Thursday, May 27, 2010
8:00am Meeting with accountability partner to make sure my life is together before I try to help kids.
8:30am Studying the concept of active pacifism and just war with a couple of guys
9:30am Spending some time reading my bible and writing in my journal. God challenges me about trusting him instead of trusting my own understanding of things. Challenging when it comes to the just war stuff.
10:00am Mentally and Spiritually preparing myself to meet with a young person who doesn't expereince a whole lot of life in their life
10:15am Sharing a coffee and a crossword puzzle with a young person while they educate me on what they are learning in school.
10:30am I asked a teen to describe something they were happy about right now. After a five minute silence I changed the topic as they were getting visually upset.
11:15am Mail a reference form for a volunteer applying to join our staff team.
11:30am Walk with a teen in the rain as they question me about life and God and such.
11:55am Look a young person in the eyes and tell them someone cares about them. Wondering when the last time any adult has told them that much.
12:00pm Sit in my car and pray
12:15pm Go home for lunch and hug my kids. The stuff I've listened to today reminds me how much my kids need to hear they are loved no matter what.
12:45pm I talk with a youth and the challenge I got in my bible study about trust are the exact things this kid needs to hear. I thank God he is still teaching me.
1:00pm Set up the Wii that was just donated by a local church for my work with youth.
1:30pm Get an email on my Blackberry that my 3pm meeting is canceled. I figure I can work on my next newsletter for my donors
1:31pm Get a text from a donor asking if I can meet with them at 3pm.
2:00pm Spend some time praying for a situation that is going on with one student that I know
3:00pm Sitting starbucks for the third time of the day listening to a story that brings tears to my eyes. I dislike injustice.
3:30pm With my one of my fundrasing partners catching up on life and thanking them for their support of my work.
4:00pm Texting four different youth at the same time about four different topics happening in their life.
5:00pm Heading home trying to figure out how to let go of the stresses of the day and the stories I've heard and the hurting people I have talked with to be home with my wife and kids when I step in the door.
5:10pm Sit in my car a moment and pray
8:00pm Log into facebook and get notified from a teen that another young person I used to work with is in Jail. Never good news.
8:30pm Look through Facebook status lines at the youth I work with and try to map out what my day may look like tomorrow. Pray for those that look like they are having a rough day.
9:00pm text to make some plans with youth tomorrow - have to break in that Wii after all.
10:00pm Go to bed...Lay awake praying
11:30pm see my message notification light on my phone flashing. A young person has some questions about life. Should I respond now or in the morning?
That was my day. In my prayers before I fell asleep I asked God if I had been successful in this day of work. If I had made a difference. He respond with: You were faithful.
Thanks for sharing my day with me. Any idea how I can fit in my administrative stuff?
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I need you to love me internally
I need you to say something to cheer me up
I need you to care for me
I need you to believe me forever
I want you to come to Canada to live with me
I want every Wednesday Night to be a games night
I want to be able to talk with you when I need to
I want a different type of dinner every night (With desserts)
I need you to give unconditional support
I need you to be happy
I need you to still have rules that keep me under control
I want you to let me do what I want (reasonable)
I want you to call me every other day
I want to eat dinner together at least 3 days a week
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
10. Alcohol - Not only is it illegal, but even several sips can be bad for brain development.
Comment: Click here or here for previous discussions on teenage alcohol indeed
9. Energy Drinks - Can effect sleep patterns and have negative effects on natural energy patterns
Comment: I have witnessed some youth down five or six of these in an hour. What does that do to the system?
8.Coffee - Canadian health officials have determined kids should not consume more than 45mg of caffeine a day. Higher levels can cause high blood pressure and heart rate.
Comment: Not all young people like coffee, but they crave a grande frap. How many mg of caffeine does that frap have? 200?
7. Sweetened Tea - If it is sweetened tea watch the glucose levels go through the roof!
Comment: Who likes unsweetened tea?
6. Soft Drinks - Sugar is soda is liked to obesity and diabeaties
Comment: Pop is more a staple to most kids than any other liquid
5. Juice - Thought it was a healthy alternative? Think again. Most Juices are soft drink in disguise
Comment: The local schools have tried to become more healthy by only putting in diet pop and juice in the vending machines. Is it really more healthy?
4. Raw or Soy Milk: Growth can be negatively affected by soy milk, raw milk contain e-coli etc.
Comment: unless you are living on a farm who dirnks raw milk. Soy on the other hand is perceived to be a better choice - guess not for those still growing.
3. Power Drinks. Unless your young person is highly athletic the high level of carbs put their diet out of balance.
Comment: Unless you are athletic the drinks taste disgusting. But after a game nothings tastes so good. Weird.
