I despise “process” stories. I really do.
When it comes to politics, especially. I think stories about “Romney called this press conference at the last minute…” or “Obama moved his speech because of weather or empty seats….” do absolutely nothing for the national discourse. We should be focused on issues and the big pictures.
My current big picture: I’m on a mission to teach kids encouragement. Think about it— I believe we are all hard-wired to be good and kind to each other– we really are. But societal norms have shifted and we now compete, fight, argue and perturb each other to get ahead. Children nowadays don’t inherently know good from bad because they see everything we do– reality television, lying politicians, petty Facebook fights. We have to teach them how to behave… and it’s a drastic switch from the way adults are behaving every day.
As a teacher said to me last week, “the most powerful form of encouragement is a child encouraging another child.” If we get these kids to learn the concept of being nice to each other and helping each other out at a very young age, eventually the chain of encouragement prevails.
I don’t have kids. But I was a child once… and so were you. And, in your heart, you know that encouragement is so very important. So I would appreciate your support. Please jump on board today and help me bring my message of encouragement to a wider audience. Visit www.PeteThePopcorn.com and click on SPONSOR A CHILD.
Now, on to the “process” story… how do you run a national tour? Let’s start with this: this tour is being fully funded by co-author Joe Kelley and myself. Every single penny has come from our bank accounts: gas, freeway tolls, food, hotels, snacks, drinks, coffee (lots of coffee), phone bills, etc.
How do we book the schools? First, we look at the map– we look for school districts in interesting locations, smaller communities, etc. And then we choose three districts to research further. Our goal is to visit a round mix of school districts: ones that are doing very well and others that could use some encouragement. We then contact the district and offer our visits.
Here is where things get tricky: these school districts are simply bombarded with sales calls every single day. So it is extremely hard to convince them that we are the real deal– that we don’t charge the schools anything for our visits. Our funding comes through book sales that may stem from our visit. But we just don’t believe in charging a school a $400, $500 or $600 speaking fee.
After the school is officially booked, it’s our job to follow through. We keep in contact with the Principals, get directions on our handy little iPhones, set everything up at the school (computer, projector, speakers, etc.), count out order forms, take pictures, take video, slap hands with the kiddos, pack everything up, drive to the next school… and do it all over again.
Keep this in mind: we have driven an average of 8 hours each day, in addition to the school visits. Granted, some days have been 14 hours of driving… others have just been a couple. But the average is 8 hours. These blogs and videos we post every day? They don’t write themselves. They don’t edit themselves.
What about laundry? Packing? Keeping the car clean and organized? Nope… no magic elves.
The tour has been simply grueling. But if we can get children to start the chain of encouragement at an early age, it’s all worth it.
Now that you know our process… here is a photo slideshow for you to enjoy… since yesterday was a travel day, this is a great time to show you some of the awesome pictures we’ve snapped along the way.
Talk to you tomorrow!
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