Today we were invited to participate in career day at Emerson Elementary School in Plainfield, NJ. When asked, this was a no brainer. After all, we started this company because we had kids. What better way to spread the word about healthy, fun snacks to kids than right in their classrooms. Sitting on the “cafetorium” (part-time cafeteria, part-time auditorium) stage, waiting to be introduced, I realized how it really does all start when we’re young. The days when being an astronaut or a baseball player or a doctor felt so real and attainable. We all had hopes and dreams. Some of us fell into them easily. Others of us faced adversity and may still be trying to get where we want to go. But, as the principal reminded all of us, you have to have a dream, a plan to make it happen and the willingness to see it through.
We were initially worried by the 30 minute time slot. That sounded like a lot of time to talk to 2nd graders about MySuperFoods. Even for us. But here’s the thing. Kids are really smart. Maybe it’s the fact that I have to ask my 3.5 year old daughters to put their shoes on 47 times before it happens or that they tend to accidentally spill their milk 1 second before we have to leave for school. But today I needed a reminder on the power of kids brains.
They get it. That goes for a lot of things we may not give them credit for. In fact, in the second class we spoke to, we spent five minutes talking about in-store demos, brochures, and websites all because a little girl asked how we “got the word out” and these ideas were what her classmates came up with. Wow.
So, here’s what I took away from career day:
1. Kids are smart. They have good ideas. In between getting shoes on and cleaning up spilled milk, I hope I remember to stop and ask questions of my own. And listen to the answer.
2. Don’t give up on your dreams. This may sounds silly, but when I can stop long enough to breathe around here, I remember that I am living out a dream right now. I have lots of opportunities to quit, but I’m glad I don’t.
3. Building a great team helps you achieve your goals. As we explained all the steps it takes to get MySuperSnacks on the shelf, I truly realized how many people play a part in this company. I’m thankful for all of them.
4. There are schools out there really doing it right. Yes, there is a lot of negative press about teachers and schools and test performance. Yes, there are things that need to be fixed in a broken system. But there is good happening and teachers who care. That should be recognized too.
5. I really love what I do.
Finally, if you ever have the opportunity to present at career day I have two words of advice to keep the kids engaged. Free samples.