I was recently invited to a local Juvenile Detention Center to speak. It was a combination between motivational commencement speech, stand-up comedy, and dental hygiene instructions. I thought that it was going to be a tough crowd, considering the teens there are in trouble with the law (gangs/drugs), but the kids were engaged and the teachers & security guards said I did “awesome”. They want me to come back to speak twice a year at the detention center.
I spoke for an hour but this is a synopsis of what I said:
1) I showed them two pictures–one was of perfect straight teeth and the other was broken, decayed teeth of a drug addict. Both these pictures have in common, you don’t reach these 2 points in just one day. It took a process to have perfect teeth, it took a process to have decayed teeth. It all starts with a thought, which leads to actions, actions lead to habits, and habits lead to lifestyle. For example, when you care about yourself more, you start brushing/flossing. You do this everyday and this becomes you wanting a better life for yourself and your family. It always starts with the little things.
2) I told them my testimony: how my family fled from Cambodia (some family members died, I was very sick), we moved here as refugees, and I grew up poor. I said even in the midst of my bad situation I always knew that it was temporary because I had a Vision for my life.
3) I told them that life is like swimming in a river–it is a struggle. And excuses are like weights that wear you down. I told them to ignore the excuses like, “I’m too poor, I’m too dumb, etc.” Shed the excuses. Life is a struggle, its difficult already without negativity bringing you down. Swim harder–work harder, start having big dreams for your life. Swim in the right direction–towards good things (family, God, good health…shore).
– Dr. Lim