JACKSON TWP. “This evening I’m going to tell all of you (parents) what I’ll be talking to your kids about tomorrow,” youth inspirational speaker David Flood told his audience on Sept. 17.
He was speaking in the Jackson High School Performance Arts Hall to close to 100 parents. Flood’s message to the parents that evening was preview of what his message to high school students would be on Sept. 18.
“David will be doing three assemblies tomorrow," saidl Jackson High School counseling intern Abby Wood. "First with the freshman, then the sophomores and the third will be with juniors and seniors together.”
After the assemblies, Flood was planning to spend time in the hall with students talking one-on-one or answers questions.
“I want to be right up front with all of you, I’ve been in drug and alcohol recovery for over 29 years," he said ."Tomorrow I’ll be discussing three challenges with students. The first challenge I’ll give them is to look inside of people to see who they are, second, to go around the school and make eye contact with at least two adults and say thank you to them and third is to make sure that no student eats alone.”
He talked about his family, including his oldest son who has autism and the challenges his son faced throughout his life, including being lonely at school because nobody would talk with him. Another topic was how today’s kids are facing social isolation, in part due to social media.
“Research says that social isolation is really bad for us both physically and emotionally," Flood said. "Three words that I use all the time is that loneliness is toxic. More research says over 33 percent of kids sleep with their phones these days which interrupts their sleep patterns. They will tell you they do that because they use it for an alarm. You tell them you’ll buy them an alarm clock. They also want instant replies to texts and when they don’t get them, they feel isolated."
Flood advised parents to talk more with their kids including the older kids. He said to talk to them about inclusion and to identify with them and “let them know you felt the same way when things happened to you in school.”
Before the presentation started, Flood walked around to personally meet everyone in the audience and to shake their hand. He ended by asking for questions.
According to www.davidjflood.com, “David’s narrative as a youth speaker comes first hand; he grew up impacted by addiction in his family; he married and became a father of two children, his oldest is a special needs son; he is active in his church; he is a hospice volunteer who visits with terminally ill patients; and is on the board of K.I.D.S. Plus, Inc. a non-profit organization which helps special needs children through sports and other activities. David attends meetings and participates in activities with The Anti-Bias Consortium Nassau County Schools. He is a member of The Northport-East Northport Drug and Alcohol Task Force.
“David’s life teaches him every day about dignity, understanding, patience, forgiveness, and most of all unconditional love. As a youth motivational speaker David has spoken in 36 states and Canada to over 350,000 students, inspiring them to look at people and things in a different way. His Facebook videos have received over 80 million views. He speaks with passion and conviction and through his humility, leaves his audience with so much to think about in their formative years as they move into their future.”
"We asked David to come in and speak to parents and students because Hoover High School had him into their school and were impressed with his message so we decided to invite him to Jackson," Wood said. "We like his messages of being thankful, being kind to others and going out of your way to help people.”
Flood’s presentations were funded by the Jackson High School principal Jeff Kracker and the Jackson Local Schools Foundation.