Living Beyond the Grave!

iStock_000018127451_Small Like many people, I was shocked to hear the tragic news of Dr. Myles Munroe’s death. His plane crashed Sunday evening in the Bahamas, killing him, his wife and the seven other people on board. He was only 60 years old.

Dr.-Myles-MunroeIf you are not familiar with Dr. Munroe, he was a pastor, motivational speaker and prolific author with numerous best sellers under his belt. Dr. Munroe authored 69 books covering topics from transformational leadership, personal development, spiritual growth, purpose, marriage and relationships. 

The first book I ever read by Dr. Munroe, more than 20 years ago, was entitled, Understanding Your Potential. I would name it among the top 10-15 books that have helped mold me into the person that I am today. I even incorporate several of the principles from this book in my current presentations for youth.

Monday, I watched a video of a message that Dr. Munroe delivered earlier this year and I found his message to be just as powerful in 2014 as it was when I read my first book written by him, 20 years ago. Dr. Munroe asked a question during this message that convicted me = “If you died today, what would happen to all of the knowledge you have?”

I was convicted because I knew that I did not have a good answer to the above question. I was embarrassed to admit that if I died today, I would take much of my knowledge to the grave with me. I have not done the work to capture/document that knowledge so the impact of it can be felt even after I’m gone.

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Flowers Fit for a Funeral!

Growing up, I often heard older people say, “Give me my flowers while I can still smell them.” Many times, this was said after they had attended a funeral and left the funeral wondering whether the deceased had been told before he/she died all of the wonderful things that were said at the funeral.

White coffin with pink sympathy flowers

This past weekend I saw a great example of flowers being given to a person while she was still alive to smell them, and that quote from the older people came alive for me like it never has before.

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Saving Your Child from Driving over the Cliff!

 Fifteen-year-olds are not young adults. They are big kids. They are not ready to make major life-decisions on their own, and they will ultimately hold us adults accountable for not being there to put up a roadblock when they have their foot on the pedal and are [bent] on driving their lives off a cliff.
–Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Red car balancing on the edge of cliff above city.

At a recent presentation, a parent approached me afterwards to thank me for what I am doing and to tell me that I was speaking to her and about her because she was a teen parent. She also said she wished there had been someone around like myself to speak with her when she was a teenager.

What she said next really struck me:

I have been having a lot of problems with my 16-year-old daughter lately. She has been dating an older guy and making some bad decisions sexually.  She really needed to hear everything you said today. She is at home because she refused to come and now I am kicking myself for not making her come.

At this point in the conversation, I am a little confused. I don’t understand how a 16 year old can refuse to go to a presentation that may save her from a lot of pain, heartache and regret, especially when the mother already knows the daughter is making bad decisions in this area. This young lady is living in her mother’s house, sleeping in her mothers’ bed and eating the mother’s food. At what point does the mother step up as a parent and tell the daughter that she does not have a choice about whether she will attend or not?

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Be Someone Who Matters to Someone Who Matters!

iStock_000011466729XSmallLife's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?' ~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I’m sure you’ve heard the common stereotypes about teens—they are disrespectful, lazy, out-of-control, think they know everything, etc.

You may have even said some of those things about them. I know I did before I began working with them years ago.

A few years after I started spending time with students in the classroom, something changed.

Though I still saw some of the same behaviors I had seen before, their pain became much more glaring than their behavior.

So, I stopped judging them and started praying for them. If you knew some of the situations many of them are dealing with at home, you would pray for them daily as well.

But this generation of youth needs more than just our prayers, they need our time!

I’m always curious to know why adults these days are not involved with teens lives anymore. ~High School Student

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The Ripple Effect: 2013 Edition

stones in a water

 

I alone cannot change the world; but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. ~Mother Theresa

 

If you are anything like I am, you are having a hard time believing that it is already 2014. It seems like only yesterday that we were celebrating the beginning of 2013. I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun.

