A common message I try to teach kids at schools is that parents and kids need to have an open discourse about bullying and stress. Kids need to know that they can talk to their parents about anything, BUT, and this is key, if they don't feel comfortable about a certain topic, here is a list of people that you can talk to. Having that social network in place before something terrible happens is key to surviving. Talk to your parents or kids and come up with a plan. Don't wait for stress or bullying to build up to where someone feels too trapped to do anything other than act out against themselves or someone else.
Having Pneumonia and being forced to lay in bed for a week has given me the time to revamp my website and to start building a larger fanbase. It is another example of taking the opportunity to succeed. What many people don't know is that when I started writing the first Doodles book, I did so while holding a screaming baby in one hand and my phone in the other. I would painstakingly type one letter at a time on my phone and then email it to myself and edit on my computer. Ninety percent of my book was written on my phone, a task that was no easy feat. This serves as a real life example that if you want to succeed, no matter what obstacles or responsibilities you have, you can make it happen. I was able to multi task and find a way to pursue my book while still being a good father and taking care of my kid.
When I first reached out to a school to speak I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't know how much to charge, what to do or say in presentations, and there were butterflies in my stomach. After my first talk, I discovered I had a natural speaking ability. I was able to blend comedy into my talks and had a strong ability to read my audience. The kids were engaged and learned a lot. It was the best feeling in the world to know that I had made a difference. Now I get fan email, schools reaching out to me to come talk, and know that I am spreading inspiration and education to kids all over the country. Entire classrooms and schools are reading my books. I never thought I would make it this far and hope that this wonderful journey never ends!