Sorry this took so long!
If Habit #1 says that we are all the programmers of our own lives, and Habit #2 tells us the code for writing our programs, then Habit #3 is all about how to execute that program to achieve the results we want. Someone once said that the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. But we all let ourselves be pushed off our priorties by relatively unimportant interruptions, or we find ourselves slaving under the tyranny of the latest urgent ”crisis” that dominates our time. And just as often we simply give in to the impulse to escape from difficult tasks by wasting time.
I have found that it is amazing how much can be accomplished by keeping the vision that we want to achieve in each area of our lives before us, and scheduling our time by the priorities we have chosen for our own lives, rather than allowing other peoples’ agendas and other peoples’ scripts to control our lives. Habit #3 is all about living by the priorties and principles and values that we have chosen for our lives.
Please respond to this post by showing how you have organized your leadership task according to the vision and values you wanted to achieve as the outcomes or goals of your event or leadership task. First, describe the vision you had for this leadership task, including the values and outcomes you wanted to achieve by the completion of your assignment. Secondly, describe the teamwork necessary to helping achieve this vision, including the roles you needed filled, and how your were able to utilize the strengths of different kinds of people to meet various goals. Thirdly, describe the planning process required to ensure that the administration of this leadership project would be carried off according to your vision (eg: the budgets and schedules and to-do lists needed for the successful realization of your vision). And finally, discuss whether it was necessary to make tough decisions or to demand improved participation from your team members at times (i.e: did you need to kick butt at times?)
Your own personal correspondent, Mr. Laird, wrapped the week on Habit 4 “Think Win/Win” with a children’s film: Fantastic Mr. Fox by Wes Anderson. The film is essentially predicated on interpersonal (and interspecies) conflict, throughout which a variety of conflict resolution styles are employed/embodied by each of the characters.
After watching the film on Wednesday night, and debriefing it on Friday morning’s class, it was clear that our chapter had come to life on screen. Students were asked to compare themselves and each of the chaperones to characters in the film, in terms of their conflict resolution styles, which seemed to make them very happy. “Mr. Smith is Mr. Fox!” they cried. “No, more like Bean!” hollered others. It was essentially an educational blast.
After finishing the film debrief and recapping a few noteworthy last principles from the chapter, students were asked to journal on the following questions, fashioned by yours truly:
1. Briefly describe two or three examples of conflict you’ve experienced so far on this trip (don’t include people’s names). Assess what conflict resolution style of the six you and the other belligerent(s) employed.
2. Which model of conflict resolution do you most default to and why? What character from Fantastic Mr. Fox is this most like? If you think you need to, how might you change your approach to conflict resolution?
3. How does/did the Golden Rule fit into questions 1 and 2 above?
We’re up and running! Check out how we’re doing!
Due to the fact that I felt crowded on this blog I have decided to split blogs, this is a more academically based blog where as I have created another for basic updates and how we’re doing. Mikala will probably focus more on the blog as I am working with Aaron to try to finish our first vlog post!
BTW, Mikhail says: WAAAZAAAAAAAAAP!!!! =P
Here is the link for the update blog:
You can also click on the link on the top right corner of the page for future reference.
We’re doing great! No major problems so far. TTYL!
”We’ve all committed the Golden Rule to memory, now let us commit it to life.” ~Edwin Markham
Today in Leadership, your current correspondent (I.e., Mr. Laird) took students down to the beach for a Survivor-esque challenge game, allowing him to play the role of Jeff Probst (which was awesome). The game, called “Frenzy,” was set up with four hula hoops in a square, all equidistant from a central hula hoop containing 25 objects. The students were organized into four teams, and had the goal of nabbing the items from the centre Cornucopia, à la the Hunger Games (which book series I just finished on this trip, and found rich and dense in terms of great biblical themes, but that’s an atrocious aside), and taking them back to their original hoops. The team to get all 25 items in their hoop without getting them stolen in turn was to be the victor. A fat tub of candy was the prize.
