Every year I have the privilege and honor to speak at schools across the Central Illinois. I speak to a range of age groups from 3rd grade through high school. I always love talking with the younger kids best. We talk about age appropriate drug education; taking only your medicine and only taking it like your doctor tells you to. We talk about how smoking cigarettes are bad for you and what to say to your friend if he offers you some of his Adderall. The conversations are fantastic and their questions are even better. Most don’t actually ask real questions, they just tell on the parents for drinking beer at the campsite or when watching the football game.

The younger classes almost always send me handmade thank-you cards with a brief handwritten letter inside. I was cleaning out my office desk last week and came across these cards and some are too good not to share, as written by the students.

Dear Mr. Schaffner,

Thank you, for coming and talking about bad decisions, I guess it’s time to talk to my mom my dad and my mom’s boyfriend. You interested?

And there’s this gem…

Dear Mr. Schaffner,

Thanks for telling me not to take any more of my vitamines. I’ll pass this over to my grandma and tell her to stop making me take them. (What I actually said was to only take what the instructions on the bottle said and let an adult give it to you. I think this one is using me to get out of taking it altogether.)

And…

Mr. Scaffner,

I won’t take drugs thanks to you. I will tell them NO WAY HOZAY! I will only take my medicin when I’m puking or have diarea or a fever or coffing or have a stuffey nose. But other than that I wont.

And lastly…

Dear Mr. Schaffner,

Thanks for telling us about the difference between bad drugs and good medicine. I will take my medicine right. Also thanks for telling us about drinking. My dad likes to drink at the cabin and then gets grabby with mom.

It’s stuff like this that get us out of bed in the morning and keep us laughing in the hardest of times.

May you find plenty of reasons to laugh today. May you find joy in the hardest of circumstances and may you discover hope in the darkest of places.

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