5 days ago

Inspiring teenagers

"Sell cigarettes," the

"Sell cigarettes," the students chorused. "Sell them cheaper," said one. "No, more expensive," said another. Riccardo interrupted. "I saw that too, but there might have been serious problems for me, as a teenager, selling cigarettes at school, cheaper or more expensive than the corner shop." "Keep them in the loop about where the story is going; make it real for them," the inner voice prompted Riccardo. Riccardo continued his story, "The headteacher, in turn, expected the teachers to stop the children from going to the shop." Riccardo asked a rhetorical question, "How well do you think that was working out?" He paused to let the question land. "Not at all well," he revealed. He went on, "The teachers tried to close the school gates and keep everyone inside at lunchtime." After a moment, he asked, "How well do you think that was working out?" and paused so the students could imagine the effect. Ending the suspense, he said, "Not a chance. Kids found other ways of getting to the corner shop." After a pause, Riccardo proceeded."Some teachers spoke with the shopkeeper, begging him, ‘Please stop selling cigarettes to our children.’" He took a beat and surveyed the room. "How well do you think that was working out?" He waited, a halfsmile playing on his face. "The shopkeeper wanted to sell, to earn a living. He didn’t care who bought cigarettes." Riccardo added some details, "The teachers talked at assemblies about not buying cigarettes at the corner shop." He added the familiar refrain, "How well do you think that was working out?" 38

He answered his own question. "Even more kids wanted to go to the forbidden shop." Laughter ensued. "Who sees the business opportunity here?" asked Riccardo expecting a flock of hands by now. Dozens of hands thrust into the air. "What do you see?" he asked. "Sell sweets," several students called out. "I saw that opportunity too," Riccardo agreed. He continued, "I already believed I had permission to create a business. I believed I was capable of starting a business, or finding out how to do it along the way once I had gotten started. It felt like I was on a rollercoaster, going up." "They are on board with this story," the inner voice congratulated Riccardo. Riccardo continued narrating his tale. "My business idea was to sell sweets in school during the lunchtime break. It could solve the cigarette problem maybe." He threw another question at the audience, "What did I need to get started?" After a pause, he answered, "Sweets, yes, lots of them. eight hundred children were going to eat a lot of sweets." "Speed it up, sunshine," the voice told him. Riccardo pitched out more rhetorical questions, "What did I need to get the sweets?" Pause. 39

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