Swiftwater Journey

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

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!”

 

 

Reminder: you are the Beloved December 31, 2010

Filed under: Spiritual Transformation — billmacphee @ 2:20 pm
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As you end 2010 and anticipate 2011 let me remind you of the most fundamental truth about you. Though a plethora of voices tell you that you are worthless and unlovable, having to earn love, the quiet voice of the Father is telling you right now,

“I have called you by name, from the very beginning. You are mine and I am yours. You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests. I have molded you in the depths of the earth and knitted you together in your mother’s womb. I have carved you in the palms of my hands and hidden you in the shadow of my embrace. I look at you with infinite tenderness and care for you with a care more intimate than that of a mother for her child. I have counted every hair on your head and guided you at every step. Wherever you go, I go with you, and wherever you rest, I keep watch. I will give you food that will satisfy all your hunger and drink that will quench all your thirst. I will not hide my face from you. You know me as your own as I know you as my own. You belong to me.”

[Henri J.M. Nouwen, Life of the Beloved]

Remind yourself of this truth daily, find others who will speak this reality into your life, relish the environments where your life as the Beloved can grow. Happy New Year!

 

Teaching a Safer Way to Tackle December 25, 2010

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

 

College Finals and a Puppy Party December 13, 2010

Filed under: Adolescence,education,emerging adults,Technology — billmacphee @ 9:48 pm
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The bad economy and a scary job market add to already stressed out college students. Silly, fun, and hilarious extra-curricular events plus greater attention to the mental health of emerging adults is the antidote and preventative medicine that colleges across the country employ to take a bit of the pressure off. One positive alternative to more alcohol and drugs to relieve stress …

On a lawn at the Claremont campus, two fenced pens were set up, one with six bunnies and the other with 10 puppies. Over two hours, about 300 students took turns climbing inside and playing with the animals at the student-organized event.

I wonder about the stress level the puppies endured …

The American College Health Association estimates 40 percent of male students and half of female students report feeling so depressed that, at least once in the past year, it interfered with their day-to-day functioning.

Is it possible that helicopter parents rob their midadolescents of the opportunities to develop important life skills that include managing time, stress, and relationships? High School life at its best includes supportive parents who are present yet allow their children to face and navigate the inevitable pressures of deciding how to prioritize and eliminate the unimportant from the necessary.

Some scholars note that social media, including Facebook and Twitter, create their own frustrating and numbing sense of anxiety. One professor invites his students to abstain from all social media during the duration of his semester course, journaling their experience. There is good advice and tips for reducing social media stress from mashable.com.

We are all better off if, during this Christmas season, we slow down, disconnect appropriately, and focus on what matters most.

 

learning my lines. . .: Miley Cyrus. . . Have You Been Listening? . . . . October 15, 2010

Filed under: Adolescence — billmacphee @ 8:42 pm
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Watch the video. Miley seems so uncomfortable with this new image. Her eyes seem to me to betray that others, older adults, have manipulated her into playing a role in order to capitulate to what kids may want in a pop star.

This almost comes across as parody.

Miley is a masterpiece – Ephesians 2:10 – God’s artwork, his handiwork, his poiema/poem. Her identity is not determined by pop status or album sales, but by who God has made her to be – his beloved daughter.

 

 

Jim Liebelts Youth Culture Watch: Kids Texting in Class is the New Normal September 15, 2010

Filed under: Adolescence,Parenting,Technology — billmacphee @ 8:24 am

Jim Liebelts Youth Culture Watch: Kids Texting in Class is the New Normal.

What we do is often more powerful than what we say. It is so tempting to pick the phone up and check email or a text while driving, but we usually “get what we are.”

 

msnbc video: Are 20-somethings afraid of growing up? August 25, 2010

Filed under: Adolescence,emerging adults,Parenting — billmacphee @ 9:20 pm
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msnbc video: Are 20-somethings afraid of growing up?.

What are the implications for parenting and for secondary school teachers and youth workers in our churches?

 

Raised by the Pack July 27, 2010

Filed under: Adolescence,Parenting,Sports — billmacphee @ 12:14 pm
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“Raised by the Pack”

Common sense, research, and Biblical tradition reveal that having at least five adults who relate to an adolescent with a “beyond-performance” agenda greatly enhance his or her movement toward responsible and interdependent maturity. All kids need a pack.

Vicki Hart writes for Bicycling Magazine and zeroed in on a young Thomas Jondall, who turned 18 in July. Thomas has grown up in challenging circumstances including estrangement from mom and dad, sleeping in parks, missing school, and yet, excelling in bike road racing. A group of cyclists and neighbors noticed and then took Thomas under their wings, including Dave and Katie Jonsson, who adopted young Thomas. He now has a home, a family, a high school degree, and a promising cycling career. This is a great story worth reading and emulating.

Gradually, the cyclists realized that the kids who seemed to have a great future ahead of him didn’t have much of a present.

 

Getting More Kids Riding to School July 3, 2010

Filed under: education,Parenting,Sports,Time — billmacphee @ 7:11 pm
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How did you get to school as a kid? I remember both walking and riding my bike, but also weathered a short season on the bus. The Department of Transportation reports that in 1969 about 50% of children rode or walked to school, while today barely 13% do. Parents’ fear, bike-unfriendly streets, and distance are reasons given for the decline. Drive, walk, or ride past schools as they start today, but be careful, because their driveways [originally designed for a handful of cars] are packed with impatient and speedy parents dropping their kids off. Riding and walking are healthy alternatives to the crush of cars, helping kids not only slow down but get in shape.

Michelle Hamilton, in the recent issue of Bicycling Magazine, writes that it is possible to get more kids out of cars and riding more between home and school. Here are a couple examples Hamilton highlights:

  • Alpine Elementary School in Alpine, Utah received a $12,000 grant from Safe Routes to School to partner with their city, adding “crosswalks, school-zone signs and bike racks, and organized parent-led biking and walking groups – key components in easing parents’ fears.” The number of kids getting out of cars and onto bikes or their own two feet increased from 32 to 50 percent.
  • Starkville, Mississippi is stripping bike lanes from all its sub-divisions to city schools.
  • Taylor, Texas is in the process of completing a network of trails connecting city institutions for ease of riding and walking.
  • The League of American Bicyclist’s (LAB) Bicycle Friendly Community program increased their program from 48 to 140 cities in the last five years.
  • Michelle Obama is encouraging more kids to walk and ride to school through her Let’s Move initiative.
  • Ray LaHood, U.S. secretary of transportation, is determined to integrate the needs of bicyclists into all federally funded road projects.

Here are six ways Hamilton suggests cities and individuals can get more kids riding to school:

  1. Make it a group effort – with city government, parents’ groups, neighborhood coalitions, and bike clubs working together.
  2. Champion the cause – it takes an individual to step up in any city and make it happen.
  3. Get help – explore available grants listed at SRTS’s guide [saferoutesinfo.org/guide/steps/index.cfm].
  4. Use incentive programs – gifts made available by schools for miles ridden or walked, potentially combining incentives with support of worthy causes.
  5. Involve kids – using students as safety officers, with parental or school supervision.
  6. Educate – by holding education classes for kids and parents. One school launched a “drive-safely” campaign and lowered the percentage of parents exceeding the 25-mph speed limit from 59 to 21 percent.

Changing mindsets and lifestyles takes lots of time, but cities across the country are discovering the joy of using their own power to get to and from school. Get out and ride, and take your kids along!

 

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.