Friday, September 9, 2016


I watched an interview several years ago with Garth Brooks. He is a "hands on" performer, often working with the roadies setting up the stage. There was one story where the lighting guy was working with a new sound guy setting up spots on mics. The sound guy asked the lighting guy, "How do I know how high to set the mic? How tall is he?" The lighting guy laughed and said, "Why don't you ask him? He's setting up the drum kit."

Brooks talked about what he wanted to do on stage during his performance. He said it was his goal to "connect with the guy sitting up in the highest seat furthest away from the stage." Lofty goal, pun intended. For that particular concert, he had himself strapped up and a boom lifted him above the crowd to the outer reaches of the top balcony. Up close and personal.

Kenny Chesney said something similar about connecting to his audience, both collectively and individually, and making it a memorable experience that would be felt as much as it was heard. I’ve watched Chesney, Keith Urban and Ryan Tedder of One Republic often change positions on stage, using preset mic stands so they can get closer to the fans. At one awards show, Darius Rucker climbed off stage and walked up into the wings to get closer to the fans- all while singing.

When I was in eighth grade, my school had a science fair and the top three were chosen to take part in the Marquette University science fair. My project was on Old Faithful. My dad and I made a replica out of it using an old coffee pot and Plaster of Paris. I did the research and found that Old Faithful wasn’t all that faithful.

What I remember most was that my dad worked alongside of me, with me. He didn’t do the work for me. I did it with his guidance and suggestions. He did the same with my Cub Scout projects and Pinewood Derby race cars.

Honestly, that was how I remember my dad best. He wasn’t all that talkative. He wasn’t all that demonstrative. He liked to laugh and he liked to work with his hands as much as with his heart.

And what I remember best was that his heart was for each of us, all of us. That was his gift to us . . . his heart. His patience. His kindness. His laugh.

As I write this, it is Friday of the first week of school. And I wonder as adults, as teachers and coaches and staff members and administrators . . . as parents . . . how are we connecting with the kids? How are we connecting with each other? Are we working on developing relationships with our kids, with each other?

Kids learn when they perceive their teacher as caring about them. So I wonder . . . do our kids know that we love them?

I learned a long time ago that kids who are loved at home come to school to learn. Kids who aren't loved at home, come to school to be loved. I think there are a whole lot of kids whose homes are sometimes inadequate, and I hope each of us are reaching out to them and connecting with them.

Do we find some way of reaching out to the kid sitting up in the highest seat furthest away from us as Garth Brooks did? Do we climb off stage and walked up into the wings to get closer to the kids as Darius Rucker did? That’s often where we find the kids trying to hide, trying so hard to not be noticed, while at the same time, trying so desperately to be noticed.

We might not be able to find and catch them all, but I think we cannot stop trying to do so. We simply must try. We cannot ever give up trying. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:
Please feel free to connect with me at:

Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

If you like to read thriller/mystery, check out:
Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen year old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved.        

Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them.        

Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
The FBI knows a 14 year old boy has a price on his head, but he and his family don’t. With no leads and with nothing to go on, the FBI gambles and sets up the boy and his family as bait in order to catch three dangerous and desperate men with absolutely nothing to lose.

The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11 year old Brett McGovern, and 11 year old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out. 

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe