My heart was pumping so hard I thought it was going to jump out of my chest. I found myself staring at the exit sign in the church sanctuary just 30 feet away and thinking, “Maybe if I ran fast enough no one would see me escape!?”
It had been awhile since I had sung a solo and accompanied myself on the guitar. After five years of not being able to play, due to chronic pain in my hands, I was still getting back into the swing of things. It had been only a recent discovery that playing, while it still hurt, didn’t result in a huge increase in pain for days. Before the chronic pain began, I regularly played in public. But that was five years ago. Back when I didn’t think about it. Today, I felt like a fake and the EXIT sign was looking quite inviting. The sermon felt like it was going on forever and yet I never wanted the pastor to stop either. Because then I would be next. (more…)
We’ve all heard it, usually making fun, “If it’s on the internet, it must be true!” We laugh because we know that there are people who are not, shall we say, as skeptical as perhaps they should be of what they read online.
Last time we looked at how we can sometimes fall into that trap, even though we are usually skeptical. What gets us in trouble? Memes. You know those images that include words of wisdom? They’re often really, really funny. My favorites use pictures from hugely popular movies. Like the one picturing Boromir, from The Fellowship of the Ring, saying “One does not simply walk…” (which he does in the movie) “into Costco without buying a 70” TV” (which, of course, he doesn’t say in the movie).
We laugh because if we’ve been to Costco, we get the joke. It is hard not to come out of there with things we didn’t have on our list. So before we move on, let’s redeploy Boromir’s famous line: “One does not simply walk into…Costco without bringing a list.” (more…)
For decades, the economy has been shifting away from manufacturing and industry. Now, knowledge drives economic growth. The most successful entrepreneurs in recent years are known for their creative genius. Consider Steve Jobs, of Apple. Bill Gates, of Microsoft. Mark Zuckerberg, of Facebook. Warren Buffett, uber-investor of Berkshire-Hathaway. Elon Musk, of Space X and Tesla. Richard Branson, of Virgin. Even JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter “empire.” Many more names come to mind.
Schools have their hands full already. Bringing the kinds of learning necessary for students to thrive, creatively, in this knowledge-based economy? That’s a challenge in times of lean budgets. In fact, too often, “creative” programs are considered fluffy. When push comes to shove, funding is cut.
In stark contrast, many successful people became successful because of their creativity, not inspite of it. Their success came from…what they didn’t know. Their creative impulse drove them to try something. Something new. Something different. Something never done before.
Recently, my daughter and I were interviewed on our local NBC affiliate, on this subject. We had a delightful time. Over the past 3 years we observed something. Jessica grew more interested in writing fiction, as she has observed me writing fiction. Accidentally, we then tripped into the next 4 steps in nurturing her creative genius. Soon, she’ll have her inaugural fantasy novel published! This exciting event in her life prompted the interview. Feel free to watch, if you’d like. It’s just 3.5 minutes long. [Note: click on the little CC button in the lower right of the screen if you don’t need closed-captioning]
5 Steps to Nurture Creative Genius
As supportive adults in the lives of kids—youth ministers, volunteers, clergy, counselors, parents & grandparents—we can impact how deeply and how farkids engage their creativity. Big challenges face the world young people will inherit. Nurturing a habit of creativity will enhance not just the lives of those creatives but those they influence.
These steps might seem simple or obvious. But consider what impact greater intentionality would bring.
Notice the things that interest the kids you influence. It could be reading, writing, drama, music, poetry, design, building things. Just make mental notes of what gets them excited and engaged. These interests might fall under the simpler heading, “Hobbies.” But not all hobbies have the element of creation around them.
Find avenues for them to pursue their interest. Is there an inexpensive way to try it out? A a club to join? Not all creative interests will stick, so you won’t want to go all-in right away supporting Junior’s creative jag. Remain observant, because the newer creative interest may build of the earlier one. That may indicate a creative trend.
Provide simple ways for your kids to try out new things. And more new things. The idea is to nurture a spirit of creative exploration.
Sometimes kids get distracted by the newest “shiny object” so a little guidance back to the core interest might help. In a world full of iThis and iThat and millions of apps to amuse and distract, your work is cut out for you. If all else fails, maybe their creative energy can be aimed at developing a new app!
