02.29.16

How to Build an Unstoppable Volunteer Team by Children’s Ministry Magazine

childrensministry.com

Do-it-yourself strategies on building an unstoppable volunteer team—straight from the Carpenter.

Have you ever wondered what ministry would be like with a dedicated and faithful volunteer team — a team filled with people willing to immediately drop what they’re doing to serve? Sound impossible? Jesus gave a strong and powerful recruiting presentation in which he simply said, “Come follow me.” Immediately, the disciples dropped their nets, quit their jobs, and even left their families to follow him. What could you accomplish in your ministry if you had a team with that level of dedication? (Okay, maybe not the part about leaving their families…but really, how valuable would such a team be?)

Almost every role in ministry involves working and interacting with others. Regardless of whether you’re building teams of leaders, teachers, or assistants, you can create an atmosphere where people — rather than positions or responsibilities — are valued. Jesus is a great example; he spoke to his disciples through his actions: building connections, partners, success, and balance — and ultimately, value. You can do it yourself, too. Continue reading

02.29.16

Restoring Broken Fellowship: Getting Along with One Another by Rick Warren

pastors.com

God has restored our relationship with Him through Christ, and has given us this ministry of restoring relationships. — 2 Corinthians 5:18 (GWT)

Relationships are always worth restoring. God has given us the ministry of restoring relationships. For this reason a significant amount of the New Testament is devoted to teaching us how to get along with one another. 

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if His love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care — then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. — Philippians 2:1-2 (MSG)

Shame on you! Surely there is at least one wise person in your fellowship who can settle a dispute between fellow Christians. — 1 Corinthians 6:5 (TEV)

I’ll put it as urgently as I can: You must get along with each other. — 1 Corinthians 1:10(MSG)

Jesus said, “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” — Matthew 5:9 (NLT)

You are only hurting yourself with your anger. — Job 18:4 (TEV)

God has called us to settle our relationships with each other. — 2 Corinthians 5:18(MSG)

Here are seven biblical steps to restoring fellowship:

1. Talk to God before talking to the person. 

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. — James 4:1-2 (NIV)

2. Always take the initiative. 

Jesus said, “If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.” — Matthew 5:23-24 (MSG)

3. Sympathize with their feelings.

Look out for another’s interests, not just for your own. — Philippians 2:4 (TEV)

A person’s wisdom yields patience;
it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. — Proverbs 19:11 (NIV)

Let’s please the other fellow, not ourselves, and do what is for his good. — Romans 15:2(LB)

Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you. — Ephesians 4:29 (TEV)

4. Confess your part of the conflict. 

Jesus said, “First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” — Matthew 7:5 (NLT)

If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. — 1 John 1:8 (MSG)

5. Attack the problem, not the person. 

When my thoughts were bitter and my feelings were hurt, I was as stupid as an animal. — Psalm 73:21-22 (TEV)

A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. — Proverbs 15:1 (MSG)

A wise, mature person is known for his understanding. The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is. — Proverbs 16:21 (TEV)

6. Cooperate as much as possible.

Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody. — Romans 12:18(TEV)

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. — Matthew 5:9 (MSG)

7. Emphasize reconciliation, not resolution. 

Work hard at living at peace with others. — 1 Peter 3:11 (NLT)

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” — Matthew 5:9 (NIV)

Christ did not indulge His own feelings… as scripture says: The insults of those who insult you fall on me. — Romans 15:3 (NJB)

Excerpted with permission from Daily Inspiration for the Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, copyright Zondervan.

02.29.16

A Selfie-Obsessed Generation by Kolby Milton

youthministrymedia.ca

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU TOOK A SELFIE?

Okay, I’ll be honest—the last time I took one was last night. I was at youth group, and I wanted to get a picture with my small group of students. People are obsessed with taking pictures of themselves. It’s crazy! Think about it: how many photos in your Instagram feed have your face in them?

When we talk about idols today, one of the big ones this generation is facing is narcissism. It’s all about us. I recently read about how Kim Kardashian photoshopped her Instagram photos. It’s not surprising when we live in a culture that’s so image-obsessed.

