YouthMax reaches the Winterset Community Church Youth Group Leadership Team
Author: Tim Gaynor
As a John Maxwell Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker, I offer workshops, seminars, keynote speaking, and coaching. My objectives to serve, develop, and inspire adults and youth to achieve their goals are what led me to join the John Maxwell team. Prior to joining the team, I spent twenty years at a Fortune 500 Company managing multiple functional teams, building personal development plans, and coaching effective leadership and team work. My experience as a youth sports coach, church youth group leader, and founder of one of the largest student-run community service projects in the state has been monumental to help cultivate youth to live a life that matters and grow to be successful. I have personally used the tools provided by the John Maxwell Team to help evolve my own leadership and decision-making skills to be successful at whatever role I am in, whether as a manager, coach, teacher, husband or father.
During my 20+ year journey, I have noticed several things regarding the young people in our communities. I have noticed society, at times, places a lid on what they feel our youth are capable of doing or should do. From how school is taught, how goals on sports teams are laid out, or lack of responsibilities and ownership, handed down from older generations. These observations, impact how young people view themselves from a self-worth perspective, but also from an ability standpoint. The philosophy that individuals either live up or down to the expectations given is true, and I believe so much more with the expectations (lid) set for our youth – they lack confidence in themselves and the opportunity to build a strong foundation of key life skills.
When I had the opportunity to join the John Maxwell Team in December 2015 and utilize John Maxwell’s YouthMAX program on developing a positive self-image, building strong personal characteristics, to learn from failing and how to stand up to bullying I was excited and thrilled!
I am blessed to have the opportunity to work with a group of students walking through the YouthMAX program within just weeks of joining the JMT.
I am working with the Winterset Community Church Youth Group Leadership team – we meet the first Wednesday of each month. We just completed the second lesson in early March.
From my perspective, here is what was impactful in each lesson:
Before we dug into the first lesson I let the students know that we are here together to pour into each other. I value their input, perspective and feedback. I let them know that they own a lot of what they get out of our time together – more value will be added when we all open up about our perspectives, challenges and takeaways. I asked them to help me, as this was my first time going through the material, by providing feedback as we took this journey together
I also shared that a portion of what we talk about won’t go away once they become an “adult,” as older generations struggle with many of the same issues– my goal here is to better equip them to avoid some of the pitfalls of life, and learn how to deal with the rest in a positive manner.
Lesson 1 – Stand Up and Be Counted:
The one conversation we had the first week that stuck out to me was when we were talking through point number 2, Stand Up And Be Confident In Your Own Value. Keep in mind I was able to take a little different road here since this was a church youth group. John Maxwell points out that: The higher we value ourselves the more likely we are able to stand up to the bully’s actions for ourselves and for others. He also shared 3 characteristics of everyone – You Are Unique, You Are Gifted and You Have the Opportunity To Make the Right Choices.
I built on what John had started by added a biblical perspective to each characteristic:
- You Are Unique – Psalms 139:13-14 – For you created my inter most being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
- You Are Gifted – 1 Peter 4:10 – Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
- You Have the Opportunity To Make the Right Choices – James 1:5 – If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
We spent some time talking about where their value/self-worth comes from: parents, friends, TV, music, teammates or social media – after we laid out who we might rely on to fill our value/self-worth buckets up, we discussed the down fall of that. Two thoughts here, people see what they want to see through their filters, thus if we build our view of ourselves from others perspectives we miss the true picture. We also fail to realize that when we look at others we tend to, with always knowing, compare our everyday to others highlight reels!
Steven Furtick gives a great example of this in his book Crash The Chatterbox.
In the television show, The Voice, the singer’s goal is to get at least one of the judges to turn around, to gain their approval – to get them to like them. If a judge turns arounds or better yet, all three turn around, the singer feels valued. Now have you seen an episode of the show when no one turns around – it is pretty sad – the singer feels rejected, unworthy, and not valued.
I think sometimes this is how most of us live our lives; we are auditioning for acceptance and approval from the judges we’ve appointed in our minds. We are working to get them to turn around somehow. We are working to do something or say something – to prove something to someone. The problem here is we are basing our value/self-worth on the wrong things and people.
We talked about that our value should come from God. How does he see me?
Once we gain confidence in our value, then we can help others. Like the Flight Attendant says, put on your own oxygen mask first before you help someone else.
Lesson 2 – Learning To Fail Forward to Success
I started out the 2nd lesson by have the group break up into two “teams”. I gave them a stack of marshmallows and toothpicks. The instructions were that they had 3 minutes to work as a team to see how high of a marshmallow tower they could make. After 3 minutes, I gave them 2 minutes as a team to talk about what they could do different/better to produce better results the next time. I then gave them 3 more minutes – both towers were higher the 2nd time.
This exercise shows the importance of how to learn from failing.
When we starting talking about how Belief in Yourself Will Help You See Failure Correctly and Go Further the Next Time I pulled some material from John’s Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn for Teens book.
We talked about the traps of failure…about how easy it is for everyone to fall into a trap when they fail or when they just miss their expectation.
- The Mistake Trap: “I’m afraid of doing something wrong.” All our lives we’ve been told not to make mistakes. Losses hold us back from trying something new. We want to be sure we won’t lose again before we try again, so we don’t do anything.
- The Fatigue Trap: “I’m tired today.” After losing, it’s easy to feel drained. Nothing is more exciting than a win, and nothing is more tiring than a loss. When you feel awful, it’s easier to just give up.
- The Comparison Trap: “Someone else is better than I am.” Instead of stepping up to try again, you think of five other people who could do it better. After losing, you begin playing out the scenario where they would’ve won if they were in your spot. So you give up.
- The Inspiration Trap: “I don’t feel like doing it right now.” After losing, it’s easy for anyone to feel uninspired. When we let our emotions dictate whether we should try again, we often decide not to.
- The Rationalization Trap: “It’s not really that important.” When you lose, you begin coming up with excuses to let yourself off the hook. These excuses can cause you to lose your perspective on why you were trying in the first place.
- The Self-Image Trap: “If I fail at this, it means I am a failure.” When you lose, you see yourself differently. When you define yourself based on a loss, it’s hard to bring yourself to attempt something again.
- The Expectation Trap: “I thought it would be easy, but it isn’t” Losses highlight the difficulties.
- The Embarrassment Trap: “If I fail, what will others think?” Losses can paralyze us.
I ended lesson 2 by reading Peter Grubbers story titled Always Get Back Up.
The students shared with me they really felt this lesson was so relevant to their lives. They said they all struggle with moving forward after failing at something – they said they understand they have been looking at it the wrong way.
To Be Continued…