Stu Speaks
Stu Speaks

A Message of Leadership and Laughter.

Stu Speaks - inspiration that moves you to fly.

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Mon, 2009-03-02 18:34

I would walk up the path to the shop almost every morning to say hello. In at 5 am there wasn’t much of a chance that you wouldn’t find Gord already there, cleaning up his workshop, painting a door, fixing one of the tractors. You knew he was there, he had the morning news playing or perhaps the all oldies station. Humming to himself, tapping his feet.

“Morning my son!” came the chipper and fatherly voice from the back of the shop. “Morning Gord! How’s the day lookin’?” I would reply.

“Incredible, did you hear the birds this morning? Incredible!”

That was Gord, pretty much every day. Until he got sick. After a mis-diagnosis by the local hospital… Hernia they said. He moved to Calgary to be closer to his son. When the pain continued he went to the Alberta hospital. Not a hernia at all, nope. Cancer.

He has battled it for the last three years and we have thought about him often, hoping and praying for him to get better. I hadn’t seen him since he left. Had a couple of telephone calls, a few holiday cards back and forth. Then on Sunday morning came a knock on my door. There he was Gord and his wife. Big hugs all around, so good to see him. We all gathered around the dining room table to catch up. It was great… until… Henni leaned over to me and said, “Gord’s here to say goodbye. The doctors have said he has 6 months.”

SLAM! Wow, what do you say. I just tried to smile and soak up the moment. His smile, making everyone laugh at the table. Henni, wiping away the tears that were forming in her eyes.”

After about a 45 minute visit, I went to show Gord the Dining hall, we renovated it since he left. He said he was so proud of us, of me. He gave me a big hug. Just before he left he said, thank you for letting him be part of YLCC. It meant a lot to him. Then he drove away, tears in both of our eyes.

It’s strange to think… I may never see you again. I felt empty.

Life has a strange way of trying its best to show you its fragility. My dearest friend Laura who is 29 is recovering from her Chemo for Breast Cancer, another example of how life couldn’t care less if you feel you’re to young or to good to be hit by its incredible power. It may not be fair, but it’s life. I was diagnosed in September with progressive MS and that is scary as well, who knows how my life will turn out from this point on. I don’t plan on getting sicker, but I can only do so much. What I do know is that I am getting less and less patient with the petty little problems that people (me included) waste their time and energy on. Complaining about their situation, their cards that they were dealt, the place they live, the way a friend treats them. Here’s the point. YOU can CHANGE anything YOU want.

The new rip in my jeans doesn’t deserve anger, it deserves to be fixed, or patched or perhaps to make some styling seventies jean shorts out of them. People who complain about their weight while eating a sticky bun should stop and look in a mirror. Put it all in perspective. I remember being crushed in high school by a girl who broke my heart, devastated in fact. I was trying to remember her name the other day…. perspective. How much time did I waste being upset? Yes, I know that at the time it was important but that’s because I was unable to put it in perspective!

My daughter was sick last night, she was coughing and hacking. At 2 am she began to cry because she just wanted to fall asleep. I started to get a little frustrated, thinking ‘come on just take a drink of the water I gave you suck it up’… then I thought of it from her perspective. So I got up, talked to her, wiped the tears away, fluffed up her pillow and went to the 24 hours drug store. I purchased some couch medicine and returned to give her a tablespoon of the cherry flavoured concoction… within 30 minutes she was asleep. Thankful, I did my job, I’m her dad. Nothing else matters.

I sat in my bed at 4 am, thinking of Gord and saying good bye. I thought of my life and my kids. I think I need to keep working on putting things in perspective. I need to focus on what’s truly important.

Today could be the day that it all changes. For you as well…

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  • Stu Speaks

    Students were very engaged, enthusiastic and excited. Stu is hilarious…seriously. “Humour is never a bad thing” said one student.

    ~Annalisa Varano - Vice Principal - St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School
  • Stu Speaks

    They say a great presenter “leaves them wanting more”. Well, we loved your presentation and the entire team asked me when you will be back! You are truly STUpendous!

    ~Nancy Klensch - Founder of Summit Kids
  • Stu Speaks

    Stu is an energetic, entertaining and dynamic presenter. He captures is audiences’ attention and keeps the room engaged for the entire presentation! His stories in his presentation captures everyone at different points, even the teachers!

    ~Sara Meaney - Cobourg Collegiate Institute
  • Stu Speaks

    Stu was great! Staff and students felt it really broke the anxiety in the building and we even got cupcakes today from one of the students.

    ~Carrie Rowlandson - William Aberhart High School, Calgary Alberta
  • Stu Speaks

    Stu was fantastic. There is nothing better than seeing 600 adolescents laughing their heads off. He delivers a terrific message and has the entire audience engaged, thinking, listening and most importantly laughing within seconds, and he keeps it going for over an hour. Thanks again on behalf of the Shores!!

    ~Doug Woods - Vice Principal, Nantyr Shores Secondary School
  • Stu Speaks

    Stu’s speech did exactly what I hoped it would do when I tried to bring him in: it brought the school together for a good laugh while empowering the student body to be the change they wish to see in their classroom. I feel he hit this goal perfectly.

    ~Steven Fotheringham - Oakville Trafalgar High School
  • Stu Speaks

    I really liked how the speech really just seemed like Stu was telling us funny stories, but he always related it back to the overall message. It didn’t sound like a speech at all, it was as if he was just talking to the crowd. I would say that he is excellent in connecting with the audience and keeping them entertained. There was not a two minute period in Stu’s speech were nobody was laughing. He kept us amused throughout the entire presentation. I thought he was perfect.

    ~James Palloto
  • Stu Speaks

    I would highly recommend Stu, his engaging personality was a real hook for the students and his messages were ones that many of them could identify with. The humour was great and the students shared that they enjoyed the presentation.

    ~Teresa Fowler - W.H. Croxford High School, Airdrie, Alberta
  • Stu Speaks

    Stu is personable. Students are willing to listen to him. They enjoy listening to him. He has a message, but he is also entertaining. He is fun to listen to and students don’t feel talked down to or preached at.

    ~Tanya Lacey - McKinnon Park Secondary School, Caledonia, ON
  • Stu Speaks

    I was at the OCA conference on May 6th, and I just wanted to thank you on being such a wicked keynote… you definitely put me back in the camp mindset and reminded me of what’s truly important about the up-coming summer. Once again, a job very well done.

    ~Emily Summers
  • Stu Speaks

    The students really enjoyed Stu’s humour and low-key but critical message about getting involved and getting the most out of their High School experience. I would recommend Stu as a speaker who relates well to students, is funny, and gets the message out without preaching.

    Thank you,

    ~Lynn Toye