Swiftwater Journey

faith, culture, and growing up in a rapidly changing world

Swiftwater Journey | a workbook April 26, 2016

Filed under: Adolescence,Parenting,Youth Ministry — billmacphee @ 4:22 pm

iStock_000008266776Small 236 89This workbook is offered to you as a helpful follow up to my teaching on parenting and adolescence . It is for all parents of adolescents and other caring adults as we embrace and nurture our children along a healthy pathway to adulthood.

I want this resource to be a helpful guide for you in implementing your own action plan for loving your teenager in a way that helps them move toward capable and mature interdependence as an adult. Thanks to Dr. Chap Clark, friend and mentor, and author of recommended books.

Swiftwater Journey Parenting Follow up Workbook

 

Be Brave – with what you want to say July 31, 2013

Filed under: Adolescence,Identity — billmacphee @ 11:51 am
Tags: , , , , ,

This is my favorite song of the summer for several reasons:

  • Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can maim and kill.
  • Bullies intimidate thoughtful people into silence.
  • Open dialogue is the pathway to understanding.
  • Fear is paralyzing but can be overcome.
  • I need to hear what you have to say.
  • Sara recruited regular people to dance in her video; there is hope for me.

I am one of those people who needs more than a moment to construct my thoughts so that my words offer wisdom instead of nonsense. The fear of saying the “wrong” thing sometimes causes me to stay silent when what I am forming in my mind is actually kind of helpful. It is frustrating missing the moment and then feeling poorly because I withheld a valuable word. I just need to be brave [in the moment], and also risk coming off less prepared, and even a little foolish. “My history of silence” won’t do me any good, and actually I don’t mind if others think I “took the wrong pill.”

I wonder how many young people around me want to say something but fear judgment, disapproval, or laughter. I’m going to be brave and listen in a way that invites others to say what they want to say.

“A person finds joy in giving an apt reply–and how good is a timely word!” Proverbs 15:23

 

Jesus walked on my campus November 26, 2011

I fell off a 70 foot cliff while serving as a volunteer in a mountaineering class at San Carlos High School. I’ve decided to celebrate the friends who saved my life by writing some posts about the experience. I do not pass a single day without reflecting on November 16, 1981 and the courage it took for my friends to make decisions and take action that spared my life.

You can read part one here: the best job I could imagine – November 16, 1981. You can read all posts related to my mountaineering accident by searching the Categories for Accident.

 

Part Two: Jesus Walked on My Campus … and his name was John.

In addition to teaching outdoor skills to students, John Woodhall served as the head football coach at the San Carlos High School. John is by nature a gentle man, but demonstrated his capacity for strong leadership at practice and on the sidelines. Though he rarely raised his voice, he could get a linebacker’s attention when needed. John was strong, focused, disciplined, and deeply loved his students. His strength and care emerged out of a heart deeply transformed by the grace and compassion of Jesus Christ. I am not exaggerating when I say that John seemed to me to be the embodiment of Jesus walking about his campus. Kids loved and flocked to him. Students wanted to be near him and touch him. John made himself freely accessible to kids–all kind of kids. This is what set John Woodhall apart. He loved and cared for all kinds of students. Not just the strong athletes, or the Christian kids who mirrored his spiritual values. Every person found it possible to easily slide into his span of gentle care. This was especially true of the kids who desperately needed a mountaineering class to keep them engaged in the relentless and unforgiving grind of public high school.

I met John through the Student Ministries family at Peninsula Covenant Church in Redwood City, CA. The church has a long legacy of quality leaders in ministry to adolescents, including not only professional staff, but maybe more importantly, gifted and called volunteers. I tried to be sensitive to John’s schedule–as a teacher/coach his life was full. Add his deep commitment to his family and it continued to amaze me that he made himself available as a trustworthy volunteer youthworker at PCC. Through John’s faithfulness in ministry to students both at church and school, I came to be his friend and co-worker. In some ways, we had a reciprocal friendship–he served as a volunteer in the ministry I supervised, and I served as a volunteer in the classes he supervised. John’s involvement with students through church became a natural extension of his growing relationships with teenager’s all over our community. John would often invite students at school to join him at our weekly high school gathering. My involvement with John and outdoor mountaineering trips was a natural extension of the ministry I was carving out through the church. Our joint ministry was externally and outreach oriented–we kept the trajectory of our main weekly gathering on the widest range of students, especially those not likely to come inside a church building. In retrospect, the students enrolled in the San Carlos High School Mountaineering Courses were blessed and fortunate. They gained intimate access to a grace-filled teacher in John, and by extension, received the mentoring of caring adults whom John invited to help lead the “Field Study Projects.” As I reflect on my experience, I could not have been happier. I had boundless energy, considered it my calling to be with adults and students in ministry, and was invited to make my second office the mountains of California.

