Seven Reasons Why So Many Teens Are Involved in Protests
Parents of high school students have been shocked by how many teens have leapt onto the scene with such strong emotions at the protests across America. Parents who assumed their child thought just like they did have seen a new side to their sons and daughters. Parents who felt their kids embraced law and order and were satisfied with being
Parents: How to Have Patience for Yourself in a Culture of Comparison
I remember overhearing a dad talk about what he’d just done for his children. Actually, he was bragging about what he’d done for them. This man just returned from a trip to the Swiss Alps where he and his kids had skied together in new matching snowsuits with brand new ski equipment. Upon their return, they stopped in New York
How Three Young Leaders Went Beyond Boasting and Posting to Hosting
As sad as they are, I find that treasures often emerge after a tragedy. That’s exactly what we’ve seen in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Over the last several weeks, the whole world has witnessed protesters, mostly young protesters, gathering in major cities to march under the banner of
Five Ideas to Overcome the Challenge of Virtual Learning This Fall
Most of us weren’t quite sure what would happen when the nationwide quarantine was mandated and both parents and their kids found themselves attempting to work from home. What we now realize is that those students and their parents agree on one thing: Virtual learning didn’t work too well. Most moms and dads agree there is a huge problem with distance learning.
How to Stop Being a Control Freak with Your Kids
I just spoke to Sharon, a mom who is now teaching her three kids at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first few days were novel and even fun. The adrenaline that flows from doing something new had kicked in. Now, it’s a different story. Sharon told me recently her biggest struggle is wanting to control everything. I can see
How Our Parenting Has Changed Over the Years
A hundred years ago, we read stories of how families were larger, how kids were to speak only when spoken to, and how parents enjoyed a more influential voice in their teens’ lives. In most cases, the acceptable style was command and control. My research shows that much of that narrative is true. There was a clearer sense of control
Four of the Best Ways to Make the Most of This Season
I love remembering the story of two young men who both contracted the deadly disease, Polio, almost a hundred years ago. One man became understandably bitter over his prognosis. He would be confined to a wheelchair and never get to do what most young men do at his age. He decided to give up on his dreams and languished for
Five Changes Schools Plan to Make This Fall
At Growing Leaders, we have the privilege of interacting with lots of school administrators, athletic directors, and department heads. Obviously, with such a strange spring semester behind us, these leaders are planning for a new normal this fall. No one I have spoken with plans for life to go completely back to how it was in 2019. One high school principal put
Six Metaphors to Build an Incubator of Peace for Your Kids
A little while ago, I heard about a news report that gave me pause. ABC’s Good Morning America team interviewed the Chief of the New York Fire Department who said not only are the people infected by the coronavirus increasing in New York, but 23 percent of first responders have now been infected. The ones who rush in to save
Life Skills: The Class Some Students Are Asking for
After teaching the art of communication to some high school seniors, I turned them loose to apply what they’d learned. In groups of three, students stood up front to speak on a topic they felt passionate about. One group specifically caught my attention. The group members spoke about how much they wished for a class on life skills. Respectfully, they praised their
Seven Practical Strategies to Talk About Mental Health with Your Kids
Even though mental health issues are on the forefront of our minds today, the topic still carries a stigma for many. Talking about depression can be hard. Trina, a sophomore in college, recently said to me, “We look around us and everyone else seems happy, and we feel we must be the only ones who struggle with mental health problems.” So,
How Schools Can Practice Good Timing This Fall
Did you notice that people experienced an ebb and flow to their emotional state since we were all quarantined in March? I sure you did. At first, we were refreshed, by not having to drive to work or even get dressed up for Zoom meetings. Then, we declined a bit emotionally when we all got nervous about how long this
Survey Says: Teachers and Parents Will Handle the Fall Differently
Here are some icebreaker questions for you: Why have people today felt the need to: Hoard toilet paper at the grocery store? Keep their automobile gas tanks as full as possible? Purchase enough masks to keep their faces covered for a decade? The answer is the same for all the questions: uncertainty.
How Often Should We Talk About the Pandemic With Our Kids?
When my kids were young, our family witnessed the Columbine High School shooting (a campus massacre killing 15 people and injuring dozens more) and the September 11th terrorist attacks (where almost 3,000 died). My daughter was in middle school, my son in elementary school. The stories were a lot for their young minds to process. At the time, I recall
Students Who Invest Their Time Instead of Wasting It
Every one of us has a choice to make when it comes to our time. And since most of us have more time on our hands these days, it’s important to reflect on this topic. We can: 1. Waste our time. We find things to do to kill time or amuse ourselves. 2. Spend our time. We use our time on tasks
Five Brilliant Leadership Lessons From the Protests in Louisville
One of the most moving stories emerging from the protests against police brutality, and on behalf of George Floyd (and others) who’ve been victims of racists cops, was a story out of the protests in Louisville, Kentucky in response to the killing of Breonna Taylor. Officer Galen Hinshaw heard the call over his radio that one of his fellow officers was
What Kind of Leadership Do We Need?
