I’ve written once before about a manifesto on ChangeThis. Today I found another entitled “How to speak a teen’s language, even if you’re not one“, which is likely to be of interest to those working with young people. The author, Josh Shipp, is a gifted speaker/communicator [preview video].
The manifesto has a section on empowerment which reminded me of the need to build up the young people we work with; to equip them with the skills they need to make it through life:
Have you ever been stuck with a problem on the computer, and someone swooped in and quickly fixed it without allowing you to figure out the steps? When you were stuck again in the future you would not know what to do. Teenagers are the same way with life challenges. If you swoop right in and fix it, they won’t be prepared in the future. Ask teenagers questions. Involve them in the process of discovering the right solutions. They can discover new skills to solve their problems. Give examples, but then be supportive as they trudge through the hard work. If you always tell them the answer to their challenges, they cannot discover it on their own, and the lesson won’t stick. Empower them with the steps to solve a problem and when you are no longer physically present, your words or the lesson you helped them see, will be there. It is about the process.
It ends with a list of last minute thoughts – here’s my favourite (emphasis mine):
Only talk as long as you can hold their attention. If you can hold them for twenty minutes talk for eighteen.
Can it really be three months since my first Engage Day Conference? It seems like yesterday…
It’s only about 50 miles from home to CYM in Oxford – what could possibly go wrong in 50 miles? Let me tell you. As I started out it was snowing, then as I progressed it turned into heavy rain. Secondly, there are major roadworks on the A34 involving a four mile contraflow system, and of course when there’s an accident in the middle of the contraflow nobody goes anywhere. Then there were gas works on the Ring Road causing slow traffic and further delays.
When I’m driving I’m the most laid back person around. Due to a dodgy incident some years ago, I now never react to the things that seem to wind-up other drivers so much. The only thing that annoys me when driving is knowing that I’m going to be late for something. Anyway, the above factors all conspired to increase my journey time by over an hour – and no matter how well you’ve planned your journey, an increase of an hour usually results in a toilet stop or extreme discomfort. I’ll leave that there…
When I finally arrived at the Park and Ride and boarded the bus I finally had the chance to de-stress and relax for a while. Sadly, when I pressed the button to indicate that I wished to stop the driver didn’t hear it, and drove straight past the St. Clements stop and dropped me off in the City Centre instead. So I finally arrived 40 minutes late (which was 1 hour 10 minutes later than I’d originally planned).
Next time I think I might drive over on Friday night and sleep rough – it’s got to be easier in the long run. Anyway, I had intended to write about the course but once again I’m whittering on about the journey.
Once at CYM I quietly made my way to a seat and settled in quickly and the only thing I’d missed were the introductions to some of the new students. There were some familiar faces present (even if I couldn’t remember all the names) and about six new students too.
During the second module we’ll be studying:
- adolescence and adolescent development
- the needs of young people
- youth culture
- value systems and worldviews
- faith development
- theological approaches to adolescence
The sessions were taught by Sam Richards and although we’d been told to expect a more “academic approach” from Sam than Ben, I have to say that she did very well to make it accessible and interesting. It was a pleasant surprise because most academics I’ve had the “pleasure” of working with liked to hear the sound of their own monotonous voice and so would over-complicate things just so they had the opportunity to talk more.
Once again, the time talking to the other students during the break was particularly interesting. We weren’t discussing the session subject, but rather sharing stories of our groups, events and practices. It was also great hearing the comments from other students during the sessions, particularly the perspective of the African students during the discussion of Youth Culture.
I’ve found module one to be quite interesting, but I think the second module will be more engaging (no pun intended). Specifically, I’m looking forward to the “faith development” section.
Next module is on April 1st – who will be the fool?