“… if you look through the Project itself and all the people that are inspired by so many different things, whether it’s family or desire or nature or plastic bags, people are definitely inspired by all sorts of things, and it’s just … it really comes down to what you value and what you believe in. And if you can find things to be inspired by that, then I think that it’s pretty awesome …”
Toni Reece: I am absolutely thrilled to have my two favorite people in the whole world on the very last day with me, and hopefully … well, who knows what’s going to happen! But I would like to introduce to you my two boys, Jesse and Madison. Hey guys!
Jesse Cronan and Madison Reece: Hey!
Toni: All right. We’ve got Jesse, who is in the UK right now, and Madison who is in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, and they’ve agreed to be part of the last interview of the very first year. So thanks a lot guys, I really appreciate you doing this.
Madison: Hey, no problem.
Jesse: Anything for you, mom.
Toni: Thanks, guys. All right, so when you guys think about inspiration, who do you inspire and how does that happen? Who wants to go first?
Jesse: Thanks, Madison. Yeah, I’ll go first. For me personally, sometimes I don’t even know if we know that we’re inspiring someone or not, you know what I mean? Like we might be just in our own world and through what we’re doing in our own world, we can just inspire people, but you know, a lot of the time I don’t actively go out and be like, “Oh, I’m going to … you know, this guy looks … this guy passed me on the street – he looks like he could use some inspiration. Hey, buddy!”
I don’t really look at it like that, but I have like a certain moral fabric that I try and adhere to and hopefully people see things that I’m doing, like how I’m living my life, and maybe gain inspiration from that, or musically – because I do art and music. And if someone gets inspired by that, then it makes me happy and hopefully makes them happy.
Toni: So it’s really about how you life your life, the examples that you set, and you don’t purposely go out to inspire, but you think it might happen just by somebody kind of seeing how you’re living your life?
Jesse: Yeah, yeah, definitely.
Toni: Okay. How about you, Madison? Who do you inspire and how?
Madison: I don’t know if I necessarily specifically inspire any one person in general, but I can say that as of now at least I know that I do inspire a set of individuals that I work with that I definitely have an influence – hopefully positively – on their life.
Just on a day-to-day basis, I’m like Jesse – I don’t really go around and try and spot the Debbie Downers and, you know, try to inspire them to do things more positively, but I would say that if there are people that are in need of or in a troubled situation, I would say I definitely do what I can and just try and lead by example. So I agree with that.
Toni: And so the work that you’re doing, Madison, what is … Jesse said that he is into art and music. Just so that you can tell people that are listening, what is it that you’re doing right now in your work?
Madison: Well, I work with adolescents who have behavioral issues because of emotional problems in their past. Kids that have troubled home lives and poor situations, and there’s nothing that they can really do about it because they’re in a point in their lives that they don’t have the ability to do that. It’s nice to be able to, you know, have the ability to … somebody that’s listening, people that need it, and whether I’m doing it to the best of my ability or not, it’s just … it’s nice to be able to positively influence these kids that don’t necessarily have a role model in any way.
Toni: Okay. So when you guys think about how you might help somebody else to explore their own potential, have you ever experienced that? Or have you ever had anybody say to you, “You know what, because of watching you, this is what I learned. This is what I was able to do.” Jesse, how about you?
Jesse: Well, I’d say the area that this might happen most in for me is if I’m doing anything musically with other people, because that seems to be where this might happen the most in my life.
You know, like there’s been certain people who see how I’m making music or going about art a certain way, and they’ll be like, “Oh, that’s pretty cool – where did you learn how to do that?” And they’re like, “What’s that? How do you actually do this?” Then I’ll just … just because you know how to do something … there’s certain musicians I’ve noticed that don’t like to show their secrets, you know what I mean, because they’re afraid that once someone knows how to do something, it’s like competition kind of. You know what I mean? Like, “Oh, well, I don’t want this guy learning all the tricks of the trade.”
I think you should just share. It’s nice to help people out to see where they can get to, you know what I mean. And for them to say that you directly inspired them to make this, that’s pretty cool, you know? That’s kind of … I think that inspires you back in a way because, it’s like “Oh, wow, awesome!” People helping people out.
Toni: Isn’t that part of really why you would be into music or into art is part of the reason that you want to be able to inspire and share?
Jesse: Yes. That’s a great thing about music. It’s like you can share it with anyone. As long as you know how … even if you don’t know how to play an instrument, you can sit down with people and just bang on stuff and it’s fun.
