Kids and Speakers

Gail Davis, 25 May 2010

Nando Parrado says age 13 and above. Why? Ironically it is not the nutritional component of the story but rather the unsettling response from younger kids who have parents that travel for a living. Without the maturity to understand that the crash in the Andes was pilot error, some kids wake up at night in fear their parents will die in a crash. I know this from personal experience when I took Nando to my own sons’ local middle school. There is a reason we say 13 and above.

Kristina Wandzilak says age 13 and above. Why? She has some tough material. She is a mother of a 10 year old son. She would not discuss some of her material in front of her own son. We need to trust her judgment and honor her request for minimum of age 13. If not, she edits her comments and the entire audience gets a watered down presentation. Kristina also request that all parents read The Lost Years in advance and encourage the kids to read the book. That makes for a more meaningful experience and provides the platform for great dialogue between parents and children on the topic.

Cathleen LewisCathleen Lewis and her son, Rex Lewis-Clack , provide a great program for families. Cathleen requests 3rd grade and above. Why? Because Cathleen is a Rex’s mom, she knows that once children get into third grade they have been exposed to children with differences and can enjoy the music rather than be distracted by Rex’s blindness. Again, Cathleen knows what works.

Step #2: Ask yourself if the event format works for kids. Is it a school night? What time does it end? Will the children be eating the adult menu? If so, will they enjoy it and does that work for the budget? It is highly possible, young adults might prefer pizza in a separate room with an opportunity to discuss the speaker amongst their peers.

In the end, inviting families to experience a speaker together can be a great gift to your organization. It allows the entire family to not only connect in a meaningful way, but shows an investment in the employee or member’s family. Just be sure you follow these guidelines to ensure your event’s success.