In the course of a year, I hear a lot of speeches at conferences, workshops and meetings.
Few can compare to the address today by Allison Stoutland, a children’s book author and coach’s wife, who spoke at the Doing What Matters Conference For Alabama’s Children Conference at The University of Alabama.
“I’m just a stressed-out mom,” Stoutland, told the nearly 400 people assembled in Sellers Auditorium. ” I can’t believe I’m up here speaking with people. I’m totally shy.”
Yet, this shy public speaker shared wisdom in her own special way that inspired folks like me who want to publish books and make a difference in the lives of young people.
“Every one of us is an author. We have a story to tell,” she said.
From her experiences as a kindergarten teacher to being a wife of Jeff Stoutland (Alabama offensive line coach) after he was fired, Stoutland’s twisted journey from Ithaca New York to East Lansing Michigan, Miami, Florida and now Tuscaloosa, Ala. has been filled with life’s lessons.
When shared as they were today, those lessons can make another person’s experience a little bit easier.
As I picked up a set of her autographed books after Stoutland’s address, I was most careful not to try to read them in front of her.
“I still to this day dislike watching people read my words,” Stoutland said.
In her address, I learned what a 8-page pencil dummy is when you’re trying to write a 32-page book.
I became more acquainted with the way that an author should interact with his/her artist or graphic designer.
And, I have a little more sensitivity to the impact of my news reporting on a coaching change in college football.
From her experience, I understand what it means to be a child with divorced parent
“There are always going to be struggles,” she said. “All those things are part of the job.”