Hi! I am praying for you right now! 

Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
Failing to plan is a plan to fail. #maxwell
Jesus didn’t come to tell us the answers to the questions of life, he came to be the answer. #keller
When we dance to the rhythm of daily faithfulness, God can turn our situational prisons into supernatural positions. #mccown
Every day, there is an average of 5,400 suicide attempts by students in grades 7-12.
4. 10 up and coming brands, platforms, and influencers that will be shaping GEN Z (Below)
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
How Your Students Utilize Social Media by Tim Elmore
4 Ways To Respond To Unchurched Students by Jeremy Zach (For youth group but good for us to read.)
The Four Seasons of Growth for Students by Tim Elmore
How to Teach Your Kids to Appreciate God’s Word by Jim Burns

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

Here are 2 just for you:
12 Ways to Humble Yourself

  1. Routinely confess your sin to God (Luke 18:9-14). All of us sin and fall short of the glory of God. However, too few of us have a routine practice of rigorous self-honesty examination. Weekly, even daily, review of our hearts and behaviors, coupled with confession to God, is an essential practice of humility.
  2. Acknowledge your sin to others (James 3:2, James 5:16). Humility before God is not complete unless there is also humility before man. A true test of our willingness to humble ourselves is willingness to share with others the weaknesses we confess to God. Wisdom, however, dictates that we do so with others that we trust.
  3. Take wrong patiently (1 Peter 3:8-17). When something is unjust we want to react and rectify it. However, patiently responding to the unjust accusations and actions of others demonstrates our strength of godly character and provides an opportunity to put on humility.
  4. Actively submit to authority…the good and the bad (1 Peter 2:18). Our culture does not value submission; rather it promotes individualism. How purposely and actively do you work on submission to those whom God has placed as authorities in your life? Doing so is a good way to humble yourself.
  5. Receive correction and feedback from others graciously (Proverbs 10:17, 12:1). In the Phoenix area, a local East valley pastor was noted for graciously receiving any negative feedback or correction offered. He would simply say “thank you for caring enough to share that with me, I will pray about it and get back to you.” Look for the kernel of truth in what people offer you, even if it comes from a dubious source. Always pray, “Lord, what are you trying to show me through this?”
  6. Accept a lowly place (Proverbs 25:6,7). If you find yourself wanting to sit at the head table, wanting others to recognize your contribution or become offended when others are honored or chosen, then pride is present. Purpose to support others being recognized, rather than you. Accept and look for the lowly place; it is the place of humility.
  7. Purposely associate with people of lower state than you (Luke 7:36-39). Jesus was derided by the Pharisees for socializing with the poor and those of lowly state. Our culture is very status conscious and people naturally want to socialize upward. Resist the temptation of being partial to those with status or wealth.
  8. Choose to serve others (Philippians 1:1, 2 Corinthians 4:5, Matthew 23:11). When we serve others, we are serving God’s purposes in their lives. Doing so reduces our focus on ourselves and builds the Kingdom of God. When serving another costs us nothing, we should question whether it is really servanthood.
  9. Be quick to forgive (Matthew 18: 21-35). Forgiveness is possibly one of the greatest acts of humility we can do. To forgive is to acknowledge a wrong that has been done us and also to further release our right of repayment for the wrong. Forgiveness is denial of self. Forgiveness is not insisting on our way and our justice.
  10. Cultivate a grateful heart (1 Thessalonians 5:18). The more we develop an attitude of gratitude for the gift of salvation and life He has given us, the truer perspective of self. A grateful heart is a humble heart.
  11. Purpose to speak well of others (Ephesians 4:31-32). Saying negative things about others puts them “one down” and us “one up.” Speaking well of others edifies them and builds them up. Make sure, however, that what you say is not intended as flattery.
  12. Treat pride as a condition that always necessitates embracing the cross (Luke 9:23). It is our nature to be proud and it is God’s nature in us that brings humility. Committing to a lifestyle of daily dying to ourselves and living through Him is the foundation for true humility.

Why you need daily discipleship 

We must be attentive to God’s direction as we go through the day or we may walk right past the opportunities to give a cup of water in Jesus’ name.

Sheep wake up hungry, ready to eat. Their instinct tells them to eat and to eat now. In fact, a lost appetite is one sign to the shepherd that a sheep is unhealthy. Camels, on the other hand, can go up to forty days without eating (they store calories in their hump). Not sheep. They need to eat daily to stay healthy.  

In Scripture, one of the more consistent images used to describe believers is sheep. We are called the sheep of His pasture (Psa. 100:3), in need of a shepherd (Matt. 9:36), the sheep for whom the Shepherd laid down His life (John 10:11), as knowing the voice of our Shepherd (John 10:14), and as a lost sheep being sought (Matt. 18:10-13). Like sheep, we too need to feed our souls daily to remain healthy.

We need it daily because life happens that way. Temptation doesn’t carry a calendar nor does it pace itself. It doesn’t stop and say, “It is Tuesday so I need to wait until Saturday to execute this temptation.” Opportunities to represent Christ in this world are usually not scheduled either. We must be attentive to God’s direction as we go through the day or we may walk right past the opportunities to give a cup of water in Jesus’ name. Life happens daily.

David understood the need for us to feed our souls daily. He declared that true happiness comes to those who meditate on God’s Word day and night (Psa. 1:1-2). David was not the first leader to understand this. Joshua was told that his success as a leader would be dependent on him meditating on God’s Word daily and obeying what he discovered (Josh. 1:7-8).  

When we think of discipleship we usually think of it in terms of a weekly meeting with another person who either we invest in or who is investing in us. As valuable as that may be, we can’t wait for a weekly meeting or weekly Bible study group to be fed. We need daily discipleship, taking daily actions that move us forward in our spiritual lives.

As a shepherd, we are responsible for making sure that the sheep under our care have access to the food they need. We can’t force them to eat, but that doesn’t negate our responsibility of making it possible for them to eat something. The good news is we don’t need to be present for them to eat. We just need to find a way to provide them daily food so they can feed themselves. Remember, healthy sheep want to eat.

Sheep were observed in Great Britain laying down and rolling over a cattle guard to gain access to gardens being “protected.” Their willingness to cross even a “hoof-proof” cattle guard to find food reveals more about their shepherd than about the sheep. Hungry sheep will look other places for food, willing to eat anything with the hope of surviving.

Move Over Millennials, Here Comes Gen Z

Born between the mid-90’s and early 2000’s, Generation Z makes up more than 2 billion people worldwide. They’ve officially replaced millennials as the next generation, and their $44 billion a year of purchasing power has captured the interest of advertisers, content creators, and social media platforms. They are the first generation ever to be raised completely in the digital age. Here are 10 up and coming brands, platforms, and influencers that will be shaping your student’s hearts and minds in the years to come.