Jesse: To just help people out in that area is good.
Toni: Madison, how about you? How do you think by the work that you do – and I know that you have worked with kids many, many times in many capacities – how do you think you might help them to explore their potential by something that you might have done or demonstrated? What’s happened with you?
Madison: I don’t know … I think the big thing, especially with working with youth and adolescents and being, you know, closer to that age than maybe most people would be that are working with them … I don’t know. It’s really a lead by example. A case-by-case, lead by example kind of thing.
It’s definitely … it’s definitely the type of thing that you … because there’s been plenty of times where I definitely made the wrong choice or did the thing that probably wasn’t the best idea at the time, and to use those examples that I have in my own life – and there’s probably going to be plenty more – but to use those examples and kind of use them as guidelines to direct people towards the right path and kind of show them that making a simple choice, a simple easy choice … not going down the wrong road or being around the wrong people can really make a huge difference in how their life actually takes place.
Toni: Wow. So okay guys, what inspires you?
Jesse: Do you want to go first, Madison?
Madison: What inspires me? Yeah, sure. Sure, Jesse, I would love to go first.
Jesse: All right.
Madison: What inspires me? I don’t know, I would say just the … to be truthful, I would say my family is definitely the biggest inspiration that I have. My immediate family. When I say that, I mean … you know, for example, you, Mom, and all the hardship that you’ve gone through and still go through and all the negative things that have come about and negative things that people say and do, and all the people that turn their back on you, yet you still hold true to your values and beliefs and what you want to do, I think is extraordinary.
Jesse, for you to be in a situation where you were traveling the world, doing amazing things, and then to just realize that maybe it’s time to get out and do your own thing, and to have the balls and the desire to do that is, I think, amazing.
My dad as well. It’s the same thing with you, Mom. The things that’s he gone through and the disappointments that he’s faced, especially over the past couple of years and just the way that he handles himself and the fact that 99% of the time he has a smile on his face and he does … he cares about what he believes in, and I think that’s what’s important.
So to see that if everyone in my family can succeed despite everything that they’ve been through and all the nonsense that they go through, then there’s no reason that anyone can’t.
Toni: Thank you, Madison. Jesse?
Jesse: I definitely agree with Madison on the family part. He pretty much nailed it on the head, so I won’t go back into that.
It’s funny, because you can get inspiration pretty much anywhere if you have your eyes open, you know what I mean? To use – this might be a little cheesy – but in American Beauty, the guy who tapes the plastic bag just floating around and to him, it’s this beautiful movement and it’s kind of like just chaos caught on videotape, the wind just randomly pushing this bag around.
Some people would look at that and think, you know, “Wow, you taped a bag – you’re an idiot.” But to this person, it was beautiful. I have to say sometimes things like that randomly happen to me. Different people you meet – like, you know, for me, meeting people from different parts of the world is really inspiring because it’s like, “Wow, things are so different where you are.” It’s like, I love finding out the little intricacies that make up different people and different places and connections that you can make with people and places and experiences and all that crazy shit.
Madison: Well, I definitely … I don’t know if I can interject – I just may agree with Jesse also on the … you can be inspired by anything. I mean, it doesn’t even have to be a person, per se. You can be inspired really, I don’t know, just by anything.
I mean, if you look through the Project itself and all the people that are inspired by so many different things, whether it’s family or desire or nature or plastic bags, people are definitely inspired by all sorts of things, and it’s just … it really comes down to what you value and what you believe in. And if you can find things to be inspired by that, then I think that it’s pretty awesome and pretty easy to come by if you believe in the right things.
Toni: That’s amazing, too – and you’re right, there’s so many … it doesn’t matter what it is, and that is what has been the beauty of this Project. And that’s why we want to continue the Project, because it could be the most ordinary thing that is just the most extraordinary. It all is about your perception. So it’s really amazing. It’s really amazing.
So guys, what are you doing now to continue to explore your own potential so that you can continue to be inspired?
Madison: Jesse, you should take that one first.
Jesse: You know what, I think I will.
Madison: That’s a you question.
Jesse: For myself personally, like I said with the first question, I try and keep a certain moral fabric about myself. And sometimes I don’t always live up to that because I am human and, you know, I mess up, but I try and keep my mind sharp. I try and keep pretty up to date on current events just so I know what’s going on. I like to know what’s going on in the world.
