These middle school students didn’t see it coming

They came for a Rock concert but they left changed and inspired.

Rock singer/songwriter Robb Nash, who walked away from a recording deal, is speaking life to youth who are contemplating suicide. He’s been given 800 plus suicide notes from young audience members – notes they carried on them, ready to use! After hearing Robb’s story, they turned them over to him, resolving to live.

A few weeks ago, I volunteered at one of his supershows at the Burton Cummings Theatre. Sixteen schools came to see him over two days. We’re talking about 3000 middle school students who were bussed in for a ‘rock concert’. Little did they know, it was so much more than that.

The kids were in for a surprise.

Then again, so was I.

At one point I was up in the balcony behind a few rows of middle schoolers. At the start of the show, they’d been screaming, cheering, and whistling, all excited to see a rock concert. Now, toward the end of the show, the electric guitars had finished riffing and Robb was talking, sharing a story about when he’d first been inspired by a wealthy man back when he did the morning show at a local radio station.

“The man was generous,” he said, “and told me, ‘Go find out what this city needs!’”

Robb had gone out and spoken to the homeless, then reported back to his boss. “Their feet are cold,” he told his boss.

“Okay,” his boss said, “go find out their shoe sizes. Then let’s get them some shoes!”

Robb set to work on it, and his boss ended up spending $43,000 buying boots and sleeping blankets to deliver to people living on the streets.  And as he helped deliver those precious gifts, he was deeply moved to be part of something big. Something that was about someone else. “It felt so good.” Robb said, and it was this huge act of generosity that inspired his own philanthropic career.

The row of kids in front of me sat straight, listening to every word. Then, all in a moment, Robb said of his boss, “And this man did not ask for recognition!” He’d done it just to do it. To love. To give.  The second he said that, the whole section of middle school students stood to their feet in a unified, silent ovation.

I thought my heart was going to explode right there! I blinked back the mist that formed, and smiled with pride and hope.

These kids may have come for a rock concert, but they would leave inspired. Moved. Literally moved to their feet by the kindness of others.

Later, in the comfort of my own home, I was scrolling through Robb Nash Instagram feed, and noticed the general takeaway wasn’t how loud the drums were, or how much the entertainment blew them away. Most of the comments – and these were from KIDS! – were about how the stories that evening had inspired them.

Their inspiration may have been a surprise to them, but it was also a soul-satisfying surprise to me.
I don’t know what can refresh a person’s faith in humanity or brighten one’s day more than stories of generosity and kindness, or the sight of rows of middle schoolers rising to their feet simply because they are too moved and inspired to remain sitting.

I wondered at the seeds that had been planted that night in their young hearts. There would be future philanthropists and givers because of the stories shared that night.

We just don’t know how powerful the seeds are that we sow.

Keep on sowing.
Somewhere, someone is watching, maybe someone you’ll never meet who sees you from a dark or distant balcony, and they notice you. They see what you’re doing, and are impacted by it. Maybe the person whose life you change is in the emergency shelter tonight, and the thought running through their mind is you.

The seeds we sow are powerful. 
Sow them wisely and with great love.  

The Robb Nash Project does not charge for doing their shows. If you feel inspired to plant a seed by a financial donation you can do so directly through their website. Who knows, your donation may save someone’s life.

 Tina Plett

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