  1. Houseparty: As of December, this group video chatting platform already has more than 1 million daily users
  2. AwesomenessTV: Parent company DreamWorks launched this new media conglomerate focusing primarily on content for GenZ. Their first feature film Before I Fall debuted this year.
  3. Astronauts Wanted: A transmedia, story-driven content development company creating shows, movies, and social media experiences for youth. Their “stories” are designed to live “across platforms and have entire social media worlds” built around them.
  4. Brandy Melville: This “Instabrand” Italian clothing company is suddenly the hottest clothing brand among tween girls, selling crop tops, baggy sweaters, and high-waist shorts. They credit Instagram (3.9 million followers) with their recent breakthrough in the U.S. market.
  5. Anastasia Beverly Hills: Burgeoning cosmetic company that primarily uses social media to build its fan base. Their makeup products have been featured by Kylie Jenner and the rise in “beautiful brows” is attributed to them.
  6. Amandla Stenberg: Debuting as Rue in the Hunger Games, the 18-year-old Stenberg is a social activist for feminism, racial injustice, and LGBTQ issues.
  7. Zendaya: The 20-year-old was dubbed “the most influential teen star of them all”, with ample reasons why. She’s a quadruple threat: she acts, sings, models, and dances. And, with over 42 million followers on Instagram, odds are your daughter’s fashion game is being shaped by this former Disney Channel star.
  8. Teen Vogue: Sure, you’ve heard mention of this label-conscious magazine, but did you know under new editorial leadership the publication is quickly becoming the go-to-source for political commentary, educating the rising generation on feminism, President Trump, and racial issues.
  9. Whistle Sports: It’s the new sports network for the YouTube demographic. With over 360 million fans across social platforms, they target young, online viewers whose television habits do not include watching traditional cable TV. If you want a glimpse into the way sports will be viewed in the future, keep an eye on Whistle.
  10. Musical.ly: Any one of the 200 million teen users can become a pop sensation overnight. In short, it’s a platform for creating, sharing, and discovering new music.

Blessings, Kendall


How Your Students Utilize Social Media by Tim Elmore


Happy 20th Birthday Social Media! It was in 1997 the first social media site launched called, SixDegrees.com. (Based on the theory that there are no more than six degrees of separation from anyone and actor Kevin Bacon.) Today’s students cannot imagine a world without it. Snapchat. Instagram. Twitter. Facebook. YouTube.

Whether you realize it or not, social media now plays a central role in:

  • How students derive their personal identity
  • How students determine their value and popularity
  • How students bully, criticize or affirm each other
  • How students discover news stories and causes to engage in
  • How students communicate with both friends and strangers
  • How students find and connect with partners, from hook up to break up

According to #Being13 Study by CNN, some 13-year olds check social media accounts 100 times a day and spend about 9 hours a day using media for enjoyment. That is more time than they spend sleeping, at school, or with parents, and it’s more than an adult spends at a full-time job. (This time frame does not include the hours they spend using media at school or doing their homework.)

Nearly 2 in 3 say they check social media to see if their friends liked what they posted. What’s more, 36 percent say they want to see if their friends are doing things without them. More than 1 in 5 say they check to see if anyone said “mean things” about them.

Clinical psychologist Marion Underwood (co-author of #Being13 Study) says this is how they know who they are and where they stand with peers. It’s where they get their identity . . . and it’s highly addictive.

What’s Up With That?

What’s trending now will continue to morph as new platforms are introduced. For instance, teens and twenty-somethings chose Facebook as their site of choice for almost a decade. Then—Moms and Dads got on it, and they had to find another spot to hang out and interface. Many are still on it, but for other reasons.

I believe leaders like you and me need to leverage social media for constructive (and even educational) purposes. In order to do this, we need to understand how and why kids use various platforms. So, let’s glance at some popular sites to discover why and how students utilize them.

Five Popular Social Media Platforms


For most students, Facebook is an information hub. 

While declining among teens, it’s still the most used social media platform in the world. But it is now used more for scrolling than for posting. Students use it just to see what people are talking about. It’s an easy and quick way to get the scoop. They know this is where all demographics go to post their thoughts.


Students use this for real-time updates—to vent or to brag.

Twitter is the “be on” platform. Messages coming or going are short and sweet. It’s not about being eloquent but instant. The life expectancy of a tweet that’s been re-tweeted is 18 minutes. It’s about immediacy. There are more Generation Z kids on Twitter than any other generation. It’s about here and now.


This is where students go to get inspired.

They spend time editing and creating the most aspirational versions of themselves. They post lots of updates of better photos to increase “likes” given by others. No low-quality images are used here; that’s what Twitter is for. There are more Generation Z kids on Instagram than any other demographic.


Students use this for raw, real and personal up-to-date posts.

While Twitter uses words to update others, Snapchat utilizes images and video. But Snapchat is more personal than Twitter, since the user must choose who gets it. It is a visual way to send a text message that’s often humorous, familiar or personal. There are more Generation Z students on this than any other generation.


Students use this for entertainment and to gauge popularity.

YouTube has been around since 2005, with millions of videos posted each year by all ages. At first most students used it to watch or download content; now more Generation Z kids are using it to create and upload video. It’s a way to discover how popular your work is with peers.

What Can We Learn?

As you consider the messaging you wish to relay to students, consider how each of these tools might be useful.

1. When you want to broadcast something, Twitter or YouTube are valuable resources for you to utilize.

2. If you have a more personal message for a handful of select students you know, Snapchat could be helpful.

3. If you want to teach something to students that will open up a discussion later, why not leverage a video on YouTube?

4. Before a performance (a game, competition or show), why not post an inspirational meme on Instagram?

5. If you have an article you’d like students to read, Facebook may be the best platform to use.

The key is to leverage both familiarity and uniqueness. Think about what it can do for you, using social media utilizes mediums with which students are already familiar. At the same time, for your message to stand out, you must be unique to differentiate it from others.


One of my favorite bands is Need To Breathe. The end of one of the choruses for their song “The Outsider’s” goes like this:

And through everything we’ve learned
We’ve finally come to terms
We are the outsiders,
Oh we are the outsiders

Imagine you’re a teen who has stepped into your youth program for the first time. They’re feeling this chorus. They don’t anyone. They don’t know you, your team, or your church. How would you feel? I know that we’d all agree that we want our youth ministries to embrace the students who are outsiders, however, do our ministry philosophies, strategies and programmatical structures reflect that passion?