2. Flavored Water: The added ingredients may cause added side affects such as kidney problems.
Comment: Again - flavored water tastes like garbage, but that is my own opinion.
1. Milkshakes: Sodium levels in milkshakes and sweatened fruit smoothies are not healthy for anyone.
Comment: Make your fruit smoothies at home so you know what is in them.
Monday, May 17, 2010
- Increase the drinking age
- Reduce the availability of alcohol
- Increase the price of alcohol
- Stop advertising of alcohol
- Increase drinking-driving surveillance
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
So go ahead and ridicule me for a few minutes. I'm used to it.
- First of all the youth worker identification. We had jackets made as well as ID tags to help keep us clearly identified as professional adult youth workers. This is good when we are meeting with youth and their parents pick them up.
- Business cards. Always have a supply of contact info on hand for parents, teachers, coaches, social workers, police, etc. We want to give them an opportunity to check out our claims. That we indeed are who we say we are.
- Volunteer Applications. I never know when I might meet someone that has an interest in being involved in what we do. This also has a list of policies and procedures for youth work that are good to keep on hand.
- Fundraising presentations. We have to raise our own support for everything that we do. So I try to always be ready to give a presentation if the opportunity arrises
- A book. I always keep a book with me in case I the youth I hope to meet with forget to show up or are running late. Or sometimes youth are simply not in their regular hang out places. This keeps me from getting bored.
- Food. i work out on the road a lot and need to makes sure that I am eating while I go. However, we also run into youth that don't eat due to financial or emotional reasons and we want to be able to supply them with somethings.
- Ipod. This has games and music on it that you can use to bridge a gap with.
- Magazines. Our team puts together magazines on youth related topics that we like to give out to youth or even encourage them to write. If nothing else the topics of the magazines can make for good discussions.
- Free stuff. Someitmes you find someone that just needs to know someine cares about them. WE may give them some toy cars or a book. I carry a few copies of the book "Soul Cravings" for kids that have a lot of questions about God stuff. We have free bibles if kids want those too
- A cheap digital camera. This is something which I can use to record fun moments but not worry about breaking.
- A blank journal. This is something that I can give away to youth when they need to learn how to vent in a healthy way.
- Playing card. I know quite a few games and magic tricks enough to fill a few hours of time with.
- Cross word puzzle books. great way to interact with youth while working on something together.
- My own bible and journal. Sometimes I need time to reflect and read myself.
- Coloring book and crayons. Another great activity to do with youth that you first meet.
- Hacky Sack and a ball. For those youth that want to do something more active
- Remote control car. Awesome way to meet youth, ram the car into them and then offer to let them try it.
- Paper. just a way to write a quick encouragement or reminder to our young friends
- Notebook. Way of remembering things.
- A comic book. Another cool thing to break the ice with and interact about.
- My blackberry. takes pictures, accesses facebook and twitter, I can blog and text. of course I was using it to take this picture of my stuff.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
That has meant that we have had to be creative with things. For instance we use coffee shops as our office and our houses as our drop-in centers. It was that reason that we chose to buy a house in the neighborhood that we work in. We wanted the issues of the community to be our issues as well. We weren't just parachuting in but we were living along-side.Sharing our home has meant some sacrifices, but over all it has helped us reach a depth of trust and intimacy with the youth we work with that I had never seen in my prior 10 years of youth work.
However these are the things that I would recommend that you think about before opening up your home.
- Make sure that your spouse or roomates share the vision. (You wouldn't like it if your roomate decided to host a mud wrestling competition in your living room every week without talking to you first would you.)
- Lay off on the rules. When I have youth over I want them to feel like they are invited to be a part of our family. Belonging doesn't come from a list of rules. What I made clear to my young friends is that I will treat them like adults friends and in return I expect the same from them. I also ask them to lay off the swearing so my young kids don't pick it up.
- Know your boundaries. There are some simple things such as - don't be alone with young people in your house. There are too many things that could go wrong with that. Also just letting people know when it's time for them to go home. Protect your family time. What you don't want is your home to be a workplace. It is a place you want to invite people into not a place that you are required to be at.
- Prepare to be surprised. When you treat others like equals suddenly conversations can happen. You don't need to fight to be heard, and neither to they. You can simply be. One day I found a scrap piece of paper on the coffee table of my house after every one had left that surprised me and inspired me to keep opening our doors to youth:
"You know sometimes you walk into a person's house and feel a negative vibe. For me, I can't always put my finger on it, I just feel anxious. Scared. Beaten. I've never felt that walking in here. I always feel so relieved, and the presence of love and Jesus is so obvious; you'd be blind not to see it, and numb not to feel it. This house, and this family is living proof of what God does in a person's life, and the difference it makes. Thank you Jesus for bringing these beautiful people into my life."
