You Are A Creative Storyteller
Our General Manager, Keon gave an inspiring closing speech at the 2018 ESF Chairman's Awards for Excellence. This annual event recognises and celebrates the outstanding performances 228 ESF graduates.
In his speech, Keon shares about how we are all powerful creative storytellers, and how we can apply it into our daily lives. Read the full speech below!
Keon's Speech at the ESF Chairman's Awards for Excellence
Good evening everyone. Congratulations to all the award recipients at today’s ceremony. It is official. You are all excellent! You have an official document that says you have achieved excellence. You are recognised for your hard work and achievements in your academic studies, your outstanding leadership, commitment and contributions to others by your community, the ESF community, by your teachers and by the chairman of the ESF.
This is like one of those moments that’s in the end of Hollywood films, like the end of the early Harry Potter movies or high school movies where they throw their hats in the air. If there is a way to “win” at studying at school, you’ve done it. You won at being a student at school and your amazing accomplishments will be liked and shared on your parents’ facebook pages. Your parents are going to force you to smile and they will take a hundred photos of you walking on stage and accept your award. They’ve been doing it all their lives. That’s what parents do. That’s what I do to my children.
That’s because your parents are storytellers. They have a story and its about you. Their story is about a child who is capable of so many things, a child who is able to slay dragons and still get 100% in a math test. A child whose future holds great potential and should be given every advanced tool, every scrap of knowledge, every opportunity to face the future with as much wisdom, preparation and love as possible.
|Graduates from King George V School|
Photo Credit: The English Schools Foundation
As part of their story about you seizing those opportunities, they sent you to exceptional schools that are part of the ESF, an organisation that is committed to excellence for their students and families. I know this personally as an ESF alumni myself, a graduate of this very school and I know how supportive the teachers are, how much I have gained from my time here. And its all due to the story my parents had about me and the sacrifices they made to make sure everything was on track.
I’m sure you have done this already or have at least thought about it but if you haven’t told your parents thank you yet for their story of you, take a moment afterwards and do so. Leave a comment on their facebook post. Or better yet, just tell them in person.
Now, your parents are not the only storytellers. You are a creative storyteller. By ‘creative storyteller’ I don’t mean an artist or an actor or a writer. This is not a recruitment drive for the arts industry. This is about being a creative storyteller of your life and your work and what impact you have on the world.
You have reached excellence in different fields, different areas, you have collected skills, knowledge and awards along the way. It is up to you to take a step back and say what this all means. What do all these life experiences and acknowledgement say about you, what do you want it to help you say about the world?
My life is for love, creativity and empowerment. That is the realisation I had about what I wanted to bring to my life, family and community. I do this by teaching my students drama skills, to be expressive, creative and confident. I do this by writing stories for families that are about going beyond expectations and learning to be stand up for yourself and others.
Now you might be considering to be a doctor or lawyer or an architect and you would still be a creative storyteller. Doctors are storytellers who read mysteries of the human body and know how to solve them. Lawyers are storytellers who argue with facts and evidence to help determine what we agree together as a society about the laws that govern us. Architects are storytellers who create beauty and comfort for others in different spaces, different environments. You are a creative storyteller. And you have a head start, because you have attained excellence in your fields. You can be excellent creative storytellers.
Many of you know this. Many of you are already telling stories to help us protect our earth and stand up for others. You have received recognition for leadership and for upholding values of compassion and service to others. You are already telling stories that are impacting not just your community, but this planet. Your passion, your concerns, your commitments are already telling us a story about who you are and what you bring to the world.
I wanted to talk about this because I believe as graduates of 2018, it is important that you look to the next chapter in your life with strong minds, true hearts and a big, clear, loud voice. A voice that is authentic and in touch with the stories you deem worth telling and worth actioning.
I have three quick final things to say about being a creative storyteller.
One. The stories you can tell are infinite. If you are ever stuck or the story is not going the way you want it to, remember that it is just a story. Tell another one. Tell a different one. Tell different stories for different projects or better yet, tell a story that is bigger than you. The possibilities are infinite.
Two. The stories are powered by action and authenticity. The action part, I assume you are all good at because otherwise you would not be getting recognition today for your work. Stories have power when what you say will happen does happen. Stories also have power when you know its true and others recognise its true.
Three. Be generous in your stories about others. There are many who have disempowering stories about themselves, who were told that they are not capable of achieving anything. There are many of you who are already advocates for others less fortunate in society and are helping them find a stronger voice. I think that’s where things can really shift and magic can happen.
This is the end of my story about what a creative storyteller is. Congratulations to all of you and have a great night!
Faust's General Manager, Keon Lee at the 2018 ESF Chairman's Awards for Excellence
Photo Credit: The English Schools Foundation