I don’t care how busy or important you are (or think you are), if you ever get a chance to speak to elementary school children, you better take it. Why, you may ask?
Simple — there are few things you can do in life that give you that kind of an opportunity to interact with wonderful little children like that. The children today were extremely well behaved, respectful, and asked some amazing questions that showed just how bright they really are. Though I only spoke for about 30 minutes per class, the time passed so quickly it seemed as though it were only a couple of minutes. The children were engaging and really tried to get a grasp of what it is that I, as a lawyer, do on a day to day basis and they used their little minds to reason by analogy from the things they know and understand to get the concept of what I was explaining to them. And let me tell you …
The stuff these kids learn on TV! Whew — for 2nd and 5th graders they sure did know a lot! They know what a court is, what a judge does, that the judge holds a “hammer” and will throw you in jail if you get out of line. This last point was particularly useful when I explained to them that, just as we lawyers must do, when there are disagreements and you are arguing with someone, it should be done so respectfully! What really amazed me the most, however, was their understanding of Intellectual Property law — that is, why it is that on iCarly they use a computer with a “pear” on the front instead of an “apple”! But, if you are planning to do this, a word of caution is in order …
Be careful what you ask!
This is not the time for open-ended questions such as “do you know what a lawyer does?” unless you want to hear
“my daddy had a lawyer to help get my baby sister from my daddy’s baby-momma!”
Ohhh Lord, you want to talk about watching a lawyer get red-faced and try cut off a “witness” during an examination — then use some leading questions to change the subject? These kids saw it first hand because I had no idea of where that “testimony” was going to go from there and sure didn’t want to find out! Again, I learned the old rule … leading, leading, leading … (and this was one of the 2nd graders … I learned my lesson and didn’t repeat the question to the 5th graders!)
I really can’t put into words just how much fun this was for me. The children gave me far more on this day than I could have ever given to them. Spending this time with these children was such a positive and heart warming experience that I really hope I get an opportunity to go back next year, and the precious little “Thank You” card that they gave me when I finished was the icing on the cake. This, my friends, is what life is really about.
Truly, what a wonderful day!