Friday, May 18, 2012

Visiting Schools Make Me Smile

There is honestly nothing like speaking to a group of children.

I understand why my friends that teach love their jobs so much. Kids genuinely want to learn and (for the most part) are interested in what you have to say. Especially if you're talking about things like children's book, actors, and ninja turtles. 

To say I've been humbled by my experiences of speaking to schools doesn't seem to convey it enough. I know I'm not a specialist about autism. I know I'm just a regular guy who loves to write and who happens to know one child that touched my life and caused me to write about it. But I also know that I've completely enjoyed every place I've gone the past few weeks and have shared my story. I've talked to a college creative writing class, a 3rd grade class, a huge group of four 6th grade classes, two preK classes of 3 & 4 year old special needs children, and was guest speaker at a big celebration of K-5th graders. I've met them at all ages and they have been so excited and could not make me feel better about what I'm doing.

I wish I had it in me to be able to go out on the road and visit many schools; but there is such a thing as life/responsibilities/bills that keep that from happening. But I'm really grateful to the local schools that have welcomed me with open arms.

I really have my mother to thank for the joy and love of children. She has spent a lifetime working with preschoolers and kindergarten kids. I would go to work with her many times when I was younger and this path I'm on now makes me think back to those times. I'll never have my own kids, but I sure do love witnessing the wonder and awe in which they view life. The smiles they gave me as I'd read Chicken Boy to them and the sounds of BAHCAAAAAH! they would shout back.

Hopefully more kids and teachers will help spread the word about the book, but even if not: I can see I'm touching one kid at a time when I go to these schools.

And that is just fine to me!


  1. Greg, this is so wonderful! We are on the road in our RV now and heading up to Massachusetts, where I'm from. While there, I'm meeting with a 3rd grade class - the teacher read them my book last fall and they loved it and wrote me letters - we are all so excited to meet each other! And then I'm chatting with the 4th and 5th grades at another school. I did some readings/chats back in Santa Fe and I was a little nervous beforehand, but the kids were great. I have to say 6th grade is tough - they have other things on their minds :D. But 3rd, 4th and 5th are fun. I forget where you live, but it would be fun to do joint visits somewhere along the line. I don't have kids of my own either - but you don't have to HAVE kids to write well for kids, you just have to BE a kid, or remember who you were when you were one! Congrats on this - not everyone can do it!

    1. Melissa - thanks so much! Love that you are heading back to Mass and will talking to classes about your wonderful book. That's great! I'm in NJ (heading up to Maine next month for a long weekend myself where I'll be talking about both of my books). You are so right about being a kid at heart: and we certainly are!

  2. Can I tell you that when I was applying for work as an interpreter a while back, it was with slight trepidation because I'd be working in the educational setting. I didn't have any rapport with children outside of my nephews. And you know what? My perspective changed immediately. I love working in the classroom. Even if I'm not the teacher, there's something rewarding about having a student say, "Hi, Mr. Farley!" or when they ask me for help. I'm thrilled for you that you get to bring awareness to these children not only about Autism, but about what a talent you are! :) I hope you continue to enjoy it as much as I have.

    1. That's a great story to share, Sean. I really love that. They truly are amazing and there is something so great about being with them. I have more schools contacting me still (that continue through June) trying to set times for me to visit them in June. Hopefully I'll fit a few more in during this school year.