Here are four strategies that will help us evaluate whether our youth ministries are effectively structured to reach the teens who are outside our ministries, stepping into our program for the first time.

1.  Be sensitive to each student’s spiritual development and process.

Every students’ spiritual process is unique.  The adolescent spiritual growth is not sequential progress. Rather the spiritual process for new unchurched kids is very intermittent and disruptive.  Here are a few ways to support the uniqueness of each student’s spiritual process:

– Overestimate the power of the Gospel and Jesus. Even though it may seem like Jesus isn’t present in this outsider’s life, HE is. Every student is made in the image of God.

– Be committed and consistent through their ups and downs. Don’t be discouraged when students fall. The teenage brain is like a Ferrari without brakes. So give some grace.

– Most growth happens when a student does hands-on ministry. Giving students ways to serve will amplify their faith. Give them opportunities for God to use them and work through them. Giving ministry opportunities is way more effective them preaching at them.

– Become a conversationalist and a not lecturer. Learn how to ask questions. It’s important to get students talking rather than the leader talking. Using the 80/20 principle. 80% listening, 20% talking. Listening will gain you influence.

– Discipleship starts with a student’s heart and not with their actions and behaviors. Don’t worry about the exterior behaviors of the outsiders. Start with their belief.

– Pray that the Holy Spirit will spark an awe for God in the teenager.

2.  Put yourself in their shoes.

Start with where they are at, not with where you are at. To know where kids are at you have to become a participant observer of youth culture and student clusters that populate your community. Learn what it is like being a kid today. Today kids are longing to belong, to be taken seriously, feel like they matter and be supported in a warm and safe environment.  The aim is to see and experience life as a 21st-century teen so you can comfortably connect with the unchurched kid so you are not surprised by what they know, say and do.

How do you do that?

– Watch them. Go where they are, don’t seek to evangelize, just seek to learn. Watch how they interact, observe how they dress and where they shop.

– Listen to them. We often wander school lunch rooms because we want to share about an event. What if instead we wandered the lunch room and just listened to their conversations. Sit at a table and listen, don’t feel the need to be the smart adult.

– Invite a teen to mentor you in youth culture. You’ve got student leaders in your church who would be willing to help you learn their values and culture. Learn from them.

3. Think about your life before Christ.

Remember what life was like NOT trusting and following Jesus.  We cannot presume students automatically know what it is like following Jesus.  It is very easy to forget the Bible, church, and Jesus means absolutely nothing to these unchurched students.  These students haven’t spent years being “sanctified”.  So it is okay if they are a bit “unholy”.

4. I am open to outsider’s feedback?

The most valuable feedback comes from influential students who are new to our environment. Best feedback comes from the most influential students. Here are three easy questions you can ask any new students:

– Why did you show up?

– Did you have fun?

– Would you ever bring your friends here?

The goal is to get the outsider to feel that they belong before they have to believe. Getting feedback will be helpful as you begin to figure out how your youth ministry can reach those outside.

In any given youth group always be understanding, demonstrate compassion (always err on grace) and establish boundaries for any unchurched student that walks through the church doors (and by all means, don’t disciple them about something they don’t understand). Just be thrilled they are there and will be exposed to Jesus’ teachings and love.


The Four Seasons of Growth for Students by Tim Elmore


Recently, I spoke to teachers who said they’d each received notes or calls from former students, years after they graduated. The good news is, in every case, the young adult wanted to thank their instructor for a particular conversation, for a unique experience or for a class discussion that marked them. Permanently.

We all love getting such notes from former students.

What interests me is what they say in these notes. So, I began to track the kinds of remarks these former students made and what they were thankful for. In every case, it wasn’t so much the class subject or the textbook or even the personal applications (homework) assigned. It was something more than these.

The Four Seasons of a Student’s Life

Depending on what season of life they’re experiencing, young people pick up cues from their environment in different ways. Observation. Conversation. Participation. Based upon brain development and on environmental factors, a child takes shape under our noses, and we often don’t realize the impact of those factors at the time.

Have you ever asked the question: How are values or priorities transferred to students or young employees? Why do they adopt some big ideas and not others? Have you ever wondered who is most influential in your child’s life? Or, do you know why they embrace certain values that seem so different than the ones their mom and dad embraced? Values are being transferred all the time—negative and positive. We need to figure out how to get in on the game.

Years ago, Dr. Rick and Kathy Hicks wrote about this in their book, Boomers, Xers and Other Strangers. They talk about four distinct stages for how kids adopt their values growing up, and the authors position them in the four columns below. In different periods of life, kids develop in this way:

Ages 1-7 Ages 8-13 Ages 14-20 Ages 21 and Up
Imprint by Observation Modeling by Heroes Socialization by Peers Significant Emotional Events
Kids pattern after adults Kids choose who they’ll emulate Kids change via key relationships Experiences challenge them to change

How Students Grow and Learn

In their earliest years, students acquire values almost exclusively at home. During ages 1-7, they’re communicated through “imprint by observation.” Whatever Mom does is right. It becomes the norm. Children are too young to distinguish between an acceptable or an unacceptable value.

During ages 8-13, values are picked up from the model their heroes give them. They are now old enough to choose their heroes, and they tend to willfully emulate them, whether they are athletes, TV stars, friends, relatives or parents. This is the stage when Spiderman posters or Katy Perry pictures are hung in bedrooms.

By their teenage years, the method of value transfer is socialization by peers. At this point, the student begins to compare their values and style with their friends’ values and style, to see what works best. They notice how one friend’s curfew is midnight while theirs is eleven o’clock. Key peer relationships now play a vital role in values and behavior.

Finally, at about 20 years old, the student moves to an adult method of acquiring values. That method is significant emotional events. They are old enough for events to spark a change they want to make, even though they need follow up to make it permanent. Key events cause them to evaluate their values or enhance them.

Two Key Ingredients

You will notice that during their young adult years, people grow by engaging in two vehicles. Adolescents require a vital blend of these key ingredients: coaching relationships and catalytic events that challenge them. Consequently, we can see the crucial role of both “events” and “process” in their growth. Their growth will depend on the creation and wise use of both of the following:

1. Significant events
2. Safe environments

The first rule I suggest to adults who wish to invest in Generation iY, is to recognize the power of these two ingredients in their lives. I recommend you host events, then follow them up by forming communities for conversation and application of the topic revealed at the event. The event introduces the new idea you wish to convey, but the community environment is where the real life-change occurs. Far too often, we have depended solely upon some big conference, assembly or retreat to do all the work. We download a bunch of information and trust they understand it and will conform. For most young people, this just isn’t realistic. They need a process after the event:

The Event The Process
1. Encourages decisions 1. Encourages development
2. Motivates young people 2. Matures young people
3. Is a calendar issue 3. Is a consistency issue
4. Is usually about a big group 4. Is usually about a small group
5. Challenges young people 5. Changes young people
6. Becomes a catalyst 6. Becomes a culture
7. Is easy 7. Is difficult

My question for you is—how well are you practicing these two elements in the four stages of your students’ lives? Are you hosting significant events and do you offer safe environments for them to talk?


