Our Intermediate Division walked down to our local high school for a presentation today. There were 4 other feeder schools there with their 7s and 8s as well so you can imagine the audience. We really didn’t know what we were in for but were open to hearing a good message. Since it was “anti-bullying week”, we figured the assembly would address that. We were presented with a multi-media production from a group of twentysomethings who sang, danced, and acted out a variety of skits around that topic. It was all very entertaining.
Then this guy who was older than the others addressed the audience – he spoke for a good 45 minutes or so and shared his story of being bullied, bullying, using drugs, alcohol, going to prison, and all the challenges that went with a lifestyle he struggled with and eventually overcame. He shared his story. He also posed a lot of questions to our kids – questions about bullying, drinking, drugs, eating disorders, and other things that teens do to cope with life’s stressors.
It was an OK presentation but I questioned whether it was worth the money spent bringing the presenters in. I felt I’d seen productions that were just as good from our local high school’s drama students who write, produce and take their anti-bullying play on the road annually to our board’s elementary schools.
I just hoped the kids wouldn’t think the presentation was too lame, too ‘in your face’ or too whatever. I honestly didn’t think their view would be that positive.
Boy was I wrong. Those kids were impacted. The presenters knew their target audience, and for reasons beyond my understanding, hit the mark. And I definitely made an assumption that missed the mark and learned a valuable lesson today. Never assume that your own take on something is a one size fits all viewpoint that everyone else shares. You’d probably be wrong.