Today I want to share an infographic from my friends at Christian Camp and Conference Association. It's the product of an initiative called The Power of Camp. These statistics, while alarming, are probably not a huge surprise to most parents and educators. It's no secret that our society, including our children, are more connected than ever. I'm not against technology, but I do believe that healthy limits allow us to benefit from new developments and not be hindered by them.

school shootingI am sure you’ve heard the news about the school shooting from yesterday. A young student at Chardon High School in Ohio, Thomas “T. J.” Lane, took a gun out and began shooting on fellow students. One was killed, and four others were injured, before a teacher ran the killer out of the building where he helped police apprehend T. J. Obviously, this is yet another tragic school shooting reminiscent of Columbine High School and others over the last fifteen years. I’m sure there’s no guarantee a school can provide parents that they’ll predict and prevent every school shooting. I do, however, want to discuss what kinds of signals kids send adults—that we need to be looking for, in order to try to avoid another school shooting. This is what we must specialize in: interpreting student climate and culture. Kids today don’t need adults for information. (They can get that on-line, without parents or teachers). What they do need us for is interpretation. Let me share some observations on this tragic school shooting:

Today's blog is a guest post by Brenda Coomer, a leadership and life coach from Tulsa, OK. Brenda is a member of the Growing Leaders Speaking Team and a dear friend. I hope you enjoy her post!
According to a recent issue of Fortune (Oct, 2011), women leaders are on the rise.  And from the looks of their “50 Most Powerful Women”, women are making a greater impression than ever before. However, it seems apparent that many women don’t feel significant, let alone a leader.

An issue continues to surface on college and high school campuses. It came up in the 1990s, and it’s back again. It’s about male students. Specifically, male leaders. Or, the lack of them.

Male LeadersIf you have plenty of male leaders on your campus—you are the exception. Deans, directors, coaches and principals are asking the question: How do we identify them and equip male leaders? Thanks to great efforts to provide opportunities for women since the 1970s (i.e. Title Nine), girls are everywhere; now guys are missing.

Once in a while, I post a fun blog about something from our culture. Several days ago I wrote about some great leadership movies that have come out over the last three decades. Today, I want to list a dozen great movies on the topic of  “mentoring.” We believe young leaders will not be raised up through massive crowds at some conference, but through life-on-life mentoring relationships. In fact, we believe that “more time with less people equals greater impact on students.”  When I talk to young people, mentors are one of the hottest topics in their lives. Most long for helpful, healthy mentors to guide them from backpack to briefcase.

I am about to tread on some very thin ice. I just want to warn you. I am about to talk about how most parents and teachers go about developing kids into adults. I have some friends who have two talented children. Both kids are teenagers and both are actors, singers and dancers. They both aspire to make it on Broadway. Their parents have resourced them with voice lessons and training every step along the way. In fact, I’d say the parents are consumed with their children’s success. So far, so good.

Today is President’s Day. A day we set aside to express honor and appreciation for the men who’ve held the highest office in our land. He is the Commander in Chief of our military forces, the CEO of our budget and finances and the voice of vision for our future. But presidents have not always been up for the challenge. Over the last two and a half centuries, men have been elected to the office who had mediocre or even poor experiences. While they may have led the army, or a business or even served as governor of a state in their past—the presidency just didn’t suit their gifts and style. It wasn’t the right context.

Have you heard the name Jeremy Lin lately?

If you haven’t, you are missing out! His name was plastered all over the front page of USA Today and the local paper in Sacramento where I stayed last night. He was the hot topic on ESPN today and stores can’t keep his number 17 jersey in stock. Jeremy Lin has led the New York Knicks to a six-game win streak while the team battled injuries to stars Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. [caption id="attachment_3871" align="aligncenter" width="407"]Jeremy Lin by nikk_la via Wikimedia Commons[/caption]

You probably saw this video, "Facebook Parenting: For the troubled teen," that went viral on YouTube last week. It first appeared on a Facebook page, belonging to a teenage girl. Her dad saw her graphic complaints, full of swear words, about how awful her life was—she hadn’t receive a new iPod, a new computer, a new cell phone and she wasn’t getting paid to do chores around the house, etc. So, her dad decided to respond to her Facebook grumblings with a post of his own. Be warned: his comments are a little bit graphic, but thousands of kids and adults alike have seen his video. Watch this video:

Troubled athletes are an unfortunate reality of working with any team.

I spoke to both a football coach and a basketball coach recently who relayed similar stories from their last season. Both had to dismiss four players from their teams because the troubled athletes couldn’t play as teammates. The athletes didn’t have a talent problem. They had a problem with discipline and perspective. The coaches both admitted they just didn’t have the time to get those troubled athletes up to speed—so they let them go. I think there’s a deeper problem in this predicament. During their childhood and adolescent years, kids often experience something traumatic. They encounter one extreme or the other: either abandonment or abundance. Some troubled athletes experience both.

Do you remember the Dr. Seuss’ book entitled, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street?  You probably read it as a kid. It was about some amazing things that occurred in an ordinary neighborhood and a quite common street. Several days ago, I blogged about an unusual opportunity that I and our team at Growing Leaders had to speak to the school superintendents from all over the state of Georgia. Because of the attendees, we called the event: The Super Summit. It was a grand day—and a very different day—for everyone. I found myself reminded of this: And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street! One hundred and fifty superintendents showed up for a day of inspiration, study and re-tooling for how to best equip the next generation of kids who will be leading our country in twenty years. We were so pleased to have the chance to invest in these unsung heroes who are attempting to lead and repair a difficult education system.

This week, I have blogged about the changes adults have made in the way we lead, teach and parent kids, over the last thirty years. Kids are definitely growing up in a more controlled—yet more paranoid—environment than I did. Social scientists agree that kids today are highly confident, and believe they can change the world. Unfortunately, there have been some unintended consequences to our new leadership style. Over a four-day period I am suggesting four of them, and what we must do to balance the negative impact they bring:

  1.  Adults often won’t let kids fail.
  2. Adults often won’t let kids fall.
  3. Adults often won’t let kids fear.
  4. Adults often won’t let kids fight.
Today, let’s take a look at the fourth item we must correct.

The past two days, I have blogged about the changes adults have made in the way we lead, teach and parent kids over the last thirty years. Kids are definitely growing up in a more controlled environment than I did. My conclusion is—there are shifts we’ve made that have had unintended consequences to them. Four of those shifts are what I’ve focused on in this series. Adults have not let kids…

  1. Fail.
  2. Fall.
  3. Fear.
  4. Fight.
Today, I will handle the third change and how it’s affected young people.

Rick Smith, CEO of World 50, reminded me of something recently that’s absolutely paramount for leaders to understand. Let me illustrate it this way:

In the fall of 1984, British punk rocker Bob Geldof had pretty much seen his career plateau. His band, the Boomtown Rats, had experienced some regional success, but none of their songs had reached the top fifty on the U.S. charts, and his Rats’ tours often ended negatively. Someone wasn’t happy, someone didn’t get paid enough or someone just got selfish. It all changed in November of that year.

Today is a very special day for me, and for our team at Growing Leaders. Along with Dale Alexander, president of Alexander and Company (and his team), we are hosting our very first Super Summit exclusively for superintendents of schools in Georgia. This is a first-time event for us, coming at a time when leaders must come together to determine what must be done to turn our schools around and equip students to lead in the real world. The Super Summit