This week kicked off my fall speaking tour. Kim went wild this summer and has gotten me almost completely booked through March of next year. I’m looking forward to it as a way to hopefully inspire and encourage some folks, and get the word out about Kim & Jason (the never ending assignment). Yesterday was a marathon day in terms of range of audience. I was at a Catholic school in Waunakee, Wisconsin, and spoke to the children in Kindergarten all the way up to sixth grade. As you might imagine, that requires a little bit of a different take for each age group. The little ones have a short attention span and like to tell lots of stories. Mostly stories about things completely unrelated to the topic at hand. On the other hand, they’re the easiest to make laugh. Draw Stinky with a little “stink” coming off of him and they’re rolling in the aisles. When you get up to the fifth and sixth graders, you get to be a little more advanced with the terminology and technique. They’re still really into drawing, and they get really excited about it. At the end of my talk, when they get to practice drawing using their newfound techniques, they always put a lot of effort into it. By the end of the day when I leave the school, kids are waving to me in the halls. It’s great to be a cartoonist. Or should I say, it’s great to be a cartoonist that gets to wind up the kids and then leave for somewhere calm and quiet. Kind of like your unmarried uncle. I came back to the school in the evening to do a presentation for high school seniors who are preparing for confirmation. They had their sponsors with them, so that pushed my age range of the day from five years old to approximately sixty-five years old. Quite the spectrum. I was able to utilize an LCD projector they had, so that helped add a little color to the presentation. I’d really be interested in acquiring one of those babies if not for the fact that they cost several thousand dollars. (If anyone is looking to unload a nice quality used projector, you know where to find me.) After the long day was over, Kim and I stopped at Perkins to split some onion rings. She remarked at how impressed she was that I am so comfortable doing such a large age range. I do know that to be successful with any group, you need to do a good job relating to them and where they’re at. To be honest, I’ve never really thought about it, but since I am now, I think it’s just how God made me. I remember that when growing up, I was able to relate pretty well to people of all ages. I was one of those nerds who got along with the teachers as well as I got along with my friends. And I was able to blend into almost any clique in high school fairly well. It’s a neat gift that I didn’t really know I had, or at least one I never knew would be of any use. Truth be told, it’s really hard for me to say what type of group I like best, although 8th graders would be a the end of the list – they have the tendency to be too cool for themselves. When I work in schools, I’m not sure who enjoys the presentations more, me or the kids. But when I’m presenting with adults, there’s a lot less crowd control that needs to happen and I can be way more involved in what I’m talking about. All in all, it’s just a really great gig. And I am grateful that God has given me the opportunity to connect and meet with so many interesting people. I can only anticipate that there is much of the same ahead, so I should have plenty of time to come up with even more ways to crack up kindergartners.
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