Shaun Derik: Being T.H.E.R.E Workshop


Photo courtesy of the GPS website.

Shaun Derik, motivational speaker, hosted a virtual workshop for Glenbard parents on February 18th, 2021 in honor of Live Life Well Week. Derik spoke to attendees on how to meet adolescent needs by being present through the techniques disclosed in his book, Being T.H.E.R.E: Five Ways to Actively Engage Young People.

Instead of jumping straight into his content, and as a way to keep his audience active from the start, Derik asked them to continuously provide him with feedback in the chat feature on what he did in his presentation that they found impactful. Derik included elements of entertainment in his presentation—questions to the audience, pop culture references, and comedic skits—and broke down the process that keeps youth actively listening and learning. This process is entailed in the acronym T.H.E.R.E: being “thoughtful,” being “heard,” being an “example,” being ironically “wrong,” and being “enough.” 

In essence, for parents to be present for their children, they need to be loving, personable, and reassuring, while also assertive and unafraid to support the right decision when their child makes the wrong one. Parents need to lead by their own actions that can make a “ripple” or “wave,” but also be able to appeal to their child by having a basic understanding on how their child communicates with people their own age.

When asked as to why his workshops maintain such a fast pace, Derik explained that he turns his seminar “into a production” to “make it feel like you are not in a classroom.” His intention is to “keep […] people glued to their screens.” This way, his viewers can “embrace [what he teaches].” And, his targeted audience is not just parents: “anyone who works with young people” can benefit from “learning these techniques.” 

Derik came to the realization of these methods when he reflected on the people, one of them being his music teacher, that “got his attention,” as he put it. Just like how “industries change” and “fads change,” teaching styles also have to change to appeal to students. The “only way for a young person to learn is if they are present,” and it is the teacher’s responsibility to “make learning fun by including everyone,” which his music teacher ultimately did for him, as he mentioned. 

Derik elaborated that “people [will] always support what they help create,” just like how his mentors did with him, and, in general, how all adults should do with children if they follow Being T.H.E.R.E.