How to Teach Your Kids to Appreciate God’s Word by Jim Burns


One of our jobs as parents is to plant the Word of God into our children’s lives. God’s Word provides them with a solid foundation upon which their lives can be built. In 1 Peter 1:24-25, we read, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field: the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” Creating an appreciation for God’s Word in kids isn’t always an easy task! But, I encourage you to do the best you can. Be persistent, pray, and then let God be God — who does the work to change lives! If you are looking for some ideas on how to instill an appreciation for God’s Word into your children’s lives, here are some ideas to help you get started.

Surround Your Kids with Good Resources. Younger children love Bible stories filled with action; stories like David and Goliath, Abraham and Lot, the Birth of Jesus, etc. So, if your kids are young, read Bible stories to them often. Utilize the many top-quality Christian videos available today. In reading, watching, and talking about Bible stories, you’ll be planting the concept that the Bible is important in your children’s lives.

If your children are older, be sure to give them a Bible translation that they can better understand. There are a number of “youth friendly” translations available, such as The New Century Version and The New Living Translation. There are also many “student” Bibles available, in a variety of formats, that include special notes and articles highlighting how the Bible specifically applies to young people’s lives.

Create the Expectation that the Bible is an Everyday Guide for Everyday Life. In my years of youth ministry, I’ve often heard claims from students that the Bible is boring and isn’t relevant to living today. Too often, adults have passed along a poor concept of the Bible: that it is much like a school text to be read and memorized, but without much connection to how it applies to everyday life. You can raise your children’s level of expectation of the Bible (and their appreciation for it) by demonstrating to them that God’s Word is a trustworthy, everyday guide. Here are some specific ways you can accomplish this:

• Know what the Bible says. You don’t have to be a Bible scholar, but be a fellow-learner. This means that when your kids face a life issue or have a question about the Bible, share with them what you know the Bible says or work together with your child to find out what the Bible has to say on the issue or question.

• Know what the Bible doesn’t say. This is similar to the point above, but in this case, we need to help our children understand that the Bible doesn’t specifically address every issue. For example, your teen might ask you a question about what the Bible says about sexuality, like “How far is too far?” We need to be honest with our kids that the Bible doesn’t say, “Thou shalt not kiss thy neighbor.” But the Bible does have a lot to say about general principles for governing relationships, respect, lust, etc. which could absolutely apply when addressing the question.

• Emphasize the Good, Bad, and the Ugly in Scripture. By pointing to Bible stories where we read about both the victories and failures of God’s people, you’ll be making an important connection from the Bible to the realities of life that your kids experience. It is actually helpful for your children to learn that the Bible doesn’t contain only stories about nice people who always do the right thing. They will see that the Bible contains the stories of real people who experience the entire spectrum of human existence, many of whom are committed to living lives of faith in spite of their sin and struggles. Your children will benefit from seeing these everyday, common experiences found in the Scriptures because they will learn that the Bible addresses real life issues.

• Emphasize Application of the Bible to Real Life Issues. When we help our kids see that the Bible is relevant and applies to real life issues — either specifically or by general principles — we create a sense of confidence in and appreciation for God’s Word in our children’s lives. As a result, our children will return to the Bible again and again for guidance and wisdom in their lives.

Teach Your Children How to Study God’s Word. The wisdom found in the following old adage, “Give a man a fish and he’ll be hungry tomorrow; teach a man how to fish and he’ll never go hungry again” also applies when it comes to teaching our kids to have an appreciation for God’s Word. If we, as parents, only tell our children about what they can find in the Bible, without teaching them how to discover and learn from the Bible on their own, they’ll become dependent on us, or on others, for their spiritual feeding. As your children grow older, be sure to give them the tools they need to be able to learn from the Scriptures on their own. Teach them a simple, Bible study plan where they can look at any Scripture passage and ask questions about the passage, such as,
• Who wrote the passage?
• Who was the passage written to?
• Where was the author? Where was the audience?
• When was the passage written?
• Why was it written?
• What was taking place at the time?
• What does the passage say?
• What action was instructed?
• What did the passage mean to the people it was originally meant for?
• What does it mean for me, today?
• What can I learn from the passage?
• How can I apply what I’ve learned to my own life?


Hi! I am praying for you right now!

Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com


Sometimes the interruption is the assignment. #furtick

As we work, God works. The more we surrender ourselves to him, the more we position ourselves to be used by him. #denison

Our nation and world will be changed. One person at a time. For the glory of His Name! #lotz

When you realize He sacrificed to give us life, you will start to say how can I sacrifice to give other people life? #keller


1. 13 Ways You Can Equip Parents to Lead Their Children Spiritually… http://childrensministry.com/articles/equipping-parents/?utm_source=internal_children’s_ministry_resource&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=

  1. When someone says Christianity is intolerant…https://beardeddisciple.com/2017/05/30/christianity-is-intolerant/?utm_content=buffer35802&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
  1. 10 Toxic Behaviors That Will Ruin Your Small Group… http://www.ibelieve.com/slideshows/10-toxic-behaviors-that-will-ruin-your-small-group.html
  1. 12 YouTube Challenges Your Kid Already Knows About (See below)

Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org

The #1 Surprising Thing Your Church Needs to Know About Gen Z by Ron Powell

Child Behavior: When Nothing Else Works, Consider These 7 Strategies by Gary Direnfeld (Has good insight about behavior in general!)

How to Correct a Student’s Negative Perception by Tim Elmore

Why Porn Might Bring Down This Generation of Young People and My Child Was Caught Viewing Porn! What Do I Do? by Jim Burns

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:



Here are 2 just for you:

How to Add Value to Others

“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.” Matthew 4:23

When people think about you, do they say to themselves, “My life is better because of that person”?  Their response probably answers the question of whether you are adding value to them.  To succeed personally, you must try to help others.  That’s why Zig Ziglar says, “You can get everything in life you want if you help enough other people get what they want.” How do you do that? How can you turn your focus from yourself and start adding value to others? You can do it by:

  1. Putting others first in your thinking.
  2. Finding out what others need.
  3. Meeting that need with excellence and generosity.