After about one or two minutes, it became patently obvious to almost all participants that this was not a game to possibly be won. Play was stopped so they could huddle and strategize, and then resumed. Quite quickly after, students from all teams started to take all their objects back to the center hula hoop. Say what?! They realized that I never said they couldn’t move their own hoops, and began to collectively work together, then (eventually – one group was more up on this than the others) bringing in their team hoops and putting them around the center hoop, thus fulfilling the winning condition of the game. The whole class shared the confectionary prize.
We came back to Casamar to debrief and dig into the chapter a bit (which no one but yours truly had read, apparently), and had some good conversation about the “Win/Lose” competitive nature that our culture breeds in us from pre-school to death, and concluded that there must be another, better way for us to live as a Christian community. One student made the connection to this more excellent way being the way of the early church in Jerusalem (which I was fishing for), seen in Acts 4, in which the church shared their belongings, regarding them as common property for the benefit of each as they had need. Maybe this oneness mentality can be better applied now more than ever for students in this close-quarters, literally walled community in which we find ourselves for the first four weeks of the trip. Students finished by reflecting/journaling on the following questions about the game:
How did you feel about/respond/react to the game:
A. At the start of the game (after the instructions were given)?
B. After the brainstorm (when groups reorganized)?
C. At the outcome of the game (when everyone put their hoops in the middle)?
What’s the overall takeaway or application for life from this game?
GCP 2012 Mission statement
This trip is not our own, but a trip to humbly serve our classmates and the community in which we live.
We are determined to keep an open mind to the points of view of others while we grow in our understanding of each other and of the Mexican culture and community.
We are committed to learning to love each other with a fresh perspective.
We seek to grow as individuals, and to grow together as a community.
We will dare to dream, showing an eagerness to learn.
We want to feed off of each other’s leadership,
and make our mark in Mexico as a team.
“Would you tell me, please which way I ought to walk from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where – ” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you walk,” said the Cat.
” – so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
“Time” said Morpheus, “is always against us.” Shakespeare echoes the same sentiment when he says ”from hour to hour we ripe and ripe, and then from hour to hour we rot and rot.” None of us has the leisure to wander long and aimlessly if we want to our lives to count for something –something more than the ’joy’ of aimless wandering (which, of course, does not bring much joy). Habit One taught us that we have the power to change our circumstances; Habit Two asks: how do you want to change? Are you simply drifting along through life, ”reactively living out the scripts handed to us by family, associates, other people’s agendas”? If you want to live your own life, you have to begin to write your own script. Who is it you really want to be? What values are so important to you that you’d die defending them? Joan of Arc, 19 years of age when she was burned at the stake for her beliefs, said “One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.” What do you hope your friends and family will say about you at your funeral? To become the person you hope they will describe, you must live by principles that won’t change with your circumstances, principles that will help you overcome your circumstances. By your own definition, what would make your life “count”?
Based on what we learn in Habit 2, we will do four things:
“We are responsible” says Covey, “for our own effectiveness, for our own happiness, and ultimately, I would say, for most of our circumstances.” Wow: is Covey ‘blaming the victim’? I mean, some people have had a lot of crap come their way in life; can we really say that people are responsible for their own, difficult circumstances? And responsible for the misery they experience because of those circumstances? How can one expect to be “effective” when growing up in relative poverty without the chances afforded to the affluent? I mean, we are all, to one degree or another, just victims of circumstance — aren’t we?
The problem with the playing the victim card, however, is that it not only robs us of the dignity of CHOICE, it also removes the power needed to overcome our difficult circumstances. Let me explain.
When you hear of someone who fights through obscurity and adversity to overcome a great challenge — and then is ultimately victorious in attaining their goal (making money, losing weight, quitting smoking, making a sports team, getting a recording contract, etc. etc.) we naturally ‘blame the victor.’ In other words, we attribute this individual’s success to the choices and guts and effort that went into the achievement. Of course, anyone who achieves success also relies on the help of others and a few lucky breaks (see Malcom Gladwell, Outliers); But it is fair to grant this overcomer the dignity that his or her courage, initiative, and willpower deserve. (I love the “Courage to Come Back” Awards given out in Vancouver each year: see http://coastmentalhealth.com/courage.html.)
