Yesterday was my amazing husband's birthday and he took the day off, not to lay around the house and be waited on, but to cheer me on and keep me calm before a TV interview and then to take our entire family on an eight hour round-trip journey for me to speak to an amazing high school book club~ the Stomping Stangs book club at S. Effingham High School.
They were AWESOME! I loved every minute of my time with the teachers and students. My kiddos and husband did too.
Other than having my family with me when I speak, one of my favorite parts of the writing life is encouraging people and challenging them to live their dreams. I love talking to teenagers especially because they ask far tougher questions and challenge me to go deep. So I started off my time at SEHS with a little talk about living a dream.
In practice, it was about a five minute speech. But it took about thirty because this group interacted with my questions and gave some amazing answers. Here's a snippet of the talk:
There are tons of people in this world who want to be famous. In fact, we’re a culture of celebrity stalkers and American Idol followers. But the sad fact is it’s tough to live a dream. Even harder to stay the course 'till achieving that dream.
If you’re going to be one of those who gives their all and sticks it out, there are a few things to take with you on the journey.
Living a dream takes passion. Not just the “I want to be famous” hope but something deep down inside that burns hot and spurs you on to keep at it. Know what you love and do it with everything you are.
Living a dream also takes hard work and sacrifice. It means giving up something you want for something you want even more.
Living a dream also takes a community. My writing mentor says two things that stick with me in everything I do. First, she said to bleed into your work. Give all you are to the work, be honest and pour yourself out. People will be inspired by that.
Second, she said to pull someone else up. I didn’t get to live my dream without a number of folks standing with me, encouraging me, and helping me keep going. So I need to turn around and help someone else on their journey.
You can achieve your dreams and leave a mark on this world for good. Each one of you has special gifts and talents that are unique to you, gifts and talents this world needs. So go after your dream, but go into it prepared.
Do something you have a passion for. Be willing to work hard. And don’t go it alone.
My challenge to the students and teachers who were there and also to the rest of you who weren't... what's your heart's message and how do you share it with the world around you?
Like the amazing students I spoke with yesterday, you too have gifts and talents our world needs. How will you share the passion Christ put in you with others?