Why Life with Pizzazz? 

There are a lot of teachers in my family. Growing up, two things that were non-negotiable were having manners and giving 110% on school work. At the end of every birthday party we attended, my brother and I would be expected to say to the host, “Thank you very much. I had a lovely time.” While I may have rolled my eyes a time or two at these enforced rules, I am so thankful for these values that were instilled in me. We plan to carry these same values on to our children. 

In 5th grade, I had to write a book report and present it to my class. I wrote the report no problem, but then it was time to practice the presentation. Picture this: 11 year old Allison standing in front of the fireplace in the family room. My Mom was standing a room away at the kitchen island and I was to present my book report clearly and distinctly so that my Mom could hear me. This practice went on for quite awhile. Once I had mastered speaking loudly and clearly enough for the “audience” to hear, I thought I was all set for the following day’s presentation. My Mom wasn't convinced.

PIZZAZZ. That’s what was missing. My presentation needed more gumption, more excitement, more energy, and more personality. My Mom could hear my book report and understand what I was saying, but it needed an “umph,” something exciting to make it memorable. Instead of just reading the report, my Mom encouraged me to use emotion and really think about what I was presenting.

I practiced and practiced and was finally excited to present my project! To this day I can still recite the first line of that book report that I did on the book Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry in Mrs. Glaser’s 5th grade class. I can picture the costume that I wore. I can still see the interested and attentive looks on the faces of my classmates as I presented my book. It was in that moment that I knew my presentation did in fact have PIZZAZZ.

Did I give 110% effort on this school assignment? Yes, but I gained more from this report than simply working hard and a good grade. Preparing for this book report not only helped me learn the importance of public speaking, it taught me to approach each day with vivacity and spunk.

As an adult, I do my best to approach each day with confidence and a little pizzazz! Does it happen every day? Not always. Do I have rough days filled with doubt? Of course. Whenever I need a pick-me-up, I think about my Mom’s pep talk to 11 year old Allison and the word PIZZAZZ brings a smile to my face. Then I’m ready to take on the day and all of the adventures life has in store for us that day.