re interested in seeing the movie made from the book, here’s the link:
SECOND INTERVIEW – with motivational speaker Nick Vujicic
Over many years I’ve met many self-proclaimed “motivational speakers” who, in truth, have very little of value to share. They hype up their knowledge and their worth; it left an ugly taste in my mouth. I had even lost respect for the profession in general. Then, I met a man from Melbourne, Australian. Named Nick. Through youtube. Nick is the epitome of what motivation truly means to me. Once you get past the initial shock factor and start to hear his words you realize the wealth of wisdom in one so very young. It’s hard to express just how powerful this video is to me, even now, watching it for the umpteenth time. Born with something called phocomelia, he has, in the words of Peter Overton, “developed a sink or swim approach to life”. It may not genetic, but it is a challenge.
Comfortable with his own skin, Nick makes fun of his handicap and you can tell it’s genuine. He’s aware of his limitations, he just doesn’t let it stop him from doing what he wants in life. He made a Habit For Humanity infomercial where he says, “You can lend a hand, even if you have none.” He’s gone sky-diving, learned golf, even got married – they recently had a baby. How can you not love a guy like that?!!
Humour is a major lynchpin in his speeches. Often self-deprecating but always real, Nick shares his story with gentleness and conviction. “How did I get from depressed to where I am today? Because I tell you, I was depressed.” Such openness and honesty is a rare thing these days. He had every reason in the world to be depressed. But he refused to stay that way. Suicidal as a teen, he shares his tales openly, no holes barred. No wonder teenagers connect with him. “I don’t care how big your step is, you can only take one step at a time.” How utterly profound. Yes, we can all take steps, however small, and we can start today. Nick ends this vid with the sobering words, “choices… are yours.”
Nick Vujicic – DVD Clip from No Arms, No Legs, No Worries – Jr. High Talk
1. You’ve developed such a gift of connecting with people. What’s your secret?
2. What is the one thing you’re most proud of in life?
3. I’ve met few people who have touched the soul as you have. Do you believe a person has to go through pain to be able to touch another so deeply?
4. You’ve done so much, and I can’t think of anything else you could possibly have on your bucket list. So tell me, what’s next?
Just in case you’re still reading:
In his own words, “because I don’t have arms and legs to supply oxygen to, I can actually hold my breath longer than the average – er, 2 minutes 13 seconds.” How random is that? When he surfaced after doing a back-flip into a pool during a 60 Minutes documentary, his first words were, “I can’t feel my legs…” Like I said, he’s very comfortable in his own skin.
As an FYI, he even went surfing… check out minute 8.26… too too cute!
In case you’re still reading and interested, a few more quotes and vid links:
“I’m goin’ out on a limb…” Again, how can you not love the guy?
“We’re all going thru something, just my pain is a bit more visible than yours… No arms, no legs, no worries mate!” I would agree with him when he says he’s achieving more things than the average 25 year old. The ability to laugh at his lot in life is infectious. Who do you know that has sprained what he calls his “chicken-foot” playing soccer? And then says, “I wanna reach the world. I really do.” I pray he does.
Seriously. I want to know what you think. All I ask is that it’s G-rated. Leave an email address and I’ll even respond. I promise.
Kari, the passionate
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