A woman named Essena O’Neill quit Instagram claiming that nothing was real about her account. She states in this article in THE GUARDIAN: “Yet I, myself, was consumed by it. This was the reason why I quit social media: for me, personally, it consumed me. I wasn’t living in a 3D world.” Of her FIRST-EVER POST, a selfie that now has close to 2,500 likes, she said: “I remember I obsessively checked the like count for a full week since uploading it. It got 5 likes. This was when I was so hungry for social media validation . . . Now marks the day I quit all social media and focus on real life projects.”

There’s an idolatry associated with social media. What’s the image we’re putting out there? What are we trying to receive from it? Some of the students I work with understand that they could make a ton of money from Instagram if they leverage it right. There’s a thing about being “insta” famous.

The infographic from RAWHIDE.ORG called “Selfie Obsession: The Rise of Social Media Narcissism” is timely.

Here are few things that stand out:

  1. Every year, teens spend the equivalent of seven working days taking selfies. This is crazy!
  2. Traits of selfie-obsessed teens are over-friending and self-promotion. When was the last time you unfriended people? I try to do it every two months. I can’t keep up with my friends at my church, so why would I think having more than 500 friends on Facebook would help build relationships? (With that said, I have built some awesome friendships online, and last year I was able to hang out with a few of those awesome people.) There are warning signs of people who are complete narcissists. If you see any of these signs, you should address it. Our students shouldn’t feel as if their worth is based on the number of likes they have. You are not your likes on social media.
  3. The three Rs of selfie-control: reduce, rethink, reflect. These are gold. I‘ve been saying for years that if your social media accounts aren’t fostering real relationships, then why have them? Everything we do should be leading us to face-to-face conversations—otherwise it really isn’t necessary.

As a youth worker, you probably see this all the time. You might even see other youth workers struggle with a selfie addition. I wonder how we can point people back to the gospel and how we can teach others that our worth isn’t based on something—it’s based on someone: Jesus. This is powerful knowledge for a teenager drowning in a selfish culture.

02.29.16

How Teens Media Consumption Has Changed with Infographic

youthministrymedia.ca

Things have really changed in 10 years.  Do you notice the media consumption today in students?

I don’t know about you, but I have noticed my own media consumption changing.  I don’t have cable tv anymore, and I want to watch shows that are streamed.

Working with parents today with teenagers is difficult.  It really is hard to explain to a parent the complexities of their kids being raised in a digital world.  The parents weren’t, and they are the first generation to raise digitally native kids.  I feel like it’s a learning experience for the way I will raise my kids in a digital world.

This infographic is called: True Facts About Teens And Media: Now & Then.  It’s really interesting, and it’s worth sharing.

Here are some things that stand out:

  1. Teenagers are looking at screens for 7 and a half hours per day.   Is this alarming?  I am not sure.  When I look at my own life I know that I am spending tons of hours each day looking at a screen.  I think it’s so important that we are still helping students get away from technology for a period of time.  I still try to make camp a phone free zone.
  2. 71% of teens have TV’s in their bedrooms.  Having a TV in their room isn’t alarming, it’s the other digital devices.  If parents think it’s ok for their kids to have a TV in their rooms, why shouldn’t they have a laptop, iPad or iPhone in their room?  This is one issue where I think that parents today are really naive.  They don’t understand how destructive these devices can be.  We will be dealing with the ramifications of these devices being allowed anywhere without boundaries for the next 10 years.
  3. On average teenagers send 60 messages a day.  That is just on average.  That doesn’t seem like a ton, but what it shows you is that you should have a texting strategy for your youth ministry.  I have a great texting program that I use all the time to text messages to students.  It’s worth communicating where the students are at.  They are all texting.

02.22.16

What You Need to Know About Kids’ Spiritual Development by Children’s Ministry Magazine

childrensministry.com/articles/spiritual-moral-development

We tracked down four noted experts to demystify kids’ spiritual development by the ages. Read on to learn how to reach—and teach—the wonderful little people in your ministry!

Every age and every stage presents its challenges and joys—just ask the parents of kids in your ministry! No matter what age group you work with—babies, preschoolers, elementary, or preteens—you have your hands full with the big task of imparting God’s truth into kids’ minds and hearts.

BABIES AND TODDLERS: Faith-Filled Environments

Not long ago a children’s ministry volunteer said to me that little ones just can’t learn and understand spiritual concepts like older children. Perhaps others in your church agree with her impression of babies’ learning abilities. The truth is, though, that this stage of infancy may seem simplistic to adults; however, it’s a vital first step in spiritual growth.

