YOUR LIFE SPEAKS. Nathan Harmon was guest speaker at Parke Heritage High School. His captivating style of motivational speaking has enabled him to reach thousands of students across the United States. (Sentinel photo by Christina Gray)
By Christina Gray
Students were captivated Thursday, October 11; by the energetic, fast-talking motivational speaker Nathan Harmon during his Your Life Speaks monologue at Parke Heritage High School.
Harmon has been speaking to high schools across the state of Indiana, and, recently, across the country, for the past few years. This school year, already, he has given his motivational speech to more than 70 schools.
“Hi, I’m Nate,” Harmon began. “Tell me, how many of you come from a broken home?” Hands all across the bleachers were raised. Harmon told the students that he was from a broken home…that his parents’ divorced when he was a teenager, and he put on a “mask” and did not deal with the pain he was feeling. The pressure, he said, built; he harbored anger towards his parents and himself, and this pressure played a large part in his beginning to abuse drugs and alcohol.
He impressed upon the PHHS students that their circumstances were not in control of their futures, all of their anger and feelings were valid, and that humans have an innate need to talk about what they feel. He urged the students not be embarrassed to discuss their hurt and their pain.
“It’s okay…to not be okay,” said Harmon. He took the kids on a verbal journey through his teens and early twenties, detailing his struggles with self-harm and attempted suicide. He told them how he was kicked out of school, kicked out of the military, and how, at 23 years old, he was involved in an accident while he was drinking and driving, which resulted in the death of a friend.
“At Parke Heritage, how many of you have heard a classmate, or a friend, make mention of harming themselves, or ending their lives?” Harmon asked.
Again, a sea of hands was in the air.
“When you’re hurting it is really easy to hurt people,” he told them, “but you never know what other people are going through. You never know if you’re going to be a person’s last straw.”
Harmon continued to stress the importance not using your pain to cause others pain. He instructed the students to go home and ask themselves, “Why am I doing this? Why am I treating people the way that I’m treating people?”
“I want each of you to be successful, and all of you who are abusive to others, you are never going to reach your full potential if you’re constantly stepping on people to keep your mask on.”
Harmon continued to stress the importance of talking about your struggles, not letting your pain build up, and not letting your pain cause you to put others down so that you don’t seem weak. Seek out friends who you know are hurting, and talk to them about their struggles. Be someone who helps others reach their potential.
Other themes throughout the talk included going for your goals even if you are afraid, surrounding yourself with the friends that will help you become a better person, and working hard to achieve your dreams.
“Hard work will outwork talented people who don’t want to work hard.” Harmon repeated this line several times. A quiet murmur of agreement spread through students and teachers in the crowd.
“None of you,” Harmon continued, “absolutely none of you, has made too many mistakes.”
The entire duration of the talk, all eyes and ears were trained, intently, upon Harmon. His energy and powerful language kept everyone in the room captivated for more than an hour and half.
At the end of the program the students were asked to take out their cell phones. They were first instructed to take a photo of Nathan and his social media information. Then, they were asked to take a photo of themselves.
“Take a picture of you because, for the first time in a long time maybe, you’re not wearing your emotional mask. You’re not hiding.”