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Relationships & Connection Matter

Relationships & Connection Matter

Horse eye

What an auditorium full of 8th graders taught me!

Today I stood in front of a group of 8th graders, about 80 of them, at Crosby-Ironton School. For an hour and a half! Sara’s Biggest Challenge, Challenge!

The goal of this presentation is to create connection. To let the kids realize they are not alone. To actually experience that connection. We talked about stories and how so often the stories we tell ourselves keep us isolated. We talked about healthy relationships and the value of authenticity. We learned about our thoughts and how powerful they are. And we talked about vulnerability and how freakin scary it is. We also learned that it is necessary to practice vulnerability if we truly want to connect to another human being.

At the end of the presentation I ask the kids to write down the biggest challenge they face today. I ask them to take me seriously and to answer the question honestly. It is always a scary moment for me. If they don’t step up and answer from the heart then my point is never made and basically the presentation is a flop. It is risky. And so so so worth it. Today they answered my challenge. They showed up. I had tears in my eyes as I anonymously read their responses.

Their challenges included death and drugs, fear and immense pressure to succeed, lack of food, athletic responsibilities, pressure to fit in, body image, safety and bullying.
This is about the 4th time I have given this specific presentation. I love the moment when the shift happens. When the room gets so quite (remember 80 8th graders) you could hear a pin drop. That’s connection. That’s authenticity. I can FEEL the armor drop away. Faces soften and hearts open. I ask them if they are surprised. Most say ‘yes’. I ask them if they might see their peers a little differently. Most say ‘yes’. That’s a win.

Connection changes lives. We have to be brave. Open. And Willing. We are not alone.

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