Speaker stresses students' self worth Bob Lenz addresses more than 1,000 Norwalk students

akrause@norwalkreflector.com Bob Lenz hopes his mentally challenged sister doesn't fall victim to the system. The motivational speaker said his sister possesses many positive qualities, and it would be a shame if people judged her by society's standards of self worth. Lenz, a widely known speaker, asked about 160 seventh- through ninth-grade Norwalk Catholic School students Thursday to help fight the system.
Aaron Krause
Jul 25, 2010

akrause@norwalkreflector.com

Bob Lenz hopes his mentally challenged sister doesn't fall victim to the system.

The motivational speaker said his sister possesses many positive qualities, and it would be a shame if people judged her by society's standards of self worth.

Lenz, a widely known speaker, asked about 160 seventh- through ninth-grade Norwalk Catholic School students Thursday to help fight the system.

In all, he brought his message of everyone's positive self worth to more than 1,000 students in Norwalk schools.

On Wednesday night, he gave an address open to the public.

"Every person should have a right to a good self image," Lenz told the NCS students.

To illustrate the obstacle to that ideal, Lenz drew a bell on a board. He indicated an area representing the 10 percent of the population he believes society has dubbed "gifted."

Lenz, who spoke passionately during the address, said he thinks they're considered gifted because of their physical appearance, possessions, wealth and similar factors.

"It's all stuff on the outside and we start judging people on what's on the outside," he said.

He implored students to place a higher value on a person's inner self just as he'd hope people would do with his sister.

He commended her for volunteering to help needy children, and for her reaction to words such as "shut up."

Lenz said she's told people "Jesus doesn't like that."

"If you can't tell my sister she's not gifted, than how many of you would agree with me and tell me society's system is not working?" he asked the students.

All raised their hand.

He told them while Jesus is Lord, he was "just like you and me. He said this system (doesn't work)."

Jesus, Lenz said, was full of love.

"Love came to Earth and said 'I hate the system so bad, I'm going to cross it out," he said. "He crossed it out with his death on the cross."

While Lenz made reference to religion during his speech to Norwalk Catholic School students, he did not while speaking to public school students.

Students remained silent and attentive during the serious parts of Lenz' address, but laughed heartily during the humorous parts.

People don't have to turn to drugs and alcohol to make themselves feel better after experiencing embarrassing moments, Lenz said.

He gave an example from his childhood. As a youngster his peers called him "Freckles."

His mother refused to call them freckles, but "angel kisses."

"Those aren't freckles those are angel kisses, dude!" Lenz told the Norwalk Catholic School students.

Lenz also spoke about an incident during his prom, when he was dancing. With a large crowd surrounding him, he tried to imitate actor John Travolta, and his pants split open.

Lenz said after the speech he enjoys talking to youngsters.

"Oh gosh, I love it," he said. "If I can bring hope to one kid it's worth it."

Lenz speaks to 300,000 children each year. He's spoken to youngsters in every state except Maine, which he plans to do in May.

Lenz previously spoke in Norwalk six years ago.