:: Speaker challenges audience to find 'Kindergarten Confidence'
In a well-attended convocation, author and motivational speaker Dion Jordan used personal experiences and comical analogies to explain Martin Luther King Jr.'s influence and inspiration last Wednesday in Whitley Auditorium.
Jordan said that King inspired change through nonviolence by doing three things: sitting, standing and walking.
"If you can dance, stand up," Jordan commanded, engaging the audience. About a quarter of the attendees to rose from their chairs.
"If you are good-looking, stand up." Less than half of the audience stood.
Jordan went on to explain that playing the same game among an audience of kindergarteners prompted most, if not all, of them to stand. He then used the term "kindergarten confidence" to assert that the reason more audience members were not standing because there has been a loss of "kindergarten confidence" as a result of others negatively influencing our own abilities by words or otherwise.
"Somebody told you different, and you believed it," Jordan said. Kindergarteners, he said, have yet to experience the negativity of life that causes too many of us to limit our own abilities.
According to Jordan, King taught people how to make dreams come true by making them aware of their own inner-confidence — the same inner-confidence kindergarteners have about their goals of wanting to be the president or an astronaut someday.
Jordan recounted his own personal story of overcoming acute conditions of pigeon toe and stuttering in his childhood and adolescence.
Martin Luther King Jr. was a leader Jordan had learned about from his parents as he struggled to overcome his infirmities and the difficulties of growing up in a racist society.
He remembers his parents quoting King as saying, "Violence is only going to bring more violence;" inspiring him to refrain from taking revenge on school bullies after surgery cured his physical condition.
At that point, he had chosen to believe in King's dream.
"I liked that [Jordan] described Martin Luther King Jr. as standing up for the entire human race, not just the black race," junior Ryan Mather said.
“What really stuck with me was when he said ‘the greatest revenge in the world is success,” junior Ellie Sorge said.
Jordan left the audience with a charge to find our own inner confidence in their best effort to achieve their goals and delight in our successes.
Reporter: James Glenos - 01/23/07