Yesterday I did one of many school talks to an assembly full of vibrant, smart, engaged young people who all made me feel very welcome.
I covered self-esteem, self-awareness, mental fitness, being non-judgmental, resilience, compassion and the power of positivity and the impact of how having all of this can help you through some challenging times in life you may or may not face.
But yesterday's group was different and here is why...
Every single time I go to a school I'm always impressed by the level of attention they all afford what I'm saying and the incredible questions they ask. Young people are so wonderfully bright and I love the way their young minds think compared to the way my own mind works for example. I also feel often they are not given enough credit for just how smart, compassionate, respectful and thoughtful they all are. Each and every one of my school talks makes me feel very honoured to have met them.
It also fills me with joy, hope and confidence knowing they are the leaders/ teachers/parents of our future generations as they all have a huge thirst for knowledge and question everything. They are harvesting all they can by utilising all resources given to them to help shape them into even more inspiring adults. Who will then do the same for the next generations too.
I hope that the talks will give them the gift of foresight and help them understand some emotional / mental challenges they may face along the way. With the confidence and knowledge that it's normal and also ok to sometimes feel different, anxious or scared. We all feel this at some point in our lives - some more than others and on varying levels too.
With the right tools and positive outlook and attitude and also keeping your self-esteem intact they can get through those times unscathed hopefully.
Also in each school there could be some questions and often after the talk there are many messages seeking further guidance. It's always good to get these messages as I can then signpost the person in the right direction for the help or assistance they require.
The difference with the talk yesterday - it was the youngest group I've ever spoken to so therefore had no idea of how they would react to what I was saying as there can be challenging subjects. Albeit I do tailor the talks to be age and subject appropriate.
However I was even more impressed by their very pragmatic approach and also the level of complex questions they asked with huge confidence and curiosity.
Even more of a surprise was the fact it was the young boys/men with the most questions. Predominantly it's the young girls/ ladies who are the first to ask. But yesterday was very different.
It was fantastic to see and I hope the way things are going to be going forward in society. Hopefully it shows young men are not scared to talk about their emotions and feelings - hiding them all as was the way in the past. Men where not seen as 'real men' or were 'weak' if they cried or sought help. Thankfully times are changing as are so many antiquated views.
One tip I did give them was at the end of the day if they are feeling a bit down or sad - get a piece of paper and write what we affectionately call a 'shit sandwich' this made them laugh... write down a very positive thing that happened - then a negative - then another positive. It will reinforce the fact that we all have bad days, however positivity and goodness always comes out on top.