I like to do yoga and keep my mind and body limber. You know, just stay mentally, emotionally, physically fit, and just be ready for anything and just always be practicing and working towards the next thing or the next … just working on things that I need to get better at as a person, musically, and all over.
Toni: So for you, it’s really just kind of keeping yourself centered and your head straight and your body healthy so that you can take advantage of all the things that you want to do.
Jesse: Yeah, and like if you … it’s really hard to go out and help others if you’re not in a good place yourself, you know what I mean?
Toni: Absolutely. Absolutely. Madison, how about you?
Madison: Well, what Jesse said definitely makes a lot of sense, and I believe in that, too. I mean, obviously, I’m not musically talented by any means so it’s not necessarily music, but to keep your mind right and just try and stay on a path that you’ve taken.
I think a big thing is, is that if change does happen, you just have to roll with it and continue to value everything that you value, and once … especially now because in the next three months, I don’t have really a selected path that I’ll be taking. So to stay inspired for me right now is just to really realize that anything that I want to do, you know, obviously, I can do, and …
Jesse: I think … oh, sorry.
Madison: No, go ahead.
Jesse: I agree with Madison. I was going to say, I think a good word here to use is being flexible or having flexibility, because if you’re rigid and if you’re standing steadfast and stuff, a lot of stuff could come your way and you might not be ready for it because you’re standing so like firm and stuff. But to be flexible, you can kind of like bounce off things and move around in your own way. Life might be a lot easier to deal with, if not more fun, you know what I mean?
Madison: Right. Flexibility is huge because, you know, at the end of the day, especially, being 22 years old and for you, Jesse, 27, I mean we’re young enough now to where there’s endless possibilities just based on how motivated you really are. I mean, you can talk a big game and you can say that you want to do all these things and blah, blah, but not many people would pack up and go to Europe and do that and if that’s what they want to do, and not many people would stick with something for so long until it clicks and until it works.
It’s the kind of thing where you just have to keep your mind open, and you just have to stay on your toes and be ready for anything that comes your way, and you know, have the inspiration to – whether it’s positive or negative – to be able to handle it, and go about things the way that you were raised to handle them.
If it happens to be a positive thing that comes your way, then jump on it and do what you can and do it to the best of your ability, and you know, if it’s negative, then that’s where the inspiration I guess really would take effect, because that’s when you need to understand that everything that happens … it is cliché to say that everything happens for a reason, but in many aspects it’s kind of true.
If a door were to close on you to have the flexibility like Jesse said to, you know … if a door or a window of opportunity were to close or you realized that it’s coming to an end to be able to handle that and move in and make the best of a bad situation, I think, is huge. And to be inspired to do that is definitely something that if you have the ability to that, there’s no reason why you couldn’t.
Toni: I think what both of you said is absolutely true, because there’s a lot of people that are inspired every day, and then there’s a lot of people who just don’t see it; they’re not aware. So I think awareness is the first thing. The awareness that “Okay, I have a choice here. If I want to, I can, you know …” and I think that that awareness is huge, and being flexible enough and working towards it. So I think you’re both right on. Is there anything else that you guys … anything you want to add before we close the interview?
Madison: Well, I guess, it must be noted that we are the last interview, so I think whether it gets transcribed on there or not, that there needs to be a congratulations to you, of course, because …
Jesse: Yeah, you made it.
Madison: Yes. You did it. This is the 365th interview. Congratulations. That’s absolutely awesome!
Toni: Thank you. Jesse, how about you? Anything you want to say?
Jesse: I agree with what Madison said. I mean, let’s see what the next year holds for everyone and keep chugging along.
Toni: Absolutely, and you know, I have to say that – and this isn’t being cheesy and this isn’t for … it’s coming right from the heart – but everyone who has followed this Project from all around the world, the emails that we’ve gotten, the response that we’ve gotten, I have learned so much from every single interview. And to have both of my children on this last day of this first year means more to me than anything.
I hope all of you out there who have listened to these two incredible human beings that also can hear just how great it is, and we all have our struggles and we all have our challenges, but I’m inspired by my kids and I just cannot thank you both enough for … really, for doing this, for inspiring me, for taking your time, and just being who you are, both of you. Jesse and Madison, thank you so very much. I love you both so much. Thank you for being part of the Get Inspired! Project.
Madison: Of course. I love you too.
Jesse: Thank you.