What an honor this week to return to the Department of Education on Capitol Hill and weigh in on the opioid epidemic epidemic, human trafficking and suicide prevention. Grateful to be part of a panel with Faith Based leaders from Dept. Education, Commerce, Homeland Security, Labor respectively and others including ministry leaders and school officials on these pressing issues. I have always admired teachers and my Mom was a teacher, my cousin just retired as a Principal and my next door neighbor of 20 years was Assistant Superintendent of Charles County Public Schools. It was President Abraham Lincoln who said in a speech that “upon the subject of education I believe it is the most noble endeavor we can be engaged in as a society.” He knew firsthand the nobility and necessity of encouraging our young people. On Tuesday in the room of the Lyndon B. Johnson Building was a superintendent, tv host, Director of FCA, recovering addict and other leaders in various fields. After two decades in Washington serving in politics at the national level and now as a global motivational speaker with chaplaincy training at that round table discussion I shared how I flew three years ago to Phoenix, AZ to speak at the closed casket funeral of a young man who died of an overdose and addressed a packed grieving crowd that our hope is in Heaven not Heroin. The family knew I had a gift to connect with teens and in a 1,500 seat auditorium I shared there indeed is hope after hurt. Immediately, I noted another instance I heard a funeral director mention to me, “We are burying almost as many 18-24 year old prematurely due to drugs than senior citizens dying of natural causes.” Read that again – God help us!
My buddy, Randy gave me a quote and I told them, “you can live 40 days without food, three days without water but not one minute without HOPE.” The world has HYPE but we have HOPE. I shared regardless if speaking to world class athletes, powerful public servants, Hollywood elite, corporate America or inner city teens in public schools or on the sidewalk of a street the opioid problem is not just limited to the down and out but the up and out. This dilemma effects blue collar, white collar and no collar jobs and it’s not a poor problem, rich problem, white problem, black problem, Asian problem but an American and world-wide problem! I shared in public school Assemblies I have spoken coast to coast and on five continents and we play by the School Rules by day and invite them to another event and play by God’s Rules at night.
In closing, I shared “more than mentoring and tutoring we need to be reaching our students with God’s love. The greatest HIGH in life is living for the Most High God! True “high” is not in snorting CRACK but serving CHRIST, not Marijuana but meeting the MESSIAH, not PCP but giving your life to the PRINCE of PEACE and it’s not Acid but finding acceptance and freedom from the ALMIGHTY.” LSD has nothing on the LORD and unless we turn to Jesus as the Answer we will continue to throw billions at the problem and still have questions. God showed up today in that government entity. No I don’t preach in schools but we do REACH them one at a time and encourage all to live better than the downward spiral of drugs and despair. There is a HIGH cost to LOW living. We are presently working on a national initiative with leaders across America from the NBA, MLB, NFL, Members of Congress (of both parties) and Hollywood stars to combat crucial problems in our schools. I am a proud product of public schools and you can reach the TOP without bottoming out. People make choices and choices make people and I was blessed to be President of Student Government and crowned Prom King out of 1,200 my senior year while on the Varsity Basketball Team in public schools in Waldorf, MD. Nearly three decades later from graduating high school (1990) I am still try to make a difference in my corner of the world and beyond. Later this month (Oct 2018), I am scheduled to speak in a meeting with an Ambassador at the United Nations in NYC and it’s easy to sit on the couch and throw proverbial rocks but I elected long ago to step up, step out and get IN to make a difference.
Encouraged by all the dedicated, selfless servants we met on the road, at home and in his meeting in DC and grateful for all those in the education field. They are my heroes! It’s a calling not a career and thank a teacher today because they are not only on the front-lines but a lifeline between life and death. 🎯🙌🏻