Relationships are central to healthy spiritual growth in the lives of the very youngest. Infants and toddlers bond with the parents, grandparents, teachers, and other caregivers who look after their physical and emotional needs. Because adults care for their needs, infants develop a sense of trust. According to the psychologist Erik Erikson, infants who successfully learn to trust develop hope. And Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” In the first two years of life, the foundational concepts of spiritual formation–trust and hope–grow.

Additionally, while caring for the physical and emotional needs of infants and toddlers, adults teach them the language of faith. When soothing a crying infant, for instance, a teacher sings a song about Jesus. In the toddler room, children hear about Noah and the Ark. Parents talk about God and Jesus in their daily conversations with babies and toddlers. That’s where growth comes from.

Ministry to Babies and Toddlers You can support infants and toddlers’ spiritual growth using these tips.

  • Read to little ones about God and Jesus. Simple Bibles for toddlers such as board books about God’s creation, animals, and family are great choices.
  • Talk often about God and Jesus.
  • Tell children constantly that Jesus loves them.
  • Use teachable moments to highlight spiritual truths.
  • As children learn to talk, help instill words of our faith such as God, Jesus, Bible, and pray in their vocabulary.
  • Include infants and toddlers in spiritual activities such as worship and prayer.
  • Know that infants and toddlers really do learn at church.
  • Invite little ones to special worship occasions.
  • Encourage parents to have their youngest children present during prayer times at home.
  • Pray with infants and toddlers. Explain that prayer is talking to God.
  • Make prayer a part of the routine in your classroom.
  • Remember that children discover God from infancy. Paul wrote to Timothy “from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures” (2 Timothy 3:15).

Joyce Meyers holds a Ph.D. in early childhood education. She teaches classes on early childhood education at Dallas Baptist University.

PRESCHOOLERS: At Their Level

When one of my children was 4 years old, I found her searching her bedroom–in the closet, under the bed.

“What are you looking for?” I asked.

She drew her hand to her hip and replied, “You said God was everywhere and I can’t find him anywhere.”

Unlike their younger counterparts, preschool children are able to understand something exists, even if they can’t see it. That’s a huge developmental step in spiritual growth and understanding God’s existence. At the same time, preschoolers are also literal in their thinking. If you tell a preschooler “Jesus is in your heart,” he’s likely to ask, “How does he fit in there?”

With all the work and effort that goes into teaching preschoolers about Jesus, ever wonder, “Do they really get it?” You bet they do. Preschoolers have many spiritual capabilities and emerging skills. Consider that they can:

• Express love for Jesus and others
• Exhibit an intense wonder about God’s world and everything in it
• Understand and often retell Bible events
• Memorize and understand simple Bible verses
• Pray to God
• Differentiate between right and wrong
• Understand the consequences of behavior
• Try to please adults
• Have compassion for others
• Ask many questions

You might be thinking, “If preschoolers can do all that, then couldn’t they just be quiet and sit still for a few minutes so I can teach them more?” Well, preschoolers learn on the go. With the best intentions, teachers have a tendency to focus on teaching–which is what we do–rather than on learning–which is what children do. Knowing how preschoolers learn will let you share God’s love and biblical truths in a way they can understand.

Keep preschoolers moving through active, hands-on learning. Play games, sing songs, create hand motions for Bible time, use choral responses, and allow lots of time for child-choice to explore their environment.

Show God’s love through your actions. Preschoolers learn by imitating us. I once heard a preschooler say, “If Jesus loves us so much, why are some of his teachers so mean?” For a child, an adult without a smile or one too busy to answer questions can signal mean.

Make every child feel special. Greet children with excitement. Spend time having conversations with each child. Praise preschoolers for successes and efforts.

Love what you do! What could be more important than telling and showing children about Jesus in a way they can understand? Many preschoolers may be too young to become followers of Jesus, but they can learn about his unfailing love for them. Kids come to church with trust, open hearts, and the kind of attitude needed to approach God. Are you willing to let the children come as they are, often noisy and active? Just bring a big heart, lots of patience, and a smile that doesn’t quit!

