ESCANABA - Students at Escanaba Junior and Senior High School welcomed motivational speaker Ron Glodoski Wednesday morning as he discussed topics of drug and alcohol abuse and bullying, among others.
Glodoski is a leading expert on bullying, substance abuse, and resiliency and has traveled to more than 47 different states and five different countries.
Glodoski first spoke to students Wednesday about the importance of what they say to others. When someone calls another person "stupid, dumb or worthless," enough times, he said the person starts to believe this is the truth.
Jason Raiche | Daily Press Motivational speaker Ron Glodoski speaks with Escanaba Junior High School students Wednesday in the high school auditorium on drug and alcohol abuse and bullying among other topics.
His one purpose was to challenge students' belief systems about drugs and alcohol.
"If you haven't noticed, how many kids today walk around thinking drugs and alcohol are cool?" he questioned those in attendance. "Who would teach kids that kind of garbage?"
He noted how television plays a large role in having kids form these opinions.
"TV has a way of glamorizing and glorifying drugs and alcohol," he said, citing the vast amount of advertising for alcoholic beverages and TV shows portraying drug dealers as people with a lot of money, power and respect as examples.
"Do you think alcohol companies care about you?" he asked. "Do you think that tobacco companies care about you? Do you honestly think your local drug dealer cares about you or your family? Of course not. I'm sick of the lies."
According to Glodoski, who has traveled to more than 400 drug and alcohol treatment centers in the last 10 years, the odds of beating an addiction once an adult turns 40 years old is 1 in 100.
"So in other words, 99 out of 100 junkies in America die young," he said. "The average age of a junkie is between 35 and 40."
Likewise, if a person wants to quit drinking by the age of 40 after heavily drinking for much of their life, their chance of quitting alcohol is approximately 3 out of 100, he said.
Glodoski spoke a lot from experience having survived an abusive childhood and being involved in gangs and drugs. He has now been drug free for 28 years.
He also talked to kids about labels and the problems they create, during his presentation.
"I've never met another kid in my life that was better than or less than another human being," he said. "I don't care about the color of your skin. I don't care what religion you are. I don't care how rich or poor you are. We're all the same, aren't we?"
What does he think kids should be labeled instead? BBN, or "Brilliance Beyond Normal," as he said there is no such thing as one kid being dumber than another, but that everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. In fact, he finds that the kids who struggle the most are among the smartest, but said that some students learn in different ways other than listening. For instance, they might learn visually or through hands-on experience.
Glodoski said there are three dream-killers in America today: drugs and alcohol, hanging around negative people - those who badmouth others or tells someone they cannot accomplish something - and lack of confidence in oneself.
"If you hang with a gang banger, you become one," he said. "If you hang with a drunk, you hang with a pothead, you hang out with somebody negative, ... it will rub off on you after awhile. But the opposite's also true. If you hang out with somebody positive, it's going to rub off on you."
This is what happened to Glodoski, who attended college and eventually worked toward applying his skills to a number of businesses - including the Spinoza Company, which markets a talking teddy bear that plays cassette tapes about self-worth and acceptance.
The third dream-killer in America today, noted Glodoski, is when a kid quits believing in themselves, which is attributed to a number of reasons. Some of the main ones are topics that people don't want to talk about - sexual, physical and verbal abuse.
To him, the worst abuse is verbal.
"Do you realize that verbal abuse in this country is out of control?" he asked. "You know that we're one of the few countries in the world that tolerates verbal abuse? Here in America we celebrate verbal abuse."
He cited several examples of youth being so verbally abused, bullied and teased that they retaliate by killing themselves or killing others.
Glodoski concluded his presentation telling kids three things they need to be successful.
"No. 1, you've gotta drop the attitude," he said, adding that thoughts create reality, so if someone wakes up thinking they are going to have a bad day, they will have a bad day.
"You kids wake up in the morning remembering how smart and brilliant you are," he said. "I promise you you will be. Your thoughts create reality."
The two other tips he mentioned for success are to have a burning desire and to believe in themselves.
Glodoski will continue his presentations at Bark River-Harris Schools today, Nah Tah Wahsh PSA on Friday, and Manistique Middle and High School on Monday. In addition to Escanaba, Glodoski also spoke to students at Bay Middle College and Big Bay de Noc, Rapid River, Gladstone, and Mid Peninsula Schools. His presentations were made possible by a joint effort between Hannahville's Drug Coalition, Public Health, Delta & Menominee Counties, and Hannahville's 2 percent grant funds. An evening session Wednesday night at Escanaba High School was sponsored by Bink's Coca-Cola and Project Visions.