And what’s good for the victor is good for the victim. We must grant the same dignity of choice to those in the midst of difficult circumstances, for they too have response-ability to change their circumstances. If people simply wait for their circumstances to change before they will be happy, they will never be effective in life, and they will never be happy. When you give your circumstances — your past, your parents, your boss, your friends, your enemies, your school, your TEACHER – the power to define your life, you rob yourself of the power — the response-ability — to change your own circumstances. Through gradually facing greater and greater challenges in life, we inevitibly discover that we are able to accomplish what once seemed impossible, and much happiness is the natural by-product of such discoveries.
Challenge the book, challenge me, challenge yourself, challenge the stereotypes, truisms, and cliches of our society, but give me some response to Covey’s introduction (Inside-out) that makes me think, makes me amazed, makes me wonder how I’ll spit out all the butt ends of my days and ways; give us something to chew on (other than butt ends), meat for the mature, mannah from on high, food for the soul –anything but chicken soup.
Today, we had our gift exchange with the bilingual students at the Federico Froebel school, which was largely successful with some difficulties, but ended in joy and gladness for all involved and worked out fine. In this post I’ll detail the difficulties experienced, how well it turned out, and a few gifts that were given and received.
The first difficulty experienced was by me this morning on my way to the church (where some of us get picked up) from my home stay. I realized on the ride that I forgot the gift I had prepared for the gift exchange, which were 3 packages of candies from Canada in a nice gift bag. Not wanting to inconvenience my home stay family, who needed to be somewhere evidently soon, I stayed silent about it until I was at the church with Aaron, my home stay buddy. Once Mr. Smith arrived, I asked him about it in a detached way (“Suppose I happened to forget my gift….what should I do?”), and his response was that we could get the gift to my partner tomorrow through a parent at the school that we know, but that today I would need to apologize in the best Spanish I know (since I know none, the best I can speak is in another Latin-related language – English; though I didn’t say this to him). So that was my personal difficulty; now for the group’s.
For this year as gifts the GCP program had a bundle of a HCS hoodie, a GCP t-shirt, and a copy of “Global Citizens: The Movie” that we would combine with our gifts to give. The difficulty we had with this though is that we didn’t know the sizes of our partners, as many of us couldn’t put a face to the names we were given. However, this was fixed quickly as their teachers found out the sizes of the students and delivered the list to us with their sizes.
This then caused the third problem; the average size of a Mexican is far smaller than the average size of a Canadian. When GCP bought the clothing, we bought it according to what would be best if we were exchanging with other Canadians, so for example there were more Larges than Mediums. Therefore, with the sizes the teachers gave, we realized that we wouldn’t be able to give everyone their proper size. Mr. Smith had to then go through the list of their students with the sizes, and tell us what size to give instead.
Next it was time for the gift exchange. We went down to them with our gifts packaged together with the clothing and movies, and formed a large circle with the students. Pair by pair were called up to meet in the middle, exchange the gifts, hug, sit down, and wait for everyone before looking at the gifts.
This public giving of gifts frightened me, as all I had was the initial package plus two little Canadian additions other people gave me because they realized how ridiculous all their Canadian gifts were to give. However, my exchange went smoothly. Later once we were opening up the gifts I explained privately to my partner that I forgot the rest of my gift at my home stay and that I could get it to her through a parent at the school some time later this week. She was fine with that.
As for my gift, I received a book and a note written in slightly broken English (though my Canadian classmates have written things worse than that). The note was long, about a page in length, and explained what the book was about. The explanation of what the book was about was necessary, because the book is in Spanish! Essentially, the book is about how businessmen in Mexico are like animals in the corporate jungle. The cover on the book has a briefcase in leopard print. I’m not exactly sure how I’ll read it, as online translation seems like a lot of work since I’d have to type everything in there, and the only other way I’d read it is to learn Spanish, which is also a lot of work. I still like my gift though, perhaps if even because receiving a book in a different language makes up slightly for forgetting part of one’s gift.
In the end of the gift exchange, everyone seemed happy and were smiling, and posing for many pictures. I’d judge our gift exchange to be a success, even with our small problems.