Just Put Me In Front Of ‘Em

June 5, 2013 — 6 Comments

Today I had the pleasure of speaking to about sixty second-graders.  IT WAS AWESOME.  I gave my talk about how being different is awesome and how each of them is awesome in their own way.  I showed one video (the jumping rope one) during my presentation and they liked it so much they basically begged to see more after the Q&A time…so we watched a couple more (including the basketball one where they clapped every time I made a basket)!  I also juggled a couple of my LOH stress relief cubes and then, at the suggestion of my beautiful wife, had a couple volunteers try it.  Then I gave them each a cube for their efforts.

Let me tell you a couple of my favorite parts and then wrap-up with a more serious thought.

My favorite question was from a little girl who asked, “Do you like Downton Abbey?”  I wanted to shout, “FREE BATES!” but instead just told her that was an AMAZING question.

Then this exchange happened between me and another little girl:

“When I was little, I used to tell other kids that a shark bit it off,” I said.

A little girl’s hand shoots up and I call on her.

“My grandma got bit by a shark once,” she said.

“What?  For real?”


“Where does she live?”

“Rhode Island.”

“And…was she ok?”

“Well, I mean, she’s still alive.”

I don’t know if any of what she told me is true, but I love it.

Cinderella was very eager.

Cinderella was very eager.

Another young lady asked, “How did you get married?”

“Well, there was this girl…” I started.


When they asked my favorite character from a book, I said Ender Wiggin and some of the kids were SO happy with that answer.  One of them goes, “So, I assume Minecraft is your favorite video game then.”  That kid ruled.


So, as you can see, we had a wonderful time.  Besides the laughs, the kids also had some insightful things to say.  They seemed to embrace the idea that our differences make us awesome, too, which was cool to be a part of.

And here’s the deal…I was hesitant to write this post because it felt a little overdramatic.  I mean, am I going to write about every time I speak?  Trust me, I’m not.  But, this was only the second time I had the opportunity to stand in front of students who were not my own kids.  And it confirmed that I need, and want, to do more of it.  More of this standing-in-front-of business.  Because really, that’s all it takes for these kids.  They got to hangout with me, a guy with one hand, and see that there’s more to a person than just their difference.  They got to see a guy with a difference doing things they do, too.  They got to ask questions.  They got to laugh and feel comfortable.

And while I’m not challenging them to overcome insurmountable odds, I think trying to help them see their value is just as important.

And just as awesome.


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I'm a husband, a father, an author, a speaker, a friend...all kinds of things, actually.

6 responses to Just Put Me In Front Of ‘Em

  1. Sara (Francios) Schauf June 5, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    I don’t know much about your story, but I’m inspired by your last big, ehich I read through Kim Frisch FB post. I went to high school with her and Dean. Go you travel? Would you come and speak to our elementary school in Sparta? What do you charge? I’m do inspired by your inspiration to do business around bring awesome. Do you speak to adults as well? May God continue to bless you, and the work you do!

  2. Have been reading your blog for about a year now…
    I would love to arrange to have you speak at my son’s future elementary school…
    He is only 4, another full year of preschool ahead, but I think it would eventually be great to have you speak at one of our fine Berkeley public schools- whichever one he gets placed in!
    Perhaps sometime before that there will be the opportunity for you and Jimmy to meet… we have family in Madison, and get out there on occasion. I have also been thinking about making a little vacation out of the Helping Hands Annual East Coast picnic… we’ll see!
    Keep up the good work!
    -Kerstin Fischer, Berkeley CA

    • Thank you so much for reading, Kerstin! PLEASE let me know when you are in the area – it would be so cool to meet you and Jimmy! And I’d absolutely love to get out to Berkeley to speak – definitely keep in touch. 🙂

  3. …and yet again you remind me why I LOVE you so much Ryan! – (Don’t panic!.. of the sisterly, proud of you, love variety!)

  4. “But, this was only the second time I had the opportunity to stand in front of students who were not my own kids. And it confirmed that I need, and want, to do more of it.”

    Yep, that’s what it feels like. Keep doing more of that 🙂

    Great job!

  5. I think your blog is amazing and inspiring. My husband and I just had our son, and he’s missing his left forearm. I want to be strong for him and teach him he is awesome and to embrace his difference. Any words if advice?

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