More to come …

 

The best job I could imagine – November 16, 1981 November 16, 2011

Today marks the 30th anniversary since I was rescued in the Ventana Wilderness area, some thirty miles south of Big Sur, California.

I fell off a 70 foot cliff while serving as a volunteer in a mountaineering class at San Carlos High School.

I’ve decided to celebrate the friends who saved my life by writing some posts about the experience. I do not pass a single day without reflecting on November 16, 1981 and the courage it took for my friends to make decisions and take action that spared my life. I also freely admit that human effort and courage can not fully explain my survival from the fall and the 18 hour ordeal till I was plucked out by helicopter and transported to the nearest hospital. I am alive, I believe, by the grace and choosing of God. Every day and every step is a gift not taken for granted.

I intend to write briefly about the experience and the lessons learned. I won’t take too much time refining my words, so apologies in advance for poor sentence structure, or disjointed paragraphs. I’m just going to get the stuff that I have spent years talking with others about into written form. I’m writing mostly for me, but I know some of these posts will strike a chord for someone else and prove helpful.

In 1980, I graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary and began as an energetic youth pastor at Peninsula Covenant Church in Redwood City, CA. One of the best parts of the ministry I was privileged to engage was to help out my friend, John Woodhall, as he taught several Mountaineering courses at San Carlos High School. Students learned basic mountaineering skills in the class room and then took their Mid term and Final exams, affectionately called “Field Study Projects,” in the wild. I participated in many projects and thoroughly enjoyed the treat of hanging with kids in the beautiful outdoors. I loved camping, backpacking, rock climbing, and sleeping under the stars. I couldn’t imagine a better job–getting paid to explore the woods with high energy, risk-taking, adventurous kids, and my good buddy John.

The only challenge of this particular weekend mid term was the torrential down pour of rain. I love to sleep outside, but I hate to sleep in the rain. Especially when the students were responsible for our rain shelters.

More to come …

You can read all posts related to my mountaineering accident by searching the Categories for Accident.

 

Middle school is when the right friends may matter most | Media Relations February 8, 2011

Filed under: Adolescence,Parenting — billmacphee @ 5:21 pm
Tags: , ,

Researchers at the University of Oregon may be on to something middle school teachers and parents need to focus on – the shifting friendships happening as their fifth graders move into the sixth grade. Read the full article here:

Middle school is when the right friends may matter most | Media Relations.

  • As the early adolescent moves from one teacher to multiple teachers and classrooms, his or her social radar gets finely tuned into a plethora of new friendship possibilities. This is just the place where new friendships begin to blossom, for good or for not.
  • One of the profound conclusions is that young students who engage in friendships that are “pro-social,” [meaning that they are socially active friendships that respect rules and enjoy activities planned and monitored by caring, attentive adults], do better academically in high school and are better adjusted into their early twenties.
  • Academics are a vital focus during middle school but teachers and parents need to pay specific attention to the development of healthy, positive, social friendships among their children and students. Know your children, know their friends, and meet their friends parents.
  • Parents are wise to plan and support wholesome activities and establish clear behavior boundaries, while monitoring compliance and holding to consequences for misbehavior.
  • Parents, teachers, and youth workers will wisely collaborate and communicate about the friendships developing in their sphere of influence. Intervention is appropriate when friendship bonds lead to a sudden increase in rebellion and rule breaking.
 

Michael Yaconelli – a rare prophet January 1, 2011

Mike Yaconelli was a unique youth ministry pioneer and prophet. I had the privilege to know him, work for him briefly, and benefit greatly from his counsel and wisdom. Anyone committed to youth ministry and the church owe him an unpayable debt. This video speaks for itself. I post it as a remembrance and reminder. “What a ride!”

 

 

Teaching a Safer Way to Tackle December 25, 2010

Filed under: Adolescence,Sports — billmacphee @ 9:32 pm
Tags: , ,

I’m always satisfied when I see sports influencers seeking to help our kids love sports and learn skills in a way that insures greater safety and satisfaction. Eric Capacchione, a senior at South Torrance High School [my son’s football alma mater], is an avid and successful student of former professional football player, Bobby Hosea. Changing the climate within any sports system is difficult, but we’re seeing serious attention given to the dangers of head first tackling.

Teaching a Safer Way to Tackle – NYTimes.com.