During MFNERC’s recent Lighting the Fire Education Conference, one of the keynote speakers was Robb Nash. (You can find a brief recap of his appearance here.) I was so moved by his presentation that I’ve decided to write a bit more about what he said and, hopefully, encourage one or two people along the way.
When he was 17 years old, Robb was in a very serious car accident. His head was crushed and he was declared dead at the scene. Miraculously, on route to the hospital, his heart started beating. While telling us this story he stated that he only recently found out that, because he was not expected to live, the surgery to put his skull back together was performed by students so they could get practice.
But live he did. And now he tours the country, sharing his message with young people. A message that, in a nutshell, says “Don’t wait till you find out you’re dying before you start living!”
Watching Robb perform, though spoken word and music, is one of those rare experiences where you truly feel like you’re becoming part of the story. He’s so emotive and passionate that your attention doesn’t waiver, and his stories are humourous and inspiring and heartbreaking all at the same time. For example, he shared a video about a teenager who had committed suicide. The boy’s family is now working to help other young people, just as Robb is determined to share the message that, “pain doesn’t go away, your life will be full of painful days, but neither does your strength.”
It really was tough not to shed tears throughout these stories, songs and videos. Suicide has become an epidemic in First Nations particularly. Kids as young as 8 or 9, an age when they should not even know that it exists, are learning and seeing that it is an option. But Robb is determined to combat the epidemic. In fact, he shared how students have given him their suicide notes as they leave the gym or hall, after he has performed for them. And not just students, “A 55 year old woman once handed me her suicide note, saying it’s not just young people that go through these things.”
Robb visits schools, prisons, youth centres and First Nations giving his presentation at no cost. He told the LTF audience that he wants to visit Manitoba’s First Nations. That he WILL visit. All they have to do is email and ask.
I truly hope that every single one takes him up on that offer.
Were you at LTF? Did you hear Robb perform? What did you think?
Find out more about Robb at www.robbnash.com