Today an invitation came in our email for Zach to attend an AMAZING event at Queen’s University. I struggle a bit with organizing events and I probably over-complicate them. What would he enjoy? What is he feeling up to? Will we burn him out? What are people expecting? What can I nudge (force) him to do – even if he isn’t excited – because I think it will be a great opportunity? Well, maybe it isn’t that I ‘struggle’, I just don’t ever want to PUSH Zach to do something he truly doesn’t or can’t do.
This journey has been an amazing learning experience for all of us here in the Hofer/Clark household. Zach, by far, has stretched the furthest outside of his comfort zone. Derek and I had somewhat of an idea of what to expect with this whole idea of Zach’s – but I don’t think Zach knew what was coming.
We tried our best to prepare him for what might happen. And although we didn’t expect him to raise so much (almost $110,000 now!), we didn’t expect there to be so much attention. One of the first things we talk about when making presentations about Zach Makes Tracks is that Zach learned he isn’t a big fan of public speaking.
It was about May of 2017, after an unfortunate incident with a reporter, when Zach asked me to share his anxiety of public speaking to the kids we were visiting that day. He was terrified to say the wrong thing. I thought it wasn’t a great idea to share his anxiety, after all – people expect a performance don’t they? But he insisted, and he was right!
It wasn’t soon after that presentation that we started receiving messages from the ‘introverted and quiet’ kids saying they were inspired by Zach’s honesty and had ideas of their own to support him and his quest. Kids were finding Zach at events to donate their allowances and funds raised during their own bake sales and lemonade stands. These were some of the most impactful moments for us. Parents also reached out to say they were relieved to see that we were being honest about this journey, it’s impact on Zach and how we were sharing this story.
Honesty is always the best route. Not always the easiest, but the best in the long run. I think my issue was that I thought there was supposed to be a profound message – an epiphany, or some sort of epic revelation about what this kid was doing. But there wasn’t. This simply was about Zach doing what he could to help kids. Our goal right from the beginning was to make sure this remained a 13 year old’s version of his dream. I could have pushed and forced, but that would have been disastrous, and I would have had a son that didn’t trust me anymore.
The following interview with Kevin Richards from Kevin Richards VIP on Rogers was one of Zach’s longest and most heartfelt interviews yet. Slowly but surely, Zach is opening himself, stretching, growing and trusting. When you find half an hour – sit back and watch Zach being his goofy, humble self. Click here to watch!
We are fortunate that Zach has had many mentors over the past year who have coached him and guided him to grow and adjust to the requests he receives. Thank you to all of them, and to the media members who treated Zach with respect and patience.
Always, always simply speak from your sweet heart, Zach. You’re doing amazing.