Gigi Schweikert has published seven books on parenting, child development, and children’s ministry. She directed the United Nations Early Childhood Program in New York City and developed and managed the Johnson & Johnson System of Family Centers. Gigi has also hosted a cable television show, “Today’s Family.”      

ELEMENTARY-AGE KIDS: Real-Life Faith Connections

It’s easy to underestimate what elementary-age kids hear, remember, and internalize. But one thing is certain: You can’t overestimate the importance of this age. The elementary years represent a special window of opportunity. This life stage is one of the most fertile times for planting seeds of faith that can be nurtured to bear fruit through an entire lifetime.

Reality and Real Questions Elementary-age children can sense their personal need for a relationship with Jesus, and that can lead to a lot of questions about faith, God, and the world we live in. These are significant questions for anyone confronted with the joys and disappointments of life, but at this age finding concrete ways to connect belief to behaviors and situations can be transformational. In hearing and recalling the truth about God, elementary children flesh out the details of their faith. We need to continue to share truths about God and let the children tell them as well.

Language and Symbols An important part of our job as pastors and teachers is to give children the language to express their faith in ways that accurately reflect what they’re experiencing. If a child hasn’t yet learned the basic elements of Christian worship, life, and fellowship, the time to begin is now. What children need to know begins with Scripture, but it reaches out to our creeds, the testimony of the faithful, our community rituals and traditions. And even at this age, children can participate fully in the worshiping community: praying, singing, reading Scripture, teaching, inviting and welcoming others, sharing their faith. While elementary-age kids may not immediately understand all the words and images we offer, embedding them now in a child’s mind allows concepts and understanding to emerge throughout the child’s life. It’s important to let them become familiar with the language and symbols of our faith; it’s as equally important to define those things, use language all kids can understand, and answer their questions without impatience.

Morality and Empathy These children don’t have to have an “Aha!” moment for God’s power to impact them fully. Sometimes faith comes in very unexpected ways; it’s not up to us to dictate how a child comes to follow Jesus. Even an elementary child’s normal moral and social development can nurture his or her spiritual senses. Children at this age begin to develop a sense of empathy. This means they begin to identify with others, their needs, and their situations. Children respond very positively when they have the opportunity to care for others. Whether it’s looking after a younger child or helping a peer with special needs participate in activities, giving responsibility and trust to a child to do those things nurtures identity, leadership, and service.

In fact, elementary children can be very passionate about the things they care for, and when that’s coupled with empathy the possibilities are limitless. Obedience, kindness, and respect are character traits everyone needs, but when we connect these attitudes and behaviors to a child’s faith, they take on a deeper meaning. Children are generous, thoughtful, and creative when they catch a vision for serving others. Child sponsorship and simple, local projects are all very effective tools for reinforcing empathy and service to elementary-age kids.

Interests and Expectations The greatest challenge of working with elementary children is merging creativity with consistency. They learn in such varied ways that literature, science, nature, art, sports, music, history, cooking, and so many other interests may all be avenues to faith. Elementary children also need to know what to expect when it comes to boundaries, consequences, and order. Your expectations of them and consistent follow through are subtle but invaluable for creating a sense of truth, faithfulness and grace in which together you can begin to explore the deep things of God.

Julia Roat-Abla holds a masters in theology. She’s the co-author of Growing Like Jesus: Essential Christian Concepts for Elementary Students, and serves her church in Dayton, Ohio.

PRETEENS: A Whole New World

Preteens. They’re silly, goofy, and obnoxious. They can’t sit still and seldom pay attention. They love screaming and doing anything that involves getting messy. And that’s just scratching the surface of their awesomeness. So what’s the best way to help teach these amazing kids about God? Let’s start by looking at what’s happening to them developmentally.

Preteen development can be summed up in one word: change. As preteens enter early adolescence, they experience incredible change. They change physically, emotionally, socially, and even–are you ready for this?–intellectually. That’s right! These crazy beings of highly explosive energy and terribly short attention spans are actually gaining the capacity to be more intelligent. In his book Developmentally Appropriate: Middle Level Schools, M. Lee Manning says, “During early adolescence, youth typically progress from concrete logical operations and problem solving to acquiring the ability to develop and test hypotheses, analyze and synthesize data, grapple with complex concepts, and think reflectively.”

