On November 30th, the SADD club at Matignon hosted a guest speaker. The guest speaker was David Flood. Mr. Flood began his presentation by talking about his family. He started with funny and endearing stories about his daughter. An especially striking story was one when he was at the bank with his daughter when she was an infant. Because Mr. Flood’s daughter was Filipino, the bank teller assumed she was adopted and asked Mr. Flood “where she got her.” He used this story to amplify the assumptions that most people make daily. Mr. Flood then also talked about his son in a similar way, concluding with the fact that his son David has autism. Through David’s story and his struggles, Mr. Flood covered the actions people must take to make society a better place for all. This means putting extra effort in for people who need help, or even just talking to someone who could be lonely. Throughout his speech Mr. Flood repeated three challenges he wants Matignon students to work on. The first is to stop assuming things about people, and instead “look on the inside.” His second goal for students was to go up to two adults at Matignon and thank them. The third was to guarantee that from now on, no one at Matignon eats alone. Mr. Flood explained that he feels so strongly that people shouldn’t eat alone because he remembers a time when his father ate Thanksgiving alone. Because Mr. Flood’s parents were divorced and his father was an alcoholic, he was not encouraged to spend Thanksgiving with his father. He never gathered enough courage to ask if he could, and now he wishes very strongly he had that courage back then. Mr. Flood described his son and his father as “his gifts” and explained that they had taught him more about himself than he ever could have learned in another way.
Mr. Flood’s speech incorporated both laughter and inspiration. He encouraged kindness and compassion, beliefs that Matignon staff and students hold closely but also need to be reminded of sometimes. The speech allowed for Matignon students to become closer and connect in ways that wouldn’t think of, and going forward I believe the community will become even stronger because of Mr. Flood.