Where’d She “Learn” That?

Recently we have noticed that Moana has been adding words almost daily to her vocabulary. Then even starting to string sentences together. However perhaps the most noticeable observation I have had is the inflection in her voice.

When this occurs (in English anyway) it usually means that the speaker is making their statement into a question. I have recently seen this with Moana when I have returned from a run. She has greeted me with a “Hey….. run?”. With the inflection in her voice on the word run, to denote that she is asking if I have been for a run. Which of course I have.

Where did she learn this from? How did she pick up on this technique?

She hears it from us & others, perhaps watching her favorite… Elmo. Which makes me wonder, besides learning how to create a question (out of just one word), what else is she learning from me, we, us and maybe you.

We live in a world that appears quite polarized right now. Race… politics… sexuality… mental health… and more.

We know that from dust we came and from dust we shall return. And therefore everything else we latch onto, learn, gather or form opinions on has to be a mixture of people and experiences.

What people and experiences are we having to create not only those questions (whether they are one word or more) but perhaps more dangerously those opinions and biases on race… politics… sexuality… mental health… and more.

We aren’t born racist, prejudice, liberal, conservative, progressive, homophobic, narrow minded on mental health we learn those opinions. I wonder if we can unlearn them as simply as we learned them. A simply as a child does.

The Wonder of the Outdoors

In the recent July School Holidays, I was at camp with these fine youth. Based out of Makarora in Mt. Aspiring National Park here are a few highlights from our time together.

Acts 2, 21st Century Style

There’s a thing called TED Talks. It stands for Technology, Education & Design. They have these big conferences around the world. And are presentations by really froward thinking people on all sorts of topics. There is a weekly email that comes to your inbox with the best in TED Talks. Anyways, its really good.

I delete more than I click on, however this past week one got my attention. It was entitled “How cohousing can make us happier (and live longer)”. That got my attention.

Here’s the link to it

I’ll let you watch it, but as Robin & I watched this around 10minute video we almost kept  yelling at the screen things like…

“The only thing missing is Jesus” or “This is how its supposed to be” or “Read Acts 2 lady” or “This is the early church” or “No, she did not just say that”.

In a time when if you live in the west then your country is confronting issues of mental health and suicide more so that ever before in history. And don’t worry developing countries aren’t too far behind. Every country has shocking suicide stats because without sounding cheesy, 1 suicide is too much. But people suicide for two reasons. Loss of hope and loss of social connection. We are more connected yet more lonely now than ever.

Yet if you watch this Ted Talks you can see why this form of living in so attractive. And then if you insert Jesus or parallel read with Acts 2 and Acts 4: 32-37 we can begin to understand that what we offer at followers of Christ is so transformative that who knows where it would go.

I was recently having coffee with a youth director at a church and he was telling me about the intentional community they have grown into in a quiet street. That what once started with 1 house and a few people living together is now over 20 in several houses on the same street. The challenge he said was that there were some conflicts and tension arising and asked me if I thought it was because had got too big.

My response began with asking him why he thought it had got so “big”. Rhetorical as it may sound, but what their community offered was attractive and enticing and very welcoming to an outsider. So much so that many wanted in, to be a part of it and so they joined and now it had mushroomed to several houses and 20+ people.

Remember people are looking for hope and social connection. Or should I say meaningful Christ-centered hope and meaningful social connection (don’t get me wrong, screens and social media have a place). We went on to talk about the challenge that presented itself when every outsider would join that it would change the dynamics of a house and that the community would need to establish or re-establish the guidelines/practices for living.

That it is a slow process, certainly not a quick or an efficient to do life. But people didn’t want to be in this setting because it was quick or efficient. They wanted in because it was hope giving and connecting.

As the Ted Talk concluded the speaker references studies and stats of the benefits of cohousing. These are alarming good. Imagine if that same cohousing was centered around people, families, groups and individuals coming together for whom doing life and faith was the goal.

Some might say…

This book has been floating around for a few months now, maybe more. The author has written numerous books. Mostly described as a fresh perspective and a refreshing yet different approach to life, faith, Jesus & relationships. His video series were also quite different too. They can be found on the bookshelves of many youth directors, pastors or people who work in ministry with youth &/or young adults.

Then there was a book entitled “Love Wins”. By now you might know who I am talking about.

Yes Rob Bell. That book essentially got him kicked off the island. The Christian island that is. And he “swam” (or surfed,  he does like to surf) in the mainline sea of being judged and cut off for over 5years. Now he is back with a new book and here it is 

Entitled “What is the Bible?”, is just that. And I just got a copy and intend reading it. So watch this space.

Today there was a article on cnn.com about him on cnn.com as he embarks on a book tour in the Bible Belt. A bit of a read but a good one, to bring you up to speed on this guy, his history and why he is still turning heads for better and for worse.

When left is right & right is left

This week America provided us a reversal and confusing look at their viewpoint on guns. In summary it gave us two moments when we could have sighed and said “oh no… thats not helpful” and “whew… I’m glad those two people were there.”

