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I love to listen to many motivational speakers and I have during my life and in this job. Many have provided a yearning to change the path in life that I am on.
I was fortunate these past few days to listen to Chad Varga, a former professional basketball player who turned down huge dollars and a comfortable life only because of a feeling that he was to do something more in life. That was to talk with teenagers, sharing his troubled youth living with a mother who abused drugs and alcohol and how they can turn whatever obstacle into a meaningful life. He talks before 250,000 people each year.
I listened to him twice and both times, I wanted to hear more. One was on Sunday at Calvary Chapel and the following morning at the Troy Middle School. Although the message was the same, the presentation at the school could not include Varga’s Christianity faith which helped him and his sister survive a childhood filled with turmoil. You may read more about his words in an article elsewhere in this issue.
I thought how our country’s current position of keeping the mention of God out of our schools and how this affects kids today. I sat there in amazement hearing Varga’s words and the hush which fell among the over 1,500 students as he told of his story. For a time, that saying ‘you could have heard a pin drop’ kept coming to mind. I also felt perhaps how unfair to those youngsters that they didn’t get, as Paul Harvey said, “ the rest of the story.” I believe kids learn of different world religions in some of their classes about their customs and way of life. I think that is necessary but have we gone too far by not allowing references to a faith held by so many people. I had a tinge of persecution while listening to him at the school.
My hope is that Varga reached some of the troubled youth who may have been listening and helped to turn their lives around. Over 1,500 students in this country contemplate suicide each day. This scares me that I may know some of them or saw them that day.
By Bob Simmons