Swiftwater Journey

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

Some things are bigger than baseball May 19, 2010

Filed under: Adolescence,Sports — billmacphee @ 4:11 pm

John Sikorra is a high school student with a passionate love for baseball. He also is suffering from a rare, fatal, neuro-degenerative disorder known as Batten disease which has taken his eyesight in childhood and now is compromising his cognitive skills as well.

John has hung around his baseball team at Chaminade High School in West Hills, CA dreaming of the possibility of one day swinging for the fences. Two opposing coaches rose above normal competition and gave this kid a chance. Read the story, it will make you smile and restore your hope for goodness to happen to kids.

  • I love the commitment and presence of John’s dad, Joe.
  • I am moved by the love of the game – which allows kids to play with abandon and not performance.
  • I support caring for an individual student – setting aside protocol and letting him shine if just for a moment.

John Sikorra is living the dream at last – latimes.com.


Teenage Sailor Teaches Me About Being an Adult May 16, 2010

Filed under: Adolescence — billmacphee @ 9:53 am
Tags: , ,

Jessica Watson Sails Around the World – 16 but really an adult

Government initiates artificial markers for entrance into adulthood but Jessica’s journey illustrates that being adult is defined more by a sense of knowing who you are, taking ownership and responsibility for one’s choices, and finding your place among other adults.

“People don’t think you’re capable of these things —¬†they don’t realize what young people, what 16-year olds and girls are capable of. It’s amazing, when you take away those expectations, what you can do.”

Jessica has a new goal now that she is back on land — learn to drive a car and get her driver’s license. Getting one’s drivers license, graduating from high school, joining the military, voting, or turning 21 and hitting the bars, are not clear markers of entrance into the adult world.

Read more from Jessica – http://jessicawatson.com.au


South Pasadena athlete transcends the rules – latimes.com

Filed under: Adolescence,Sports — billmacphee @ 9:19 am

South Pasadena athlete transcends the rules – latimes.com.

Robin Laird

Robin Laird is a high school athlete who has a relatively centered sense of who she is and what role sports play in her life. She has risen above the often dysfunctional adult-driven competitive nature of youth sports since she knows that winning is thrilling but not self-defining.

Sports often becomes a rigid system that supersedes what is best for kids – the participants – and perpetuates adult-driven agendas for success. Good for Robin. She has navigated an unfortunate misstep and will move forward into her college journey with poise and respect. Others are not so fortunate.


Low-quality child care can have lasting impact May 14, 2010

Filed under: Adolescence,education,Parenting — billmacphee @ 5:30 pm
Tags: ,

Low Quality Child Care Hurts

Using day-care seems inevitable and and mandatory for many. This research indicates that quality matters, but maybe more important is the duration of care outside the home and the intimacy of family relationships when the child returns to parent’s care.

“Researchers had speculated that the negative effects of lower-quality care would disappear as the influence of other factors, such as peers, teachers and maturation, overcame the early childhood experience. But in the latest analysis of the data, they discovered that teenagers who had received higher-quality child care were less likely to report engaging in problem behaviors such as arguing, being mean to others and getting into fights. Those who spent more hours in child care of any kind were more likely to engage in impulsive and risky behaviors.”


Op-Ed Columnist – The Boys Have Fallen Behind – NYTimes.com March 28, 2010

Filed under: Adolescence,education — billmacphee @ 5:57 am
Tags: , ,

Op-Ed Columnist – The Boys Have Fallen Behind – NYTimes.com.

What does it take to introduce young boys to the joy of reading?

  • Accessibility to great and interesting books
  • Proximity to adults who model reading for learning and pleasure
  • Reasonable boundaries around technology and screen-time
  • Schools and teacher who assign writing and reading projects
  • Dinner dialogue that includes conversation about books
  • Balance with outdoor exercise and adventure
  • Positive affirmation for creative impulses

Break the Chains pt 3 March 9, 2010

Filed under: Adolescence,pastoral leadership — billmacphee @ 10:47 pm
Tags: , ,

8 minute version of the 2010 “Break the Chains” human trafficking video developed by the Dept. of Women Ministries of The Evangelical Covenant Church

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Break the Chains pt 3", posted with vodpod

A powerful video revealing a dark secret in our country. I’m contemplating what response is appropriate. I wonder what the reality is in Los Angeles.

More helpful resources are available at http://www.covchurch.org/humantrafficking


In Youth Sports, Players Are Playing for Fun – NYTimes.com February 15, 2010

Filed under: Adolescence,Parenting — billmacphee @ 12:16 pm
Tags: ,

In Youth Sports, Players Are Playing for Fun – NYTimes.com.

I like what Mark Hyman writes about kids and sports. The article also mentions¬†Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), whose stated goal is “transforming youth sports so sports can transform youth.”

Kids play sports mostly to have fun, which is easily lost on us parents as we impose our competitive goals on our children. PCA hosts a number of workshops which have helped youth sports organizations become places where kids excel not only at their chosen sport but also in character development.

We claim we are all about character development, but often our drive to see kids excel blurs the lines between our agenda and what is ultimately good for our young athletes. Do you remember the days when you gathered your friends and agreed to meet at the playground after school for a pick up game of football or baseball? No uniforms, no coaches, just choosing sides and playing till the sun went down. Many kids don’t share this memory and feel somewhat uncomfortable organizing a game without some kind of adult initiative.

Youth sports, when run well, produce great good for kids, but adults must be clear about our desired outcomes, and able to self regulate when egos and schedules get over blown. I commend Positive Coaching Alliance to you, but also just scooting kids outside to play once in a while.