I still marvel at the fact that I get to spend my days doing something I enjoy so much that it doesn’t feel like work.

Below are just a few of the things that happened in 2013 that have made my work so rewarding:

1.     Multiple students told me they had planned to have sex either that evening or that weekend but changed their minds after hearing my message.

2.     An 8th grade girl told me that she gained the courage while listening to my presentation, to report sexual abuse that she had endured for the past eight years.

3.     A young man gave me his condoms after class and said, “I won’t be needing these anymore because I’m done with sex.”

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If We Would Only Believe…

"YES you can" on chalkboardMany people believe that in order to influence teens to make good decisions we have to beat them over the head with the potential consequences of bad decisions or scare them into making good decisions.  I have been telling adults for years that it is not as difficult as they may think to positively influence teens’ decision making.

The following letter will show you just how simple it is:

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Six Things I Learned from a Former Student’s Phone Call

Cell PhoneI received a call Saturday from a soon to be 22 -year-old young lady who served on the leadership team of an after-school club I worked with when she was in high school.  I had not spoken with her since she graduated from high school.

She began by telling me she had wanted to talk with me for a couple years, but had just built up enough courage to call me. She was reluctant to call because she was ashamed of her decision to begin having sex at 19 years old. She was also afraid I would be disappointed in her.

As I listened to her talk about how she was parented and why she made the decision to have sex, I heard some very interesting things that I would like to share with you:

1. Children need rules and want high expectations!

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Why I’m NOT out to Prevent Teen Pregnancies!

iStock_000014737631XSmallDuring the 12 years I have been speaking to students, there have been a number of times when I have left schools feeling so burdened by the state of our culture that my chest literally felt heavy when I walked out the door of the school. Let me tell you about one of those days.

When speaking to a group of 8th grade students, there was a statement made by one of the students that really saddened me.  I was talking about the issue of teen pregnancy and telling them how selfish and unfair it was for teens to make decisions to have sex because that decision could result in an innocent child having to pay the price for their choice if a pregnancy occurs.

A young lady interrupted me to say just because a girl got pregnant as a teenager didn’t mean she couldn’t still make something of her life and give her child a good life.  She used her cousin as an example and said the following:

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Your Life is a Blank Canvas! How will you paint it?

Artist

For the past two weeks, I have been discussing the power of writing a personal vision statement. Two weeks ago I shared how my vision pulled me toward my destiny, and last week I shared the process I use in order to help students understand the importance of writing a personal vision statement.

This week, I am sharing questions that will assist you in discovering your passion as well as questions for writing a personal vision statement.

Passion precedes your vision!

Before you describe the perfect life you want to live in the future, you must first know what you are passionate about. When I left Procter & Gamble 12 years ago, one of the most common comments I heard from my co-workers at the time was how much they admired the fact that I knew what my passion was.  Many of them said they were not happy at P&G, but they did not know what they would do if they left P&G because they had no idea what their passion was.

One of the most common questions I continue to hear from people is, “How do I figure out what my passion is?”

If you are one of those people, the answers to the following questions will help you determine your passion:

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When Life is Puzzling!

2 puzzle piecesLast week my post detailed my experience with writing a vision that pulled me toward my destiny. Based on the number of follow up questions I received, my story apparently resonated with a lot of people.

Several people wanted to know whether I knew I would be speaking to teens about making healthy choices related to sex when I wrote my vision statement, and the answer is “no.” I did not know my current “profession” was even an option. I only knew I was passionate about working with youth.

As a matter of fact, when I wrote my initial vision statement in 1997, I had become very interested in investing and envisioned myself speaking to youth about financial literacy. When I left P&G four years later, my plan was to start an after-school program for girls, helping them grow into successful adults. I then envisioned talking to them not only about financial literacy, but also about goal setting, career planning, healthy lifestyles, etc.

A divine connection at a conference I attended within a month of leaving P&G was my first foray into the field of sex education and youth motivational speaking.

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