As the founder and CEO of Growing Leaders, I look at the world through a leadership lens. I believe leadership matters. Moments of crisis amplify the need for good leadership. I also believe leadership is a dance between the leader, followers and the situation. A fundamental question leaders need to ask is: “What is the best way to gain positive
How Do We Respond to the George Floyd Murder?
In light of our sad and emotionally charged world right now, I felt it would be good for us to "push pause” and post a timely piece on today’s protests to George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police. This issue will not go away—and it shouldn’t go away—until we lead our world into a better place. Our kids deserve
Helping High School Grads Make a Plan for Next Year
Melanie, an 18-year old high school student, told me recently, “I am a planner, but these days I can’t really plan.” Such is the world for high school upperclassmen, especially seniors. As we leave behind the month of May, the time when schools typically host graduation ceremonies, students either experienced a virtual ceremony or they are having to wait until August.
Letter to Readers After the George Floyd 2020 Protests
Dear Readers, Today, I plan to write to you personally, in a letter instead of an article. After all that’s happened regarding the George Floyd murder (and for that matter, Ahmaud Arbery’s murder while on a jog in Georgia or for Breonna Taylor, when police raided her Louisville home), I am grieving. I can’t believe we are still in this mess. I
The Importance of Becoming an Essential Worker
During the last several weeks, we all heard the term, “essential workers.” Our government asked each of us to shelter in place—except those people with essential jobs like medical workers, grocery store clerks, shipping services and deliveries, gas station staff, and the like. We couldn’t even go get a haircut or eat out at a restaurant. Only the bare minimum. The
Video Games and Smartphones: How to Help Your Kids Manage their Free Time
Today’s blog is from Andrew McPeak. Andrew is a next gen researcher, speaker and the Vice President of Content for Growing Leaders. He is also the co-author of Generation Z Unfiltered: Facing Nine Hidden Challenges of the Most Anxious Population. I was talking to a friend of mine who has three teenage boys at home. Lately, the challenges of having three teenagers
How to Help a Student Who Just Lost their Senior Year
Members of our team at Growing Leaders went and asked students how they’re handling the quarantine. One group of high school seniors offered the most telling insights on their final year of school: “It’s definitely not how I’ve pictured it all these years. I’m missing my senior track season, probably prom, maybe graduation, and the last couple weeks, I’ve missed school.
The Unintended Consequences of Our Nationwide Quarantine
Most Americans reluctantly returned home several weeks ago in obedience to our government’s “shelter in place” order. Tens of millions began working from home to stay safe from COVID-19. As we continue, our fear of the unknown progresses. One of the issues leaders need to consider is what it will look like once we return to public life. Already some
Six Ideas for Utilizing Technology to Teach
When I recently spoke to a group of eight students ages 17 to 22, I asked them what the biggest surprise was that they received since returning home to finish the semester online. I got my own surprise from most of them. Their top answer? How little their teacher knew about online learning. Apparently, many faculty members struggled to get up to
How to Help Gen Z Through the COVID-19 Mental Health Crisis
Most of us were shocked when we heard that medical doctor, Lorna Breen, died by suicide on April 27, 2020. Although she was doing all she could to fight the spread of the coronavirus as a doctor, her own mental health was dealt a mortal blow when she ended her life. She had battled the COVID-19 infection herself and had
How to Lead Generation Z When You’re Not in Charge
Leading is never easy--especially when you don’t have a badge. And it can be even tougher when you attempt to lead students. By this, I mean gaining authority in a teen’s life is an accomplishment, especially if you have no title or position of leadership. Consider this case study from last year. Coach Goodman works with the varsity high school boys’
The Positive Outcomes of Outbreaks Through History
Note: Today’s post is available for you to either watch as a vlog or read as a blog post below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cne3mnjlb5s Interruptions have a way of changing us. We enter our week with a plan, then suddenly, intrusions happen: People walk in with unsolicited problems. Accidents occur, which required time and energy to fix. Outbreaks unexpectedly sweep across the world. But because these unplanned interruptions
The Secret Weapon to Handling Mental Health Issues
I saw something last week that absolutely fascinated me. I don’t know if I would have believed it had I not seen it. Four university students were in the parking lot at our local grocery store just north of Atlanta. I heard them talking about how nervous they were about going inside to shop and how anxious they were about
How to Turn a Setback into a Comeback
Note: Today’s post is available for you to either watch as a vlog or read as a blog post below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfhw3Mt1HiQ I remember a story recently, which has a relevant application to the season we’re in today. If you’ve followed professional boxing over the last century, you know the name, Jack Dempsey. Jack was the heavyweight champion of the world for seven years. But do
An Astronaut’s Advice on Living in Isolation
Note: Today’s post is available for you to either watch as a vlog or read as a blog post below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3KrUYkSlpA Astronaut Scott Kelly is a veteran of four space flights and was the pilot for the space shuttle Discovery in December 1999. This experienced astronaut recently spoke about how to handle long periods of time in isolation. As in social isolation. Sound relevant? Here
How to Embed Social and Emotional Learning During This Critical Time
A teacher called me a few weeks ago to talk about how to manage this stressful time. She was teaching her students online for the first time and attempting to manage her own children who were home all day. It’s quite a workload. When I suggested she find ways to embed social and emotional learning into her virtual classroom time—she hesitated.
