Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesdays- Sleep, Study and Service

It has been awhile.

I just came back from another grace-filled Via De Cristo Weekend, where I had the opportunity to serve on the music team. I try to serve on one weekend a year...and this Spring I will finally get to serve on a Kairos team as well. (Logistics have made this impossible the past few years) This past weekend gave me a much needed recharge in a glimmer of what life in Christ can be.

Now it is Tuesday. We are back to day-to-day reality.

Last night was community dining. So..a few dishes still await. However..it is almost 11a.m. already. Tuesdays are the day Austen, Cody and I sleep late. At 11, I will wake them and we will clean for about 30 minutes. Then? We hit the books.

Cody will start his chemistry study- marathon. He does this almost every Tuesday. He takes his books, my lap-top, and his I-pod and spreads out all over the living room floor. Cody is essentially going to cram a week's worth of Chem. homework from Friday school into one long seesion. He will still be in the same spot when I return from work this evening. Cody will take one break in the early evening to help with the Teen Paper Recycling Program at the Club and hang out for 20 min. at Dairy Queen with the others on the recycling team. Early afternoon Cody will take a few small breaks to feed/water the chickens and collect eggs. Mostly? He will study chemistry until about 1 or 2 in the morning. How do I know this? Because Cody is a creature of habit...Wed. and Thurs. are math and Financial Peace study- days, Fridays are Friday school and fun. Sat. are soccer, fun, work on cars and work with dad around the yard. Sun..work on cars and work with dad around the house. Mon...study auto-mechanics, work on cars and do whatever the rest of us are doing. Tuesdays are his chemistry/recycling days. (Chickens are simply part of the daily routine)

Austen will help clean the dishes this a.m..then he will spend 20 minutes looking for all his c0-0p stuff that he has lost since last Friday. Then? He will play music on his lap-top in his room and start working on a week's worth of math. Around 1, he will bring his math with him to the Club and work on math while preparing snack for at least 55 kids. I think he is making spaghetti today. My co-workers and I will help him whenever he gets stuck on a math problem.
Austen will start serving snack and then leave for recycling with Cody and the other teens. He will return in time to go to the Club's Money Matters program. This is a program run by one of our local banks on money management, investments, etc. After Money Matters, Austen places himself out in the middle of the Club's pavillion and returns to math. His friends help him whenever he gets stuck. Once Civil Air Patrol arrives, Austen sort-of just hangs out with them.
He dropped Civil Air Patrol this year, but the group still likes for him to be there. He sees his friends and helps them whenever they get stuck during a drill. Sometimes they will ask them to try and distract him while they are drilling. Other times they ask him to pretend he is a wall that they must march around. More often than not, he will help the newer element leaders and drill seargents (is that what they are called?) in the order of certain drills, or on choreographing their own. He also helps the color-guard as they prepare for events. I am amazed they let him participate at this level..but they do and seem to welcome his participation.

Me? I study and prepare for the weekend. This morning I read Where God Meets Man by Gerhard O. Forde to prepare for the adult Sunday School. I prepare a homily for nursing home chapel on Sunday afternoon..and practice guitar for a home-gathering Sunday evening. For later today I need to figure out what to blow up for "Back yard Ballistics" Thinking it will be lemon launchers today. I look through Teens Can Do It for discussion ideas for today's Be Great program. I will go to the Club at 1. We have a staff meeting, Power Hour (homework help), snack, and then the Be Great and Backyard Ballistics programs. The Club closes late on Tuesdays because we host a basketball planning meeting, Girl Scouts and Civil Air Patrol. Hopefully someone will start dinner..or we will be fixing scrambled eggs and pancakes at 9o'clock tonight.

Rambled long enough. The boys are hovering and I'm still playing.

Friday, October 09, 2009

True Empowerment

Lately, I have found myself dwelling on power in it's many contexts. What is power? What are varying people's perceptions of power and how does this influence their world views..or vice a versa.

I was recently reading the book The Wolf Shall Dwell With the Lamb in which author
Eric Law states, true empowerment is empowering others.

My first reaction was "well..duh"..But then it stuck with me. I have been brought up in an environment where this idea was a given. I attended colleges, where this was a given. Yet I am often very reactionary when I hear statements such as "you are a so-called (you choose..religious group/ethnicity/athlete/political party/social status) if you do not agree with blah, blah, blah.

Or of course.."oh..you're one of those." and dead silence. One of what? I wonder.

It never occurred to me that the people who say these things are looking at true power in a totally different light. I usually quit reading or listening at this point. I assume if someone feels they can bully or name-call me into believing something..than they are idiots. I know...I get stuck in defensiveness..and don't always hear what they are trying to say.

I'm working on that.

So it was when I read the above statement true empowerment is empowering others when it hit me. "Oh...not everyone has that understanding. Oh...now I see where these other ideas come from...wow." It is a piece of a puzzle into a world-view I have much difficulty understanding.

I have been thinking about how our understanding of power effects our co-op. As the kids have spent the last several weeks debating education/learning styles and figuring out exactly how our high-school co-op years are going to look..it seems to have taken on a life of it's own.

The kids talk. They talk some more...and they talk some more. It does not matter what they are (or are not) doing. Math..they talk. Drafting..they talk. As I type, Mandy is explaining to their art instructor how to make a grilled tomato and cheese sandwich. Austen is explaining that he has to wear his pj's outside today. Devin is telling me the part I can't remember from The Apostle's Creed. As a matter of fact these children (3 of whom in years past have been known to be ghost children) will not shut-up.

I absolutely love it.

I heard a quote once from a girl in a democratic school who said simply, "some days the entire day passes and I realize that I have been talking with friends all day. It is important. Talking/listening. Conversing. To really talk. I think it's just like we know now that babies need to be held often to develop. One day we are going to discover that teens need to be social to fully develop."

What do they talk about? Anything. Books, games, music, politics, religion, prime numbers, infinity, sports, art..the list goes on. There are no topics off limits...not even grilled cheese, pajamas and the Apostles Creed simultaneously.

I believe these teens are discovering who they are, what they believe and how to articulate what they are thinking. More importantly they are genuinely curious about the differing views of each other. They bounce ideas off of each other. They try to understand where each persons differing view is coming from. They understand that they will not change each-others opinions. They are simply trying to understand.

In a nutshell, these kids have mutual respect.

It is actually quite refreshing, especially after some of the one-way sound bites I seem to see in many of the adults I encounter. You know, the "if you don't agree with me, we will not discuss anything" ..or you are a "so-called (fill in blank)".

Okay. Disclaimer. I know lots of adults who will dig deep into conversation as well....just am amazed at the numbers of adults who really don't know how to listen (as in with no agenda listen) to what others are saying.

I believe that understanding the art of conversation is a tool to empowerment.

True empowerment.