Speaking with students is a prospect filled with questions: Will they be interested? Will I sound relevant? Is my topic “cool” enough? Is the word “cool” still “cool?” As I get older I find I look at youth and wonder if they go through the things I went through. Or have computers and social media changed us all so dramatically that it’s impossible for us to relate to each other?
I was fortunate to be asked to speak at the TEDx Youth Conference last November and my 17 year old son Theodore attended the presentation. I had ten precious minutes to get everyone to think about plants and why they are important to us. My kids know me…they understand my passion for all things sustainable and green and my drive to increase planted areas in urban settings. So I wasn’t so concerned about what to talk about at TEDx from their standpoint….but I was concerned about how their peers would take my desire for everyone to jump on the greening bandwagon, from my perspective.
I was asked to make my talk personal…not so easy for me but I jumped in, wrote my talk and practiced and practiced…so much practice for so few minutes of their attention. Would I strike a chord? Would a room full of teens and eventually an online audience of practically everyone be understanding of my message? The talk went well. I hit the right timing with my images of green roofs, living walls, edible walls and rooftop farms. The message seemed to resonate… They liked me. They really liked me!
I find I am less concerned with what everyone thinks these days and more concerned with how we all FEEL about something. For me, living plants are my passion. I am a Dad, a business-owner, a student of life and now a speaker to a big audience. I hope you enjoy the video. It is 100% me, pure and simple and honest.