Passing the Trust Test

“Among leaders who lack insight, abuse abounds, but for one who hates corruption, the future is bright.”  Proverbs 28:16 (The Message)

People today are desperate for leaders, but they want to be influenced by someone they can trust, a person of good character. If you want to become someone who can positively influence other people:

  1. Model consistency of character. Solid trust can only develop when people can trust you all the time
  2. Employ honest communication. To be trustworthy, you have to be like a good musical composition: your words and music must match.
  3. Value transparency. If you’re honest with people and admit your weaknesses, they appreciate your honesty. And they are able to relate to you better.
  4. Exemplify humility. People won’t trust you if they see that you are driven by ego, jealousy, or the belief that you are better than they are.
  5. Demonstrate your support of others. Nothing develops or displays your character better than your desire to put others first.
  6. Fulfill your promises. One of the fastest ways to break trust with others is in failing to fulfill your commitments.

12 YouTube Challenges Your Kid Already Knows About by Christine Elgersma


It’s a tale as old as time: We see a lot of people wearing/doing/saying something and we want to try it, too. Back in the day, it was saying “Bloody Mary” into a mirror at slumber parties. Today, it means viral social media stunts. Though adults get caught up, too, kids are especially susceptible to peer pressure and FOMO (fear of missing out). To them, what was once a double-dog dare is now a popular YouTuber eating a hot pepper just to see what happens.

Called “challenges,” these stunts range from harmless to horrifying: There are the silly ones (such as the Mannequin Challenge); the helpful ones (like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge); and the slightly risky ones (such as the Make Your Own Slime Challenge). But sometimes, challenges are downright dangerous, resulting in physical injury — and possibly even death. So what’s a parent to do?

Below are some of the hottest challenges that have swept social media; some fade and then make a comeback. In most cases, kids are watching these challenges on YouTube purely for entertainment, but some challenges inspire kids to try them out themselves. (In fact, the safe ones can be fun for families to try.) Others — like the Backpack Challenge — are often done with the goal of filming other kids and broadcasting the results online. While there could be a new one as soon as tomorrow, they do seem to fall into certain categories, and there’s some universal advice that parents can follow, no matter the challenge.


Try Not to Laugh Challenge. Popularized by YouTubers like Markiplier, this trend involves watching short, funny videos and trying not to laugh. It’s simple and harmless, though there’s often a lot of laughing at others’ expense.

Whisper Challenge. You may have seen this one on Jimmy Fallon: One person wears headphones playing loud music. The other person says a phrase out loud, and the one listening to music tries to read their lips and repeat the phrase. Hilarity ensues.

Mannequin Challenge. A group of people gets together, poses, and freezes in place, and someone with a camera walks around recording the scene while music plays. Even celebrities have gotten in on this one, including Michelle Obama, Ellen, and Adele.


Eat It or Wear It Challenge. This one takes some prep: Put some different foods in separate bags and number them. A player chooses a number, checks out the food, and decides to eat it or wear it. If they eat it, they can dump the remainder on another player’s head. If they choose to wear it … you can guess what happens. Other than a huge mess (and food allergies), this one is low-risk.

Hot-Pepper Challenge. You can probably guess: Eat a super hot pepper — like a habanero or a ghost pepper — while you film yourself suffering and chugging milk to try to stop the burning. Though most people get through it unscathed, there have been a few reports of people ending up at the hospital.

Cinnamon Challenge. Eat a spoonful of cinnamon, sputter and choke, and record the whole thing for others to enjoy. Again, though there may be some temporary discomfort, most kids won’t get hurt — but some have.


Bottle-Flipping Challenge. Partly fill a plastic water bottle and toss it in such a way that it lands right-side up. This one got so popular they made apps to replicate the experience!

Backpack Challenge. This one’s a little like running a gauntlet. One person runs between two rows of people who try to hit you with heavy backpacks. The goal is to make it to the end without falling down … but no one ever does. Of course, it’s easy for kids to get hurt doing this.

Kylie Lip Challenge. Oh, Kylie Jenner — and her lips. In an effort to replicate them, kids would put a shot glass over their mouths, suck in, and make their lips swell artificially. Not only can it cause damage, but it also can be an indicator of body insecurities and the emulation of impossible beauty standards.


Choking/Fainting/Pass-Out Challenge. To get high or faint, kids either choke other kids, press hard on their chests, or hyperventilate. Obviously, this is very risky, and it has resulted in death.

Salt and Ice Challenge. If you put salt and ice on your skin, it causes burns, so the purpose of this trend is to endure it for as long as possible.

Blue Whale Challenge. Of all these challenges, this one is the scariest and the most mysterious: Over the course of 50 days, an anonymous “administrator” assigns self-harm tasks, like cutting, until the 50th day, when the participant is supposed to commit suicide. It is rumored to have begun in Russia, and there were reports that suicides were tied to the trend, but those are unverified and likely not true. Apps related to the Blue Whale Challenge were said to appear and were then removed. The biggest concern is teens who are at risk and may be susceptible to trends and media about suicide because even if the challenge began as an isolated incident or hoax, it could become real.

What to Do

Talk about it. Though we can’t always be with our tweens and teens to prevent dangerous behavior, our words really can stay with them. Say, “If you ever want to do an internet challenge, check with me first.”

Get them to think. Help your kid think through the challenges and whether they’re safe or have potential risks. Say, “Walk through each step and figure out where things could go wrong.”

Acknowledge peer pressure. Today’s kids think of internet personalities as their peers, so seeing kids on YouTube doing a challenge could influence your kid. Say, “Why do you want to do this? Is this a video of yourself that you really want out in the world?”

Stay (somewhat) up to date. Ask your kid about what’s happening in their lives when they’re not distracted — even when it seems like they don’t want you to. Sometimes kids are more willing to talk about what’s going on with other kids than with themselves, so pose questions about friends, school, and trends. Once the conversation is open, you can get a sense of what your kid thinks about the latest craze — and if they’re safe. Keep an open mind and intervene if you’re concerned. Say, “Would you consider doing a viral stunt if someone asked you? Which ones would you do and not do?”

Model responsible online habits. Some parents are the ones recording their kids taking these challenges, so make sure your involvement sends the message you intend. Today it might be harmless, but tomorrow it might be more dangerous. Help your kids make the distinction so they can stay safe. Say, “Let’s do a funny challenge together, but we’ll only film it if you want to, and we’ll only share it with family.”