Always take time to celebrate and recognize kid’s achievements along the way. This should be a fun process, not an end goal. Have fun nurturing creative genius. And make sure the genius has fun, too!
What do you think? Is creativity essential? Or over-rated? Do you think the economy has really changed? Or not so much? Make your case.
Engage here. Lob your comments into the discussion panel below. Curious about the books Joel has written? Click here for the books in our store.
One of the best ways for someone with ADHD or anyone for that matter to start up a new routine is to have reminder post-it notes. They are safe to basically put on most anything!
For the longest time I couldn’t remember to hide our dog’s bed away in our bedroom each morning. The cats are tucked away at night but set free throughout the day. One of our cats loves to remind all of us that he was here first–the alpha pet, if you will–by peeing on the dog’s bed. Not awesome. So not awesome. As long as the bed isn’t out for Stuart to leave his legacy, there is no problem. But if I forget to put it away…it means an unhappy and avoidable chore of washing Bronx’s big bed outside, waiting for it to dry, cleaning and sanitizing the carpet inside, etc. Makes for a full day. 😛
I finally resolved this issure with this two part plan.
Post-It Notes Are My Friend
1) I put up post-it notes that say, “Got Bed?” in all the areas that I am, first thing in the morning.
Now, there is a catch! After awhile the post-it notes can become “invisible” to you and you might end up looking right through, around, and past them. So, ultimately I have found a part two for this mission.
2) Linking new tasks to other tasks or rituals I already have up and running = victory. For me, my routine is that I am not allowed to go downstairs in the morning until Bronx’s bed has been put away.
To accomplish this two part task you must stop what you are doing and think about what the problem is, how it can be resolved, where the sticky notes should go to start up the new routine and then finally what will be the long-term link you can mentally make to continue to remember to routinely do this task.
Some situations are harder to resolve than others. So, celebrate each one that gets resolved! Seriously! Repeat after me:
A Final Note (!) To Remember
Sometimes a change in routine, like a vacation, visitors, crisis, or a schedule change, can shake you out of your routines. You then need to reingage the sticky-notes until you can link it back onto something that will keep the routine going. The more gracious you are with yourself the easier it will be to get back on track!
Helping your family understand that there will be times that routines get totally erased due to changes in schedules, etc., will also help you feel less stress as you get back to your special routine again.
Hit an office supply store and have some fun picking out eye-catching sticky notes! You and your family will be glad you did!
What’s your story? Are you a lover of the little notes? Or do you find them annoying? What works best for you?
Add to the conversation! We’ll be glad you did. And please share the love.
A hipster poseur is someone who pretends. Someone who poses. Someone who wants to fit in. We all saw them in school. Some of us were them. Or at least we wanted to be.
In youth ministry, it is not uncommon to bump into hipster poseurs. They can be fledglings just starting their ministry career. They can be old farts who know better. In either case, it’s sad and just so unneccesary.
You don’t have to be young and hip to be a good youth minister. If you are young, you will be inexperienced, though. However, it is common that someone entering into a youth ministry career is, arguably, still a youth. Makes sense, in may respects. In others, not so much.
On one hand, the fresh-faced youth minister might feel unworthy. Perhaps over his head. Even inclined to grovel (think Wayne and Garth…even Moses). But at the same time, she may be agitated that some of the people she serves don’t recognize her amazing abilities. They may even question the validity of her calling to ministry. That’s tension. Push, pull.
No Harm, No Foul, No Curse
But think about it. There’s tension for the older youth minister, too. They’re the weary veteran of days of phone calls, months worth of retreats, years of lock-ins. They’ve got mileage on their youth ministry chassis. It’s left a mark. Some rust is showing in the wheel wells, if you follow me. My dear friend, Roger, loves doing youth ministry and is SO tired of lock-ins.
What’s unique to the young and inexperienced youth minister is that they’re young and inexperienced. Not just in youth ministry, but in life. That’s usually where the sense of inadequacy and unworthiness comes from. It’s the soil in which their insecurity grows. The more experienced youth minister really has been there, done that. Like all of us, the older youth minister is every age they’ve ever been. Hopefully along the way they’ve catalogued some insights and perspective that the newbie just can’t bring to the table. Yet…
The Dilemma of Age
So, is there an optimal age for a youth minister?
The age you happen to be at this very moment.
Engage here. What are your thoughts? More importantly, what’s your experience of age within the realm of youth ministry?