Today, while I was doing a presentation to a group of middle and high school aged children at the Winterberry Christian Academy on Marco Island, I was asked at the end by a student what I hoped to accomplish. He mentioned things like carbon footprints and a few other assorted items. After pointing out that my carbon footprint was pretty small, I did my best to answer the question. However, as the day progressed I kept going over and over the question and the myriad of answers that I could have provided. All of them would have been valid and important to me, but I had this nagging feeling that the answer was something else; that there was an answer that really went strait to the essence of what I was doing.
That is when it hit me. Beyond the personal side of my trip, the answer to the question was the question itself. You see, it is one of those really simple and yet profound answers and it was looking me right in the face. The answer is simply that I want the opportunity to be in front of kids, just like the one today, and have them ask me that question. So simple, so elegant, you see, you can preach all you want in life about this and that, but your odds of being heard are slim. You compete with all the other noise going on in the world, and especially in the world of today's youth. Videos, TV, Cell Phones, Texting, Email, the Web, etc., the list goes on and on.
But, and here is the beauty, if you can get a child to ask you a question, you have them. You might not have them for long, but you have them. You have engaged them, and caused them to think about things; caused them to use that brain and formulate a question; to actually listen to you before they ask the question and especially afterwards. So it is really that simple. Getting kids, and adults, to ask the question, allows me a brief moment in time to tell them what I am doing and what I think is important. It is then up to each person to choose if it is relevant to their lives and what, if anything they are then going to do with what they just heard.
I talk a great deal these days about simplicity, and this is just another wonderful example of the absolute beauty of simplicity. So, next time you want to be heard, find a way to have the question asked. You just might find that people then listen to what you have to say.
The Odyssey begins in 4 days, what is your question?