This week I enjoyed the privilege of speaking to my daughter’s third-grade class during “Teach In,” an event that invites working stiffs like me into the classroom to share insights into their chosen careers. Yours truly jumped at the chance to jabber about my gig as an executive speechwriter.
Going into it, I wasn’t sure what the reaction would be from these kids. Speechwriting probably isn’t something many of them even know about, much less aspire to do.
But … wow … these youngsters immediately took to my spiel with great interest and were absolutely wonderful to spend time with. They started asking questions right out of the gate. Good questions, too. And when I
took them through a little exercise, asking them to write a few lines about what they love most, I could see their brains kick into overdrive as they scribbled in their notebooks. Several of them had no qualms about standing up to deliver their “speeches.” What a smart and enterprising group!
As I wrapped up, I left them with a simple statement: Believe in the power of words. I told them that using the right words can inspire, persuade and make lasting emotional connections with people.
Just before leaving the classroom, I faintly overheard a few words that truly warmed my heart. A classmate said to my daughter, “Your dad is awesome!” And it got even better from there. When I arrived home from work that
evening, my daughter handed me a stack of 17 thank-you cards from her class, each with a handwritten note and some with elaborate drawings of cruise ships and Mickey Mouse (the fact that I work for Disney Cruise Line certainly gave me some kid cred).
"Thanks a ton for your fantastic presentation," one of the students wrote. "I really learned a lot, like how to write amazing speeches or how not to get upset if somebody doesn't like your speech." Ha, that's funny, kid!
After my time with these third-graders, I can honestly say that I believe in the power of words more than ever.