This intellectual increase has a direct effect on something else that’s changing: their faith. As preteens gain the ability to analyze, hypothesize, and reflect, they ask deeper questions about God, the Bible, and Jesus. Rather than blindly accepting their parents’ and ministers’ answers, they yearn to understand faith for themselves. In other words, they take their first steps from faith dependence (relying on what others tell them to believe) to faith ownership.

As they take those first steps, we can expect preteens to learn and grow differently than they did as first, second, and third graders. No longer are they happy to take what we tell them at face value, simply swallowing what we feed them. Instead, they want to experience, test, and interact with that faith on their own. And it’s up to us to “let go” and allow them do so.

Preteens need our direction and influence. Rather than simply teaching preteens by providing the right information, we support them by allowing them to learn for themselves. Rather than telling preteens how their faith affects their life, we create environments and resources where they can discover it. Instead of giving them all the answers about God, Jesus, the Bible, and the rest of life, we invite them to grapple with their questions and even offer answers. Instead of telling them what they should do, we create opportunities to discover what God calls them to do.

Preteens truly are a special age, unlike any other. Yes, they can be crazy, overwhelming, and even exhausting at times. But to watch a preteen, for the first time on his or her own, truly comprehend who Jesus is and what he’s done for us is unlike any other ministry experience. So who cares if we get a little messy in the process?

Patrick Snow works as the director of SuperStart!, a national touring weekend event for preteens. Through SuperStart! Patrick teaches and speaks to over 9,000 preteens each year. Patrick is the author of Leading Preteens and co-founder of fourfivesix.org.

02.22.16

Helping Students See The Difference In Being “Good” and Being Christ-like by Andy Blanks

Ask your students this question:

“What does it mean to be a Christian?”

While the responses will definitely differ from group to group, I’m willing to bet that in every instance, there is something mentioned about behavior. Something like:

“Being a Christian means doing ____________________.”

Or . . .

“Being a Christian means not doing ___________________.”

Our behavior definitely plays a role in what it means to be a Christ-follower. You can’t read Scripture and miss the call to a Kingdom-minded morality. God’s Word is clear: there’s an expectation on Christ-followers to act in a godly manner.

But, is living a good life unique to Christianity?

Does God have a corner market on calling people to live good lives? Of course not. The call to live good lives is found in numerous world religions, great and small. The call to be good and moral people is certainly found in secular culture. (And let’s just admit it here: there are a great many secular people who live morally superior lives to some professed Christians.) So, is living an upright life truly unique to Christianity? No. But living a Christ-like life is.

Which begs the question:

Are your teenagers seeking to be “good people”? Or are they seeking to be “Christ-like”? There’s a pretty big difference in the two . . .

See, the Bible doesn’t call us to merely be “good people.” Scripture calls us to much more than that. We’re called to be holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). And being holy is all about being set-apart from the world (Col. 3). It’s about being different. About being “other.” This “otherness” is maybe best defined as the imitation of Christ (Eph. 5:1). The purpose for being holy is about glorifying God, but also about leading people to God (Matt. 5:16). This is the call God has placed on your life and your students’ lives. And it is radically different than simply being good.

The cool thing is that we’re not called to be Christ-like and then left to fend for ourselves. We have Scripture as a guide. And we have the empowerment of the Spirit to lead us. When you look at it this way, to see the our Christian lives as merely the effort to live as good people is a massive exercise in missing-the-point. We have the call, the example, and the power to boldly embrace Christ-likeness as an essential part of our identity. But here’s the kicker and the real purpose of this post:

STUDENTS WILL NEVER HEAR THE CALL TO CHRIST-LIKE LIVING WITHOUT THE CONVICTION OF GOD’S WORD.

In other words, to ascribe to Scripture’s standards, they have to know Scripture. To break through the legalistic, feel-good religiosity of merely being “good,” students must be presented with the standard of holiness. This doesn’t happen by accident, or by osmosis, or by chance. It happens when you are committed to intentionally crafting an environment where God’s Word is central.

Being “good,” or moral, is a basic tenet of Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, and Sikhism. Being “good” is espoused as virtuous by secularists and atheists. Acting “good” is an aspect of Christianity. But being Christ-like is the singular, unique call of Christianity.

DO YOUR STUDENTS KNOW THE DIFFERENCE? MORE IMPORTANTLY, ARE THEY LIVING IT OUT?

