I was invited to a school to deliver a motivational talk to a group of preadolescent and adolescent youngsters. I regretted the invitation as soon I accepted it because school kids are a difficult proposition. Adults can be forgiving when you are boring, however a young school audience work with the assumption that you will be stale unless you produce hits like Sauti Sol or have a TV show like Jeff Koinange. I did not want to be preachy, with the usual work hard spiel, go to Harvard, be all you want to be.
Standing in front of the young audience, I started by announcing what I thought were ‘my cool’ credentials, ending up quoting the Fresh Prince, Will Smith from a song out of the 80s, “Parents just do not understand” a reference that only their parents would understand. Half the gathering was lost in thought, the other half, looking everywhere but at me and the few who were paying attention refused to laugh at my lame jokes. I kept it short and concluded by pleading with my young audience to share what was truly on their minds and not just want they thought their teachers wanted to hear.