Be a Hero to those in the front row…

This past weekend I took my “first step into a larger world” and spoke at the Students for Life of America conference that happens each year around the March for Life in Washington, D.C.  I’d never spoke at a conference before and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous walking into a room that was at 75% capacity – filled with teens and college students – and could hold 700 (or more) participants; it was big.  If that wasn’t enough, you know it gets serious when they wire you up with one of those “head mics” that wraps around your head and the mic sticks out from your face.  No lapel mic for this run through Beggar’s Canyon.

It helped that I had spent some time backstage with one of my good friends before I had to speak.  In fact she had the best line from the whole day as we rolled through backstage like we knew what we were doing:  “I’m with him and he’s in the band”.  As I walked into the room, and began to realize what I had gotten myself into, I staggered my way – I don’t walk, I stagger…it’s like Jack Sparrow without the rum – toward the front row in the middle section of the hotel ballroom.  In the front row held the one thing that assured me I’d make it through this successfully: my friends who had come to hear me speak and support me in this new adventure.  A cadre of the best of the best in DC, folks who have walked with me through many valleys and adventures in this town (and I them).  These are some of the folks dearest to me, those with whom I’ve built community.

As I took the stage and an introduction began (done by the mother of one of my closest childhood friends who was also speaking at the conference), the folks in this row began taking pictures and recording what was happening.  Before I knew it, what began with talking about courage and referencing Star Wars ended with Batman and Gotham City…with spoken snapshots of life in-between.  As the Q/A wrapped up – complete with a student in a Batman shirt asking who my favorite superhero was –  and the panel ended, students wanted to talk life and superheroes and take pictures.

Later that night, as I watched the Incredibles, I thought back to some of the jokes my friends made after the panel about me having a fan-club comprised of some who heard the speech and how I was probably their hero.  As I pondered this, I realized that I may have a fan club, but it wasn’t really those I spoke to as much as it was those who sat in the front row.  It’s these folks I’d rather be a hero to: the ones who know me, know what I’m going to tell the audience – geek references and all – and STILL come hear me speak.  While inspiring others – who you don’t know – by what you say is good, being able to inspire those who DO know you is better.  It’s something that is far more action-oriented.  As The Dark Knight once said “It’s…what I do that defines me”.

Who is your “front row”?

Some of the “Front Row” that came to hear me speak this weekend.



Posted on by Aaron in Uncategorized

About Aaron

Author, Speaker, and Super Nerd. Aaron Welty speaks and writes regularly connecting the dots of life, faith, and science fiction. Originally from Michigan, he now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

Add a Comment