02.22.16

YS Idea Lab: Best Youth Group Games with Les Christie by Jacob Eckeberger

http://youthspecialties.com/blog/best-youth-group-games-ys-idea-lab-with-les-christie/?cm_mid=5372649&cm_crmid=61e2ad4d-49c1-e411-81bd-000c296f8bc0&cm_medium=email

If you don’t have time to watch the entire video and catch all the wisdom Les gives us, here are some key points:

1) GAMES SHOULD BE FUN TO WATCH, FUN TO DESCRIBE, AND FUN TO PLAY.

I’ve made the mistake of picking games that are only fun to play, and I never understood why kids weren’t as excited about the game as I thought they would be. Now I know. If the description of the game is boring, students won’t get excited about it. If it’s not fun to watch, then the kids who can’t participate will be uninterested. That’s a huge factor if you’re playing a game that involves a level of elimination. Picking a game that’s fun at all three levels will help the entire experience be a blast for the group.

2) PICK A GAME WHERE YOU OVERCOME A CHALLENGE AND NOT A PERSON.

Les says several times in this YS Idea Lab that he looks for games that make people better friends in the end. By choosing a game that rallies the entire group to overcome a challenge, you’ll help students learn how to work together instead of against each other. Les gives a great example of a game called People of the Mountain. It’s a take on the classic King of the Hill, which is all about overcoming people. In People of the Mountain, the object is to fit as many people on top of a table as possible. Les takes a really sturdy, 3’x3’x1′ solid oak table and surrounds it with wrestling mats on the floor. He then challenges the students to see how many people they can squeeze on top of the table at once. Their record is 17, and each time they play the game, they work together to try to beat that record.

3) ALWAYS STOP THE GAME AT IT’S PEAK.

Students will remember the last few seconds of the game that they play. When you stop a game at the most exciting point, it will help carry the excitement over to the next time you play the game. If you let the game go on too long—to the point that it’s not exciting anymore and they’re ready for it to end—they’ll be less enthusiastic about it the next time you play.

4) BE SURE TO INVOLVE KIDS WHO LIVE WITH PHYSICAL AND MENTAL CHALLENGES.

I really appreciate that Les reminds us to always plan to include every student in the game—especially those living with physical or mental challenges. There’s always a way to incorporate them, and having them involved will go a long way to making them feel a part of the entire group.

The YS Idea Labs are filmed on location at the National Youth Workers Convention. Check out more YS Idea Labs HERE.and register early for NYWC to save BIG: NYWC.COM.

02.22.16

What I Wish I Was Told About Leadership by Tim Elmore

growingleaders.com/blog/what-i-wish-i-was-told-about-leadership/#sthash.qU3QU8Aj.dpuf

When I entered my career, I was idealistic like most college graduates. I assumed that if I had good ideas, people would naturally follow me. They’d get on board with my leadership and help me reach the goals we set. It wasn’t long before I realized I was looking at life through rose-colored glasses. Leading teams was difficult. Even good people disagree with each other. Many don’t keep their promises. Some quit. I will never forget when I first realized that (despite what my mother believed) not everyone even liked me. I also learned the hard lesson that there is a difference between being “liked as a friend” and being “followed as a leader.”

So I began to scribble down simple but profound lessons I was learning through the “School of Hard Knocks.” The following might be helpful to ponder as you teach your students or lead your team. In fact, the following observations could be a discussion starter in your next team meeting.

What I Wish Someone Told Me Earlier About Leadership:

