I would love to come speak on any of the following topics that Are elements of The Duttons Can Play. Time can vary between 20 and 45 minutes, based on your needs.
Look Ma, No Seatbelt
Take a nostalgic journey with me back to a world before microwave ovens and cell phones, a world where teachers could use discipline in their classrooms, and seatbelts were optional. Audiences familiar with life in the ‘60s will reminisce and laugh as these stories bring back memories, while those in the younger crowd might just be flabbergasted.
This presentation describes what life was like growing up in the 60s. Life was simpler, and parents didn’t worry about their children being out all day playing and exploring the neighborhood. Kids didn’t have the distractions of computers and video games to keep them holed up in their rooms, so there was plenty of time and opportunity to engage in fun outdoor activities. But that freedom did come with some risk. I tell the stories of some of the shenanigans my brother and I pulled in those carefree times, and the lessons I learned along the way.
Burnt Cookies and Sunday Drives
We all have memories from our childhood years. I know it’s not always the case, but for many of us those are mostly happy times. And those can also be some zany times. I believe the larger the family, the more opportunity for humor in the home.
In this presentation, I describe my life growing up with a mom who couldn’t cook, and a dad who lived and played hard. I don’t begrudge them for the way I was raised. They did the best they knew how. It just made for some interesting challenges for myself and my siblings, and a lot of laughter along the way. We gained a taste for burnt cookies, and we learned to endure Sunday drives (in a hot car filled with 2 parents, 4 kids, 2 dogs, and cigarette smoke; with windows rolled up, no A/C, and country music blaring on the radio). Mom and dad, “Thanks for the memories!”
You Can’t Judge a Book Kid by a Cover
Have you ever judged someone by the way they look, by where they’re from, or by who they hang out with? Our initial impression might be that they are unintelligent, weird, or just up to no good. And how often were you proven wrong after you got to know them? I suspect most of us have had that experience at one time or another. In this presentation, I tell the story of some kids in the neighborhood who were misjudged and shunned by others in the community, and for no apparent reason. Being new to the neighborhood, my brother and I joined in that shunning; we just went along to get along. We were eventually able to see that those kids were no different than us, and there was no reason to shun them. We ended up inviting those kids to play in our neighborhood “Sandlot” games. It didn’t seem like a big deal to us, but welcoming them into our group was a huge deal to them. We had had unknowingly brightened their lives, and they became lifelong friends. How many great opportunities might we be missing in life when we misjudge others?
Mother Knows Best
This book tells of a mom, my mom, who was able to see the best in everyone. She helped to reunite the family she married into after they had been torn apart through challenging times in the aftermath of the Great Depression. She offered rides to the children of one of the few black families in our neighborhood to and from school functions at a time when our nation was battling over school segregation and other racial injustices. And she convinced my brother and me to welcome into our lives some neighbor kids who had been shunned by the community.
This presentation challenges us to take some time to consider those who have inspired us to greater things. Whether it’s a family member, a coach, or a boss, most of us have been inspired by someone in our lives. We should be grateful for them taking the time to teach us and speak into our lives. If they are still alive, what a blessing it would be to write them a letter. And we can pay it forward; we can be that kind of person to someone else.
I Am Not a Self-Made Man
In writing my book, it gave me an opportunity to reflect back on my life and see more clearly the positive influence others had on me. My parents were both alcoholics, and they both died as a result of their addictions. They were at their worst at the end of their lives, so my last memories of them were not so good. As I reflected back, I was able to see them when they were at their best, and I was able to recall what great parents they were to me.
I was also able to reflect back on my time in Little League baseball and see the great man that my coach was; how he had taught my teammates and me sportsmanship, and how he had helped some of the disadvantaged kids in the community.
This presentation challenges us to take some time to consider those who have inspired us to greater things. Whether it’s a family member, a coach, or a boss, or someone else, most of us have been inspired by someone in our lives. We should be grateful for them taking the time to teach us and speak into our lives. If they are still alive, what a blessing it would be to write them a letter. And we can pay it forward; we can be that kind of person to someone else.
The Pros and Cons of Writing a Memoir
In this presentation, I’ll walk you through what I learned in writing a childhood memoir, and hopefully inspire to write one of your own. If nothing else, it will be part of a heritage that you can pass on to future generations of your family.
I’ll explain to you why you should start sooner, rather than later. I’ll tell you why you need to have a great relationship with your family, friends, and anyone else mentioned in your book. (If those relationships are strained, starting making your peace now!) And I’ll tell you the what I learned about myself, and what you might come to learn about yourself along the way.
As a spoiler alert, I’ll let you know up front that the only cons to writing your memoir are those that are keeping you from doing it!