Blessings, Kendall


The #1 Surprising Thing Your Church Needs to Know About Gen Z by Ron Powell


Gen Z is upon us and if we confuse these students with Millennials we’re going to miss out on connecting with them and touching their hearts.

As James White tells us in Meet Generation Z, “If the heart of the Christian mission is to evangelize and transform culture through the centrality of the church, then understanding that culture is paramount.”

So sure, they have been brought up by the biggest generation of adults claiming no religious affiliation, and they are the first group considered post-Christian but what is the most surprising thing about this cohort of students?

The #1 Thing

We know also that they have grown up in a snapchat world of weekly terrorist attacks, gay marriage, and legalization of marijuana but what is at the heart of GenZ that needs to be understood and approached differently than previous generations? “They aren’t merely secularized. They’re not thinking about religion and rejecting it; they’re not thinking about it at all.”

That’s Right. The God Question isn’t Relevant. So what is? 

…The human condition. All research points out that in the absence of the God question, the human question is close to their hearts. How should we live on this planet (and Mars when we get there)?

In one way they aren’t waiting for God to solve world problems so they are looking at what can be done. Sadly, they will realize that they can do only so much without God. Also, they won’t have a solution for their own human failings.

Introduce them to the Jesus they Never Knew

With only the vaguest concept of God, GenZ can approach Jesus fresh. They can see him as someone who did something about human suffering and religious oppression. They don’t see him through the lens of boring church rituals or their parent’s God.

We need to let them know that, “When you see Jesus you’re looking at God. When you want to know what God is like, look at what Jesus did and said!”

Community Before Commitment, Service before Salvation

They are less concerned if God loves them that if you or I love them. Starved from genuine acceptance they want to be part of a small group of close friends that loves uncritically. Unsure they will be looking for constant affirmation. Only after standing that test will they be interested in the content of our faith.

A possible scenario is that we invite them to be part of a team building a house in Mexico before they have faith in Christ. We may have to change some of the screening criteria for our trips and other social justice initiatives. Groups that are constantly trying to prove that we can be Christians and still have fun won’t have much to offer Z.

A Reason for Hope

At the end of a retreat, a student asked me, “All weekend you have been telling me that Jesus died for my sin… How did he die?” His brother yelled at him, “It was a cross, stupid.” Every week I hear another story like this from youth workers and my students at Vanguard College.

Why does this give me hope? Maybe I’m too much of an optimist but I believe that when students have been loved by a group and they’re ready to hear about Jesus the power of the Gospel won’t be warped by years of negative religious experience. I’m excited to see Z will do with an encounter with the real Jesus instead of second-hand knowledge of a religious one.


Child Behavior: When Nothing Else Works, Consider These 7 Strategies by Gary Direnfeld

Gary direnfeld.wordpress.com

Parents are saying discipline, consequences, time out and stickers don’t work. Parents are presenting as more and more defeated when it comes to managing the behavior of their children. They have a long list of tried that – didn’t work scenarios including many of the more popular parenting programs. What’s up with that? Why does it seem near impossible to get kids to listen? What can parents do differently?

To know what to do differently, we first need to appreciate what’s at play creating challenges out of children’s behavior and undermining parental authority. This brief history of the world is needed – or at least a brief history of the past 70 years. It goes like this:

1950’s: Intact two parent families with a primary breadwinner and a primary homemaker;

1960’s: Women’s Movement begins and gender equality begins to be examined publicly;

1970’s: No-fault divorce appears in many jurisdictions, divorce rate begins to climb;

1980’s: Praise your kids was the new mantra in parenting;

1990’s: As the economy tanks and rebounds, good paying jobs go and more families require two income earners. At issues is latch key kids;

2000’s: From computers in bedrooms, to video games to the introduction of the iPhone and then android operating system, technology consumes our attention and this generation;

2010’s: Technology abounds and usage has increased throughout all age groups, right down to infants with strollers adapted to hold iPads and wristbands to count our every step. We tell children the world is a dangerous place and they need to stay  electronically tethered to stay safe. We wonder why children generally are more anxious than ever before.

Consider the above from the experience of the child and its impact on child development. Despite the good that is brought about from these changes, there are still unintended negative consequences.

Children have gone from having continuous access to a parent to marginally direct contact nowhere near the levels of the good ol’ days. Now this is not to suggest that those olden days were necessarily good or bad, but that from a child’s perspective they have less and less access to support, supervision and a parental role model for the transmission of morals and values. These days, even when we have proximity to each other, with both parent and child answering the pull of the smart phone, we are not really with each other.

We are less and less available to help them when they do fall, keep them directly safe from harm and simply  enjoy each others company – all key to the child feeling safe, secure, loved and of value. To add, as we over praise and don’t hold children as accountable as before, their sense of they can do no wrong grows. Bring in a mix of parental guilt for lack of availability assuaged with consumer purchases and we add indulged to the list of growing concerns. All at once we appear hyper-vigilant, yet remarkably disconnected.

We are so removed from our kids as a society and all due to social, economic and technological change that we don’t realize the creeping disconnect that has infected child development. Society has shifted and children’s mental health is the price. Our kids are more and more footloose and fancy free independent and without the real maturity to direct appropriate behavior over the wants of impulses driven by immediate satisfaction.

Parents, feeling embarrassed or shameful or guilty about their child’s issues fear being blamed. Parents and teachers are pitted against each other as schools try to manage the fallout of all this in the classroom and parents seek to hold the educational system accountable to socialize their kids.

It’s time to stop the madness, take a step back and recognize that these seismic shifts in society yield unintended consequences. We have a generation of rudderless disconnected kids. Of course in this context the usual parenting strategies become ineffective. To begin with, our children don’t recognize our authority and many harbor an unstated resentment for our lack of connection. It comes out as behavior. Thus when we seek to punish, take things away, badger and discipline, from the child’s perspective we are only widening the disconnect and escalating the resentment.

Managing child behavior has and will always be determined by the quality of the relationship between the adult and the child. The degree to which we are connected to our children, provide directly for their sense of safety, security and love, we have greater influence and legitimacy in their lives. It is time to restore those connections. Bear in mind, it will seem a tad weird to the child for whom this may be a new experience given their upbringing in the past ten years, versus ours of some 30 years ago.

The parenting strategies to re-mediate child behavior and mental health concerns of this age and time are all about learning how to connect meaningfully as determined from an emotional and attachment perspective. Without going into the theory of this, consider these practices:

1.Turn off your technology when you walk though the door. Hunt your child down and give them a kiss hello before anything else.

2.Have technology free periods of the day/week with your child.

