Positivity, practice and persistence… a powerful approach to overcoming a multitude of challenges and unbelievably bad school experiences. The one and only, Dav Pilkey, shared several heartfelt stories to inspire kids (and adults) during his recent stop in St. Paul as part of his “Dog Man, Do Good Tour.”
With humor and vulnerability, Dav explained that as a kid with both ADHD and dyslexia, reading was anything but pleasant. To make matters worse, his 2nd and 3rd grade teachers showed little compassion or understanding for fidgety, day dreaming, class clowns like Dav. One of those teachers actually made fun of him in front of his classmates for reading slow. Unbelievable, but true.
Giving tremendous credit to his mom for instilling the three “Ps,” Dav pointed out that we all need someone in our life who believes in us. Someone who makes us want to be better people. Someone who ultimately helps us make the world a better place. Dav’s mom taught her son to ask himself one important question anytime he was faced with something bad, “How can I turn this into something good?”
With an obvious talent for drawing and lots of time in the hallway after being removed from the classroom, Dav did just that. Tapping into his creativity, familiarity with unkind teachers and a penchant for pulling pranks, he would go onto to make a multitude of books loved by kids everywhere (80 million have sold worldwide!).
Although it makes my heart hurt to think that he, and others like him, have to suffer through so many miserable years at school, being a part of Dav’s audience was indeed a treat. And although I suppose some teachers take issue with the negative caricatures of the evil educators found in his books, I am grateful for Dav and for his work. I am grateful that kids who deal with ADHD and/or dyslexia can see themselves and all of their tremendous potential, in someone like Dav Pilkey. I am grateful he had such a wise and caring mom.
I was fortunate to be able to share this momentous event with six boys from Room 212. Their level of excitement, smiles, screams and sheer delight, could quite easily be compared to the thrill and frenzy of fans who greeted the Beatles on a February day back in 1964. The photos and memories are priceless and I can only hope that Dav’s message leaves a lasting impression. We could all use a generous helping of the three Ps!