Friday, May 7, 2010
I do come across youth workers that intentionally think this way about people. However they do get quite burdened when they see their efforts to reach out to young people end up in what they would label failure. So they will access all these sites with the tips and tricks in order to find the success. Concerts, events, rallies, all nighters, sport, games, celebrities, new teaching curriculum, social media, etc etc etc.
However great these ideas might be the truth is that a person can only do so much and the items that they add are doomed to failure as well - given enough time. People wont change through whatever programing we through in front of them anyway. There may be an illusion of change and that euphoric feeling that comes from those moments is what keeps many of these youth workers grasping at those straws.
The thing is that many youth workers, myself included, are so passionate about the young people we work with that we will sacrifice everything we are and have in order to see success come. Our identity ends up being absorbed by our job titles so that we stop being functioning humans in trade for being a successful youth worker. Think it's not true? Think again. In a recent survey done by www.whatshappeningcanada.com it was reported that only 21% of youth workers are happy with their relationships outside of work. So while the relationship with the youth may be good, but home life and friendships suffer.
That is probably why youth workers "burn out" and leave the field. In the same survey it listed that 75% of former youth worker say that their personal relationships have improved since the left youth work. In a job where we are suppose to be leading youth to holistic health. How can we get by with such bad behavior ourselves? We justify it as being for a "good cause". We look to others problems as more important than our own. We have a whole list of excuses. At least I do.
That is why I think we should stop trying to be successful youth workers and instead try to be youth workers that thrive. After all that we may sacrifice for young people and how we will let our personal lives unravel for the sake of the greater good, at the end of the day these teens choose their own paths that may be in direct contradiction to our own. We have to be ok with not defining sucess by the outcomes.
The past few weeks I have been traveling a lot, battling some sicknesses and injuries, and have had a lot of good but time consuming meetings that I have had a bit of a break from the daily grind of youth work. And you know what? I have found myself more energetic than I have in years. I actually felt like I had something to offer this week as I stepped back into the lives of the teens I get to hang out with.
If you are a youth worker or a business man or anyone else that has become absorbed into only defining yourself by your job title, then follow this list.
Take a break - turn off your phone and your computer. Anything that connects you with work. Go to the gym. Call up your friends and do something you enjoy with them. Let go of the responsibility of other peoples choices and concentrate on just being with them no mater what they may choose to do. Spend time thriving instead of succeeding and you will find you get to do the work you love a lot longer than the stats suggest.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
As the time between the phone call and the meeting progressed I felt more and more inadequate for the task. I know from experience that I can't fix anyone. As good as my viewpoint may be there is no way that I can give anyone perfect advice. I don't believe there even is such a thing.
What I definitely cannot do if make people change. I can't force people to live their life using my choices instead of theirs. I've screwed up my own life as it is, I don't want to mess up others lives as well. I know that there is nothing good within me, but of people are asking me for advice they are seeing something in me that they want for themselves. If people believe me or not is up to them but I know the only good thing in me isn't me at all but it is Jesus.
I've been called crazy and ignorant for my beliefs. Ive been spit on and mocked for following, but for me it isn't belief. It is reality. I can't deny it any more than I can deny oxygen. but it was my choice to follow Jesus and anyone I talk to has their own choice about how to live their life.
Most times I just seek to serve others despite of what they choose to believe. I'm not so shallow to require people to agree with me to be my friends. However there are occasions when I am asked for my opinion such as I was here. So then I. Share no holds barred.
but how to share? That is a tricky question. so rather than give a sermon I drew a picture of a house and let this person tell me the condition of the place. I would draw it on. They told me it had a cracked foundation, broken windows, a hole in the roof, cut electrical lines, flooding from a burst pipe, it was filled with garbage. We ended up with a rather dismal picture. I then told them to picture jesus coming and knocking on the front door. What would they do what would they think?
They opened the door and let him in but tried to hide the mess but how can you hide things that are so evident. Jesus sits down with them And shares a meal. They then expect him to leave but he decides to clean things up. Not just a cursory clean but a home make over clean. Yet they had one room in which they put all their worst stuff then locked the door.
They wanted to reconnect with God but that can't be done if were not willing to let him in the darkest rooms. I left them with the picture of the house and the invitation to unlock the door.
Of course i help redecorate but I can't do the remodel. I'm not qualified for that. I have to contract it out.
It is their choice if they are going to go through with the project...
So what's your house look like?
Langley Area Director
Greater Vancouver YFC / Youth Unlimited
I love being married to April
One of my friends told me he drank in highschool out of boredom. He just wanted to have fun. Maybe the simple message of this sticker is something that should be said more often. Not in judgment but in encouragement.
Langley Area Director
Greater Vancouver YFC / Youth Unlimited
I love being married to April