3.Count the number of times you have a meal with your child. Going back some 50 years, and out of 21 opportunities a week, the number back then would have been near 21. Whatever your count, consider how you can increase it.

4.Take your child’s face gently and directly between your hands and tell your child outright, you love her/him. Do so daily.

5.Keep the tablet or smart phone out of the bedroom at least at bedtime. Buy an old fashioned alarm clock if needed.

6.Resist consumer purchases when begged by your child or if to assuage your guilt. Instead, spend time with your child when you feel triggered to make a purchase on their behalf.

7.When your child acts inappropriately, think less about the consequence you will levy and the fight to hold them accountable and think more about sharing a little disappointment and that you think they are better than that. Let your child know you love him or her but that seeing the misdeed makes you feel sad. Do not come from a place of anger or hostility, but concern and love. Label your feelings so that your child may come to understand his or hers. Connect emotionally.

Of course we value our kids and want what is best for them. The issue isn’t bad parents, but these societal shifts acting beyond our awareness. Societal changes have subtly interrupted parental availability, connection and influence. These 7 strategies are all about counter-balancing and reclaiming the parental role to enable connection. Parents can begin the process at home. The 7 strategies are a start.

As odd as it seems, your kids may find the change unsettling at first. They may try to resist. They are used to getting what they want, acting with limited accountability and believing they do not wrong. Those attitudes have been built in structurally through the fabric of societal change.

The challenge of parenting today is recognizing and working in the midst of that changing tide and not being driven off course by the resistance of the child who may not want to give up the trappings of an indulged lifestyle. It is as if the child needs to learn that good relationships and emotional connections really do feel better than stuff or things.

Finding ways such as suggested above is the antidote. Being connected to your kids through direct availability is key.  With an intact and meaningful connection, parents may not even need many of the discipline strategies we used to talk about. We will have settled the dis-ease and underlying resentment affecting so many children today. We may just all feel better and be better as we get connected. Give it a try.

Food for thought? I would love to read your comments. Please post them below and please share this blog with the links provided.


Why Porn Might Bring Down This Generation of Young People and My Child Was Caught Viewing Porn! What Do I Do? by Jim Burns


Perhaps pornography, more than any other issue of today’s culture, has the greatest chance of bringing down the morals and values of this generation. Studies tell us that the greatest new users of pornography are twelve- to seventeen-year-old boys. The girls, however, are catching up. All the while, the multi-billion-dollar pornography industry is reaching into the souls of this generation and wreaking havoc. It is so powerful that it can snatch any kid in any house today.

A few years ago, a thirteen-year-old boy at our church was looking for a new baseball glove online. There used to be a large sporting-good chain in our area called Chicks Sporting Goods. We all called it “Chicks” for short. He innocently typed the word “Chicks” into a search engine, thinking he was going to find the store’s new baseball glove collection. What he found were pornography sites, and plenty of them. His first exposure to porn took him on a journey that caused him to daily, sometimes for hours at a time, look at awful porn. This was a good kid, from a strong family, with high morals, and he just got caught in the maze of porn addiction. When the family found out (they began to suspect something when he was on the computer in the middle of the night and his grades were dropping), they did the right thing and got their son help. However, that young boy will have thousands of vivid images stored in his brain and subconscious.

One of the many problems of viewing pornography is that your mind takes a picture of the image. And sadly, millions of young people today have very inappropriate images stored in their minds. Pornography is extremely addicting, and for many it can escalate. Here are the stages of pornography addiction progression:

  1. Viewing pornography
  2. Addiction
  3. Escalation
  4. Desensitization
  5. Act out sexually

In today’s world, kids cannot help but see very unhealthy sexual images. As parents, you can help your kids see the negative consequences of viewing pornography.

Information on the effects of porn is very prevalent today. Needless to say, pornography is fantasy. Fantasy and pornography are closely related links to sexual addiction. Pornography is a tool for going beyond reality, and, once used, it is difficult to live without. Sadly, sexual addiction among young people is growing, and for many, it becomes a strong obsessive compulsion similar to the intensity of alcohol, drug, and gambling addictions. Sexual addiction breaks families apart, causes people to view the opposite sex as objects, and tears at the very moral fiber of really good people.

The days are over when pornography was confined to a dark section of town at XXX-rated movie theaters. Pornography is distributed through what was once safe channels, like cable TV, bookstores, phones, and of course, the Internet. As parents, we must be intentional to counter this influence with love, example, and instruction. Otherwise, someone else will teach our children about pornography, and the visual aids they might use may be so enticing that they lure our kids into a fantasy world full of guilt, shame, and remorse. Pornography is not safe, and we can’t assume our kids will never be tempted. Being proactive, not “preachy” or panicked, is the best way to help your kids make healthy decisions about their viewing practices.

My Child Was Caught Viewing Porn! What Do I Do?

The shock, shame, and anger that first takes place when you stumble upon the fact that your child has viewed porn is understandably terrifying. Every parent hopes their child will live with sexual integrity, and when we hear the statistics of kids and porn it can be disheartening. Yes, the average age of a child viewing porn in the United States is age 11 and there isn’t a mother or father around whose heart doesn’t break when we hear that fact. So what do we do?

Here are 5 tips for handling the almost inevitable fact that your child will look at porn whether on purpose or even accidentally.


I know you may want to. Our natural reaction is to panic, but too much emotion or anger will only complicate the matter. So take a deep breath, and realize it is not the end of the world. Most kids who view pornography don’t become sex offenders.


When you imagine the end for your kids, what you truly want is to help them develop a healthy, positive view of sexuality. Sometimes, one of the most effective ways to teach healthy sexuality is to help them understand that “it’s not that” (pornography), but “this”(God-honoring, positive sexuality). Use the poor choice of looking at porn as a positive opportunity to teach them the beauty of God-given sexuality and why we wait until marriage and adulthood.


If stumbling upon porn was truly accidental there should be no consequence; but if they chose to view a porn site then yes, developing boundaries with consequences for their actions is the right thing to do. But do it without shaming them, and create the consequences as a boundary to keep them from constant porn use and, more importantly, help them make better decisions. For the first offense, this might mean taking away a mobile device and adding a blocking filter along with regular monitoring by a parent or parents.


The prescription for making better decisions about sex is for parents to proactively teach their kids healthy sexuality. All studies show the more positive healthy sex education is communicated in the home, the less promiscuous kids will be. So don’t just have one conversation. Make it an ongoing dialogue.  Sure there will be awkward moments. That’s okay, sexuality can be awkward. I write books on the subject, and my own kids have mocked me plenty of times for those ongoing conversations.


