9 months ago

Inspiring teenagers

He mimicked surprise,

He mimicked surprise, "Who? No, I didn’t know either." There was a shared laugh from many in the audience. Riccardo put on the ‘Young Enterprise Guy’ costume in his mind, adjusted an invisible tie, straightened an imaginary suit, and paraded across the front of the assembly room, saying, "So, this guy in a suit from Young Enterprise was walking up and down the school stage talking about how to start a business." Riccardo adopted a voice that he felt sounded like the Young Enterprise Guy, and paraded across the stage parroting, "For those of you who are interested in starting your own business, we can help you with business plans, financing, and everything you need, blah blah blah." At the end of the stage, looking back where he pretended to be the Young Enterprise Guy prancing and speaking, Riccardo adopted the posture of his teenage self again. "I was listening to him, sort of. But I wasn’t really interested. In my head there were thoughts about studying at high school, looking at the girls, looking forward to the start of lessons, looking at the girls, and making new friends; and girls. Did I mention girls? I was a bit distracted." There came a different laugh than the one before, mostly boys. Riccardo’s energy intensified. "But somehow, through all the boring information about business plans and financing; through the swirling emotions about new friends and girls, I heard something that caught my attention." Pointing to where the Young Enterprise Guy had swaggered, Riccardo described the final scene. "The Young Enterprise Guy came to the part of his talk about choosing a job after high school." Changing his voice and posture to mimic the Young Enterprise Guy again, he asked, "Who already knows what they want to do for work when they finish high school?" 34

Adopting once more the confused and lost facial expression from the beginning of his story, Riccardo shared his feelings in that moment, "I went blank. I panicked inside. It was like I was on a roller-coaster going downhill fast. I did not know. I did not know what job I wanted to do after high school." In response, a ripple of roller-coaster emotion ran through the room. Riccardo paused long enough for the shared feeling of panic to subside before he continued, "I had looked for summer jobs, because my parents wanted me to get one. I knew something about the kinds of jobs that were available to teenagers." He spoke with emphasis, "I. Was. Not. Interested. None of the jobs that I knew about interested me. I did not know what job I wanted to do that summer, or after high school." Now as his adult self, Riccardo revealed, "Then the Young Enterprise Guy said some magic words that changed my life completely." Adapting his voice to imitate the Young Enterprise Guy again, Riccardo intoned, "If you cannot find what you are looking for, you can create it." Slowly and almost in a whisper, Riccardo repeated the words in his own voice, "If you cannot find what you are looking for, you can create it." "He was saying that you could create whatever job you wanted to do. You can. You have permission. It is okay to say no to the jobs that are available; it is okay to make a job for yourself." Riccardo paused to allow time for that message to sink into the minds of the listening audience before continuing. "That was news! The roller-coaster ride reached the bottom of the fall and lurched upwards. I felt like I was flying." 35

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