10 months ago

Inspiring teenagers

"Well, forty years ago,

"Well, forty years ago, it was unusual for a teenager to have a bank account. Unless they had money. I had money." Riccardo winked at the audience. "So I went to the bank!" He eyed the students in the front row. "Is my bank manager here?" No one volunteered, so Riccardo continued the story alone. "I went to the bank and asked to open an account. They said I needed permission from my parents." Looking down at the first actor, Riccardo included him without bringing him onstage. "Daaaad. Could you sign this piece of paper please?" The student pretended to sign in the air. "I still remember the look on my dad’s face. After six months I had made quite a profit. I had quadrupled the money he had given me." Riccardo waved four fingers in the air to illustrate his point. He was now standing in the middle of the stage, calm, comfortable, and a little tired but elated. It was getting near the end of his time with these students, and Riccardo wanted to check if he had had any effect. He put on his teacher voice and asked, "What, if anything, does this story mean to you?" He invited the students to speak to the person next to them for a few minutes, and a dull roar filled the room. After three minutes, Riccardo brought the students’ attention back to the assembly room. He asked, "How many of you feel it is more likely that you will possibly start your own business?" More than half the students raised their hand. An invisible, warm hand patted Riccardo on his back. "Well done. "Well done. Very well done," his inner voice congratulated him. "Then my work here is done. Thank you for listening," Riccardo said to the audience, and then, saluting the two actors, lovingly added, "and thank you for playing along." 46

Melissa stood up and thanked Riccardo. Then she dismissed the students and, within ten minutes, the Assembly Room was silent again. Melissa, and the other teachers had lessons to attend to and no time to speak with Riccardo. It was very much what Riccardo wanted to do right now, talk about what had just happened. That’s what he always wanted to do after such performances. After he had opened himself, spread out his wings across the stage, shared his experiences, his heart, his hopes. He had connected with a hundred teenagers and shared with them the joy of creating your own. Right now he was a kite without a string, fallen to earth. He fluttered his wings in an effort to fold them around himself again, like an overcoat against the cold, empty room. Riccardo slowly packed his bags, glanced around at the empty Assembly Room, and trudged towards the door, with a knowing smile on his face. Well done, very well done. Time to recover, recharge and regenerate. Two weeks later, Riccardo received the following written feedback from the students: I thought the lecture was very good. The best leadership is to be clear and a little playful, firmly in a good way. It makes it more interesting for us youngsters who find it hard to sit still. Good facts and content. He was very good at presenting and capturing the interest. It was easy and fun to listen. Has been fun listening. Had been fun if he told me more about his company, what he sold and HOW he sold. Thought the lecture was good and he spoke very interesting things! I think it was very good. It became interesting because he was very passionate about his profession and what he worked with. He also offered a lot about himself! 47

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