By this I am referring to the 1st incident where by a self-confessed Bernie Sanders supporter showed up at a congressional baseball practice and started shooting at as many members of the GOP as he could. Yes, a passionate Democratic Party supporter (who even volunteered during the 2016 election). This is not what the Democrats needed. The party that champions the cause for greater gun control, especially against assault weapons. Here is a man who is acting with an object that the democrats are trying very hard to control getting into the hands of people just like him. UGH!

Then ‘down the coast’ in Georgia we have two inmates who manage to kill two corrections officers and escape a prison transport. Then commit various acts of stealing cars, terrorizing people, high speed car chases across two states to finally come to a crashing end and run off into the woods in Tennessee.

While the deaths of two officers is unspeakable, this story comes to a peaceful ending. Two members of the public spotted these two inmates in the woods near their house, and wait for it… GRAB THEIR GUNS and go get em’.

If it wasn’t for these two gun totting weapon owners these escaped inmates might be still running or have had a fiery shootout with law enforcement.

So, here we have a situation where the left leaning gun lobby are let down by ‘one of their own’ and we are sure glad that the right leaning protect my gun rights laws have prevented a awful situation becoming even worse.




Surf’s Up

This past weekend we had a storm that spat out of the deep depths of the Southern Ocean. Or Antarctica. It produced some massive swells or waves. 

Click the link to read all about it   

Surf’s Up.

And more
This weekend we are going to the very southern tip of NZ for a youth & children training event for churches. It will be fun to take Robin & Moana to the southern tip on NZ…. next stop Antarctica. 

Thanks for the job security LaVar, but I don’t want it.

Recently I was tooling around online and stumbled across the story on ESPN about the upcoming NBA Draft. But more importantly the UCLA player Lonzo Ball who is expected to go high in the draft if not #1.

BIG DEAL you might say we get these stories 3-4 times A YEAR… pick your professional sport. However this year this young man is really a metaphor or symptom for perhaps giving people who work with children and youth the best job security in the world.

Not by the wayward choices they might make but by his father LaVar Ball.

It appears that Lonzo has very little opportunity to make decisions on his own, and every decision made is either by his father or for his father and in the name of his father. I’m all about upsetting the apple cart however this “gentleman” is something else. He reminds me of Napoleon Dynamites Uncle Rico in the movie Napoleon Dynamite. Rico never made it past being a famous high school quarterback because of someone else and it appears to fit the description for Lonzo’s dad. Mad at the world I missed my opportunity and so this is how I’m going to make up for it. Lonzo’s dad does it all.

It becomes apparent very early on that “dad” speaks… talks… represents…deals… organizes… maybe he even poops for his son. Almost every time I see the two, Dad does it all. Now admittedly my sample size isn’t great, however I have seen enough to get that picture.

So to my point. 

Thanks for the job security LaVar because its my observation that from this approach I think about the resiliency and coping skills of his son and frankly a whole generation of youth that aren’t put in enough positions to develop those skills through the worlds best teacher… experience all because a parent or parents have literally done it all.

Case in point. A man in a Tennessee bar this week poured kerosene all over himself, set himself on fire and ran into a bar. All because his girlfriend broke up with him.

Man sets self on fire on Facebook

This story is an absolute tragedy. However the focus appears to be on the method, the tragedy and Facebook. Who once again is been held to task for seemingly every evil action and act of violence that occurs on this platform. Its like suing a car manufacturer for a drunk drivers actions.

The story I hear hear is why he did it.

“He believed that suicide would be the ultimate revenge on her,”

How bad had it become for this man that this was an viable option. How unable was he to cope with his mental health that this occurred. This is not a statement about how people had let him down, or how we should have given him medicine, or that his family should have tried harder.

Children, youth & young adults are increasingly expressing their mental health to anyone who will hear and respond. But perhaps the real challenge is where have skills like resilience, coping and problem solving gone. Many of us have been through a bad break up, parents going through divorce or struggling with our or anothers sexuality. However what goes hand in hand with these are the above mentioned skills. Not thats its the gold ticket to jettison us away from pain, heartbreak or loneliness. But there appears to be a rise in younger generation type problems that aren’t meet with skills of coping etc.

Were they not taught? Not experienced? Not allowed to experiment with failure and growth in far more digestible problems in younger years so that where those real storms of life come, like divorce, breakup and sexuality that there is at least some foundations of skills to begin to process and get help.

Its well documented that people die by suicide because of a loss of hope and/or loss of social connection. And I wonder if some of that could be minimized, not “fixed”but minimized by looking for more opportunities to put into practice those life long skills.

And while we/parents everyone continue to not expose our children and youth to manageable challenges of life by speaking for them, making all their decisions, even living vicariously through them we are also providing people who work with children, youth and young adults the best job security in the world. But for all the wrong reasons.



What happens when kid has to make his own decisions

What does that mean when dad isn’t around

Another picture of no coping skills no resiliency

Follow what so what now what model

LaVar & Lonzo