There are excellent resources to equip you to help your kids develop sexual integrity, and even in the area porn addiction. I always suggest you find Christian resources that stay true to your values to come alongside you. A few of my go-to websites are CovenantEyes.com, xxxChurch.com and of course HomeWord.com for “Pure Foundation Resources” for ages 3 to adult.

In this digital world, it is harder than ever to protect our kids’ eyes and minds. So start the conversation early and have it often.


How to Correct a Student’s negative Perception by Tim Elmore


I recently spoke to a university faculty member who told me a student just chewed her out because she “sucks” as a teacher. When the professor inquired as to why the student felt she was inadequate, the student was unprepared to answer. After stumbling over his words, the sophomore replied, “Because you gave me a bad grade after I tried really hard.”

Universities are now reaping the consequences of thirty years of misguided parenting styles.

At the risk of sounding as if I am stereotyping, let’s look at the meta-narrative. Too many parents delivered the following sentiments to their children growing up:

  • “You are special and deserve special treatment.”
  • “If you participate, that’s all that matters.”
  • “You don’t need to let others influence you.”
  • “You deserve the best because you are the best.”

As a parent and a teacher, I believe there is a kernel of truth in each of these statements. Every kid is, indeed, special. Participation is important. Kids need to embrace their own views and they can, indeed, be the best at what they do.

But these are partial truths that lead them to poor conclusions.

  • Kids should not expect special treatment
  • Employers will expect much more on the job than participation
  • Others do play a role in our viewpoints and have an opinion that matters
  • And most are not automatically the “best” on a project, compared to others

These incomplete perceptions have wreaked havoc on a generation of students and they are causing angst in the aftermath. When something goes wrong, some kids go ballistic. Students actually NEED the input of adults other than their parents.

I had a respected educator email me recently with a request. He said:

“One area I would like you to address more specifically is student discontent and the behavior that is sparked when things ‘go wrong’ for them. When they are mistreated (bullied by professors or coaches), I can understand they need to respond. But, when they ‘perceive’ they are mistreated, they will lash out to ‘hurt’ the people or parties they feel are responsible. I have come to interpret that ‘lashing out’ as a way to get revenge, in order to ‘feel better’ about themselves.”

He then offered two examples of this scenario: 

  1. Two students compare grades on a paper in English. One gets a B and one gets a D. Explanatory notes are written on each paper explaining the points taken off (but also points of merit) that explained the grade. The student with the D goes into a rage of sorts and starts trashing the professor through Social Media. This includes making remarks that are irrelevant to the paper and corresponding grade.”
  1. A basketball player gets upset over playing time. When the coaches explain why AND what that player can do in an effort to get more playing time; the player equates effort with promotion. So, after he/she works harder in an effort to get better, the player expects to play more whether he/she actually got better or not. Plus, he/she looks at the player ahead of him/her getting more playing time and comes up with a variety of criticisms against that player.”

“I have seen this happen multiple times over the last two years and have struggled with coming up with effective ways of dealing with it.”

Three Steps We Can Take to Help Students’ Perceptions

1. Explain the difference between reacting and responding.

Students who receive a poor grade or evaluation have a weapon they’re often unready to handle well: social media. They can “vent” at a teacher or coach who gives them a poor assessment and fail to see what’s happening. Emotion usually follows a negative evaluation immediately. Logic comes along later. As teachers and leaders, we must remember these truths when it comes to our students:

  • Sometimes people feel guilty—because they are guilty.
  • Sometimes coaches don’t give more playing time—because a player is untalented.
  • Sometimes students feel like their work is a failure—because they actually failed.

And usually they’ll vent at your feedback before they benefit from your feedback. The best leaders don’t try to remove their guilt if they’re guilty. Nor, tell an athlete they are awesome, if they are not. Or, inflate a failing grade a student earned.

When students want to react, expressing the negative emotions they feel, that is one thing. They’ll never improve, however, until they learn to respond to an evaluation. Reacting is about emotion. Responding is about logic. This means welcoming a third party to help them see an issue objectively. Once the student matures past venting, we can ask them for a logical reason why their paper deserved a better grade or their talent deserved more time on the field. Logic requires rationale, not emotion.

When students are guilty of something, don’t tell them they’re not. If students fail at a paper, don’t lie to them and tell them it was good. We can offer compassionate feedback that is logical in order to help them think logically. The best time to bring this up is at the beginning of a year, before anyone can take it as a personal vendetta.

2. Help them separate performance from performer.

We must enable students to separate who they are (as the performer) and what they did in their recent performance. A failed assignment does not mean the student is a failure. Failure is not a person. It’s an experience that can change. Martin Luther King, Jr. received a C- in public speaking while in college. His skill simply needed to improve. Thomas Edison was asked by his teacher to not return to school as a student. He had to learn on his own. And he did. Too many American kids have grown up ill-equipped to handle negative feedback. This is criminal on the part of the adults who raised them. We must teach them to seek growth, not affirmation. Affirmation usually follows growth quite naturally.

This is a vital step our young must learn to take to help them grow. We must relay to them that we believe in them and their ability, but that their recent work did not reflect their potential. It’s actually a compliment. We are saying to them:

  • “You are better than this.”
  • “I have high expectations of you.”
  • “These critical comments are because I believe you’re capable of more.”
  • “And because I believe in you, I refuse to dilute the standard due to a bad performance.”

Once again, the answer is not to dilute the truth. A truthful response, communicated with empathy and concern is what enables them to mature.

Far too many young adults are unable to separate “performance” from “performer” and hence, they take every comment personally—as if it is a personal attack on them. We must enable them to get past this or they’ll never be able to keep a job or keep a relationship in tact.

3. Play a game with them called: What’s it like to be on the other side of me?

Too many students (and adults for that matter) struggle with self-awareness. I believe becoming self-aware is step one on the leadership journey. So why not sit down with your upset student and play this little game where both of you relay to the other what it feels like to be on the receiving end of their communication and style? My friend Jeff Henderson calls this game: “What’s it like to be—on the other side of me?” It’s a brilliant set up for honest conversations where I can both listen to my students assess my style, but also share with them how they’re being received by others. Once I have conveyed my evaluation, I will often say: “I’m pretty sure you don’t mean to come across this way.”

I received a phone call from a former intern, who I let go before her internship was over. It was hard for both of us. The phone call, however, was a positive reflection of her time with us. She left angry but was now grateful. We had both shared “what’s it like to be on the other side of me.” To put it simply, it was eye-opening for her. This young woman called to thank me for being honest, and for turning her “misperceptions into meaningful perspective.”

I believe that’s one of the leader’s primary jobs.