  1. It’s About Managing Tensions
    Even when working with good teams of people, tensions arise. It isn’t that they are diametrically opposed to each other. In fact, everyone may be working toward the same vision. A leader is needed to manage tensions between one perspective and another. When teammates see an issue even a little differently, it can drive a wedge between them. Good leaders help teams manage the tension between two important tasks, ideas, or approaches to a problem.
  1. It’s About Managing Expectations
    Every person begins a career, a project, or a relationship with expectations. Often, we’re not even aware we have them. These expectations, however, are what create happiness or disappointment. They foster anger, antagonism or refusal to cooperate. People get upset, not when they simply cannot achieve a goal, but when someone fails to meet an expectation. You might say: life with other people is pretty much about managing expectations. This is why leaders work to create no illusions in team expectations. When we have no illusions, it’s difficult to get disillusioned.
  1. It’s About Managing Talent
    In a day when we’re afraid of litigation and we fear being politically incorrect, some leaders have been diverted from the essential task of leadership: to find and manage the talent on the team. Effective leaders know this issue is not merely finding gifted people. (There are many gifted people that don’t fit your culture). Good leaders find and blend each talent with the rest of the team. Olympic coach Herb Brooks said, “I’m not looking for the best players. I’m looking for the right players.” He meant that a highly talented renegade can do as much harm as good.
  1. It’s About Managing Priorities
    My friend, Steve Moore, recently revealed an interesting fact. Up until a century ago, the term “priorities” was never used. The word was only used in its singular form. After all, by definition, there can only be one priority. Only in modern times have we adopted the idea there can be multiple priorities at the same time. This requires leaders to manage them, acknowledging that all projects are important, but some must come first, to enable the others to happen.
  1. It’s About Managing Opportunities
    Most organizations survive because they are good at achieving their mission. And if you’re good, you have more opportunities thrown at you than you can handle well. Opportunities present the need for boundaries. Strong vision. Clear focus. This makes the job of choosing between all of your opportunities paramount. Effective leaders recognize how to make the best decisions based on the return their stakeholders expect. It’s not about what makes you feel good, or about liking your job. Those results hopefully come when leaders choose well and see opportunities bear fruit.

02.15.16

25 Percent of Kids Sexually Harassed Online – by Friends! by Jim Liebelt

homeword.com/2016/01/20/25-percent-of-kids-sexually-harassed-online-by-friends/?cat=families#.VsHwtMc0xlg

A cybercrime expert has discovered that it is not just strangers who target children online.

Michigan State criminal justice professor Thomas J. Holt, found that about one in four children said they were pressured by their friends online to talk about sex when they didn’t want to. The study included 439 middle- and high-school students aged 12 to 16.

“This is not to downplay the danger of pedophiles acting online, but it does draw attention to the potential threat of child sexual victimization by the people our kids are closest to, the people they spend the greatest amount of time with online,” explains Holt.

The study is important as it is one of the first to examine the factors of online child sexual victimization. The review appears online in the Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice.

Researchers found that girls and kids with low self-control, were more likely to be sexually harassed online. But the biggest surprise was the finding that 24 percent of study participants were sexually harassed over the Internet.

Parental-filtering software or keeping the computer in an open space such as the family living room did not seem to reduce the problem.

“So it seems like this is not something that can be technologically solved, at least for the moment,” Holt said. “Instead, it has to be something that’s resolved through engaged conversation between parent and child.”

Often, talking with a child about sex is not an easy conversation, yet the discussion is essential.

“Parents need to have that talk with their kids about what they are doing online and what people are asking them to do online,” Holt explains. “That kind of open dialogue is one of the best things they can do to minimize the risk.”

02.15.16

Six Rules Next-Generation Leaders Follow by Tim Elmore

http://growingleaders.com/blog

It’s probably flippant to say that leadership is changing in our day. The fact is, everything is changing and the organizations that survive will not only endure these changes, but employ them.

Case in point. The chief executive of Hong Kong is a man named Leung Chun-Ying. As the nation’s leader, Chun-Ying appoints judges, makes executive decisions and signs bills into law. On paper—he’s the top dog. He has the badge.

When it was announced that Hong Kong would not allow for a free and democratic election to replace his position in 2017, the people did not sit still. They hit the streets and followed a younger leader named Joshua Wong. When I say younger, I mean it. Joshua was a teenager, 17-years old at the time. Wong had started a pro-democracy student group and attracted one hundred thousand people to his ideas.

It’s a picture of what’s happening today. I predict it will increasingly occur as we march further into the 21st century. Leung Chun-Ying is 60. He’s what we would call a Baby Boomer, born in the post-World War 2 era. Joshua Wong was born just prior to the dawn of the new century—and has grown up with social media, websites and viral messages. Chun-Ying is an “old school” leader. Joshua Wong is a “next-generation” leader.

What’s the Difference?

So what’s the difference between old-school leaders and next-generation leaders? It’s far too organic to reduce to mere words in this blog, but let me offer some broad brushstrokes to paint the general picture:

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