Tag: Student Leadership

Flashback Friday #5

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One concept I’ve written about captures my mind almost more than all the others, and it’s today’s flashback.

The Horizon of Possibility is something I love thinking about, and something I use constantly. This week, in fact, the concept has been used in at least two conversations, and I love it!

Before I dive too deep, click here and check it out!

Is This the Worst Student Leadership Mistake?

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What do you do when you have a student who shows great leadership potential?

Over the course of my ministry experience I’ve had a few students who seem to be a step ahead of their peers when it comes to reading and understanding a room. They have an intuition about them that makes them appear more mature and capable than everyone else.

So, it only makes sense to give them more and more responsibility, right? I mean, we want to develop student leaders. That’s kind of the point of what I write about here at 3QL.

Let me offer one caveat. And it’s one that is still fresh in my mind.

I never want to crush a potential leader’s spirit. I desperately try to avoid adding too much to their burden, but when a student has a high capacity, I find myself wrestling with this.

That’s why I’ve started reminding myself of the following thought.

Give students student leadership opportunities, not adult leadership opportunities.

If you want someone to feel the weight and worry of leadership, give a teenager the load you would expect from an adult. I’m not saying some teenagers cannot handle such responsibility, but they have the rest of their lives to be adults.

Put in the effort to help a student find appropriate levels of challenge for where they are. I want to avoid expecting a 14 year old, who shows incredible capacity for influence, to carry the load I would ask a 34 year old to carry. No one wins in that situation.

Instead, I want to help that 14 year explore leadership in appropriate avenues.

Stretch their thinking? Of course.

Challenge their abilities? Sure.

Help them grow their leadership influence? Absolutely.

But if I ask them to start adulting, they will burn out and I will give up.

So, how are you at this? Are you providing high capacity students with student leadership opportunities?

Flashback Friday #4

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I have a post it note on my computer monitor in my office that says: Not having THAT conversation is selfish.

I wrestle with this constantly. I dread difficult conversations. That’s why today’s flashback is a reminder for me as much as for you to not hide from hard conversations.

Here’s a glimpse:

The “right time” and the “necessary time” are two contrasting opportunities. The “right time” is much more of a gamble. I have a tendency to justify waiting by saying I am waiting for the right time. The right time, however, comes before the necessary time.

Click here to check it out!

The Repetition Key

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Practice makes perfect, or so the saying goes.

The past few years I have coached my oldest daughter’s basketball team. Right or wrong, one of the things I made them do was work on shots from the block. I wanted them to be able to make a shot close to the basket using the backboard.

We would have competitions to see who could make more. We would take turns. We would have timed drills, all with the purpose of helping them develop that one shot.

Why? Because you perform how you practice. If you practice making shots from the block, you have a higher likelihood of making shots from the block in a game. The math is simple.

There’s a rhythm to the repetition. Your muscle memory takes over at some point.

For me, in high school, I shot countless shots from “the elbow” of the free throw line. That was almost 20 years ago, but guess what: today, I can make an elbow shot almost without thinking about it. I repeated the process over and over, and it has stuck with me, somewhat.

Leadership is redundant. As we teach students the ins and outs of leadership, we have to embrace the redundancy.

It’s practicing block shots every practice, knowing eventually you can move further away.

It’s asking and answering the 3 questions every week, over and over, and seeing how the answers change.

It’s inviting those around you to join you as you accomplish a task.

Leadership is doing the same thing over and over. Even when you think you cannot do it again, repeating the process. And teaching others to do the same.

Does repetition get old? Sure.

Does repetition get boring? Sometimes.

But is repetition necessary? Absolutely.

As I’m embarking on helping developing a new group of student leaders, I realize the importance of repetition, and easy repetition to start. I’m striving to help them find a rhythm, to find a place to get started. The goal is to help these student leaders see the opportunities for them to make an impact.

What needs repeating in your setting? Are you willing to tackle it?

Perspective Comes with Time

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One of my favorite preaching/teaching series I do is on the life of Joseph from the book of Genesis. Time after time it seems like everyone is out to get him, but the picture we see is a man of incredible faith and consistency. The point I try to drive home each time is that we cannot see the end from the middle.

Looking back allows us to make sense of what we’ve gone through. The stock market illustrates this. Stock brokers spend their entire lives evaluating what the market has done in order to help them determine what it may do next. But, regardless of what they may say, no one can tell you if today is a high or a low until they see what tomorrow does.

Our lives, and leadership, are like this. It is incredibly difficult to tell if the situation we are facing right now is a high, a low, or just something in between. Until we gain perspective.

That’s why I’m fascinated by the way perspective impacts leadership. The way we view a situation, or challenge, or opportunity, determines how we respond. We may not ever be able to know in the moment where we are in the grand scheme of things, but we can know our call is consistent–to lead.

In my new position (I haven’t been here a year yet, so I can still say new), I’m not making changes to impact tomorrow, but to help build a thriving culture three years down the road. It’s hard to know what to emphasize and brush off in the mean time. At the end of the day, however, when I embrace that I’m serving for the long haul, those day to day hills and valleys only provide further perspective.

So, what about you? What perspective do you need today? Take time to look back and acknowledge what you’ve gone through to help you move forward.

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