However, have you ever heard that message from someone trying to turn you into a rabbit?
Hudson County comedian and magician Mike Gomez "Mickey Magic" does just that through his unique summer motivational youth workshop "The Magic in You," where he warns kids of the dangers of drugs and alcohol abuse, smoking, and the importance of reading.
The only difference is he delivers this message while dazzling young kids with the tricks of his trade.
"As a parent, I'm concerned about the many negative images that bombard our kids every day," said Gomez. "With [the show] I project an energetic and positive image in an urban-centric kind of way."
Now you see it, now you don't
Whether it's a never ending string of paper being pulled from his mouth by a stunned participant or taking a moment to address serious topics, over the last three years Gomez has successfully commanded the attention of the classroom to get his important messages across.
"It was fantastic, I liked it. One day I [hope to be] a magic woman," said Lionetta Poneys, 10, of Newark's Roseville School. "I learned that I [need] to eat healthy and I will not smoke when I grow up."
Lionetta also got to keep a lovely paper hat Gomez made during the performance last Tuesday. "I'm going to give it to my mother for her birthday," she said.
"This is not just a magic show, this is about teaching and motivating," said Gomez. "Magic is what you have inside."
The show has been performed in the Newark school district over the last three years. Gomez does a total of 25 to 30 performances from the late spring to the summer.
The motivational magic workshop is brought to the kids in the Summer Youth Development Program of Newark's Office of Extended School Day Programs (OESDP), which is a six-week program offered at several school sites in the city.
"It was fun and really exciting, I really enjoyed it," said Cynthia Evans, lead teacher for the Roseville School site, where the show took place last Tuesday. Evans runs the site with fellow teacher Joseph Batista.
"It motivated the kids to learn to read and do positive things, and that is what we're all about here," said Evans.
The program offers students in 3rd to 12th grade structured, safe, and positive academic activities from 1 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.
How did he do that?
In his recent performance at Roseville School, Gomez mesmerized his young audience with some of his best tricks. One included an optical illusion, which made the size of his head decrease or increase in front of his stunned audience, who cried out, "How did he do that?"
In addition, one little volunteer participated in a trick, where Gomez stuffed several shreds of paper in his mouth, and had her pull out a long continuous string of paper, much to her surprise.
"I like it because it's magic, it's really fun, and it's really weird and funny," said Sasha Hernandez, 7, who was Gomez's assistant during the paper trick. "I was surprised. I thought he wanted me to pull it out and put it in my mouth."
Earlier in the presentation, he also promised to turn a child into a rabbit, which he did with 7-year-old volunteer Christian Gittens. Although he didn't turn him into an actual rabbit, Gomez did get a laugh by having a picture of a rabbit appear with a cut-out to fit Christian's face.
"I didn't think that he was going to turn me into a rabbit," said Christian.
Despite Gomez's clowning around, he is a certified smoking cessation youth counselor, and a motivational speaker. So, in between his magical and comedic routines, he also stopped to talk about youth issues.
During the show Gomez touched upon self-esteem, including, having confidence and pride. He discussed the health dangers of drugs and smoking and the financial cost of smoking. He explained that he once had a smoking habit, but quit a long time ago.
Gomez also stressed the importance of reading, especially about history.
"If you don't study history you will be doomed to repeat it," he said. "Trick to that is reading."
He also told the one place anyone can learn to be a magician.
"All these tricks can be found in one place - the library," said Gomez. "It's all in the books."
Gomez had 24 shows in Newark this year and three in the Bronx, and is also hoping to bring this program to more schools in the New York City school system.
"I want to be considered an artist and a talented performer," said Gomez. "I want to be seen as a smart guy who educates and motivates utilizing my art form as my vehicle."
Gomez has a contract agreement with the Newark Board of Education to provide 25 motivational magic shows for children throughout the spring and summer months.
In addition, he performs regularly at McDonalds and IHOP restaurants for family night magic shows.
"Kids come up to me and say, 'Mickey you rock,' " said Gomez. "It doesn't get much better than that. It's a great gig and I love my job." Jessica Rosero can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org