Anyway, we just met up to have a coffee and share some conversation. At some point, Danny looked at me and asked, “What are you doing this afternoon?” In the spirit of unemployment, I responded that I was pretty busy but that I might be able to squeeze something in. I asked him what he had in mind and he shared that he was teaching a Media and Communications course at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in the afternoons and asked if I would be a special guest in one of the classes. I happily accepted the invitation.
Danny picked me up on his scooter around 1:30. Yep, I was strapped on the back of his scooter heading through Upper Georgetown. Thank goodness nobody caught a picture of me looking ridiculous trying to figure out where to put my hands and feet.
The school is very different than the school that I attended. Students seemed to be treated much more like adults. The far wall was covered in books. The chairs were set up in the shape of a circle. The room itself was rather different. Picture a room that has an opening to another room on one side and along the other side a wall that didn’t go all the way to the ceiling allowing discussion in the adjacent room to be heard.
The ninth graders started trickling in and several came in and politely introduced themselves to me.
Danny started his class and later introduced me. I took a ten dollar bill out of my Moleskine notebook and showed it to the class and asked, “What would you do if I gave you $10.” Ideas started spewing forth, but most of the ideas were focused on what they would buy for themselves. Then I asked, “What about doing something for someone else?” Most students then started brainstorming ideas that involved others, many of the ideas focused on how to help a teacher at the school who recently suffered a miscarriage. It was amazing to see these young minds at work. Sure there were the occasional moments of pure chaos, but mostly it was controlled chaos.
Danny and I posed several questions like:
“Does it matter what the person does with the money?”
“Does the giver’s intentions matter?”
“How would you feel if you gave money to someone who said they needed it and you later found out they had lied about their situation and didn’t really need the money as much as they said they did?”
“When you give, do you make any conditions on your kindness or do you do it unconditionally?”
The debate was fantastic.
The time seemed to fly by and we were getting very close to the end of the class and the sound of the bell signaling the change of class. I told the students that I was going to give my $10 to them as a group and they had to agree on what to do with it. There was no shortage of ideas. Many of them involved helping the aforementioned teacher, others involved raising money for various causes. They settled on the idea of using my $10 as the foundation of a fund that they would themselves contribute to in order to host an open mic night to raise money for their class.
This was an amazing opportunity to interact with the students. I hope that they consider doing something on June 15th as part of the Worldwide Day of Giving and share their experiences here with all of us.
I walked home, it’s about a mile or two. On the way home I started getting really sick. It was the beginning of a 36 hour stomach flu that wiped me out last week. I have since fully recovered!
Tonight I am doing an interview with a Korean radio station…should be interesting! I will let you know how it goes.