How to Invest Your Time as a Coach in Today’s New Normal
More and more coaches are reaching out to each other, discussing how to best coach a team during this COVID-19 pandemic. We live in strange times. Who would have believed in February that by the end of April we would be: Ending the winter and spring season with no championships? Saying goodbye to our seniors with no graduation ceremonies? Working
How Student Leadership is Morphing for Generation Z
“I see leadership differently than my parent’s generation does.” Those are the words of Brandon, a college sophomore, who ended his semester at home when the entire student body at Vanderbilt University left due to COVID-19. The coronavirus is changing us, and Brandon believes it is only accelerating a change that was taking place already. These days, I hosted a virtual meeting
Ten Ideas to Help You and Your Students Get More Done at Home
Have you ever had a Saturday morning where you thought: Finally, I get a weekend to catch up on some projects! It seems we tread water all week, so we look forward to weekends to get some tasks done. And then, we reach Sunday night, and very few tasks, if any, are done. During this period of isolation during COVID-19, many
Do You Know What Your Student-Athletes Need from You Now?
I spoke to a couple of NCAA Division One coaches by phone last week. Both were holding up OK but were inquiring about how to manage their current reality as both student-athletes and coaches are separated, routines are upset, and so many are anxious. Recruiting looks different. Strength and conditioning looks different. Team discussions look different. Today’s student-athletes are from Generation
What’s Wrong with Social Distancing?
It was five weeks ago when we began to hear the term, “social distancing.” It wasn’t invented then; people have practiced it for centuries during outbreaks. But this was our own version in 2020. We heard that staying beyond six feet from one another would prevent us from vulnerability to the coronavirus. Sadly, I have witnessed a pitiful misinterpretation of this
What People Need Most from Their Leaders in Times of Crisis
There is a piece of content making its way around on social media right now that summarizes what every leader needs to remember as we endure this strange time in our history. "We are all in the same boat—but we are not all in the same storm. For some people, it’s sprinkling. This is a break. It’s a breather. It’s a rest.
The Biggest Lesson We Can Learn from This Pandemic
I just heard from a friend who lost a tenant in her apartment complex due to the coronavirus. The woman who died was only 41 years old. Suddenly, this outbreak has hit close to home for me. There is no clear historical precedent for the scale and nature of this shock. Some economists see the U.S. output falling by more in
Increasing Engagement with Students Who Don’t Fit the Mold
Did you see the movie The Peanut Butter Falcon? It was one of my favorite movies last year. It’s the story of three outliers who didn’t fit into the mold their situation demanded of them. All three were rebels, but one of them, Zak, a 22-year-old with Down syndrome who lived in an assisted living facility in North Carolina, was only a
How Will a Global Pandemic Impact Generation Z as They Become Adults?
Do you remember where you were when the Berlin Wall came down? Or when September 11th happened? I bet you do if you were around during these events. They were huge. But, do you recall where you were when you heard about COVID-19? Maybe not, because it was a gradual news breaker. It began as a news story from China in
The Importance of Sharing Responsibility with Your Kids
Have you ever heard your student, employee, or son or daughter say something like: That wasn’t my fault. (And you know it was.) Mrs. Vargus gave me a bad grade. (And you know it was earned.) He made me do it. (And you know it was a choice.) You don’t trust me. (And you wonder if you should.) Responsibility is something
What Parents May Learn from Teaching Their Own Kids
One of the many viral Facebook posts spreading around the country is a note an eight-year-old boy named Ben wrote about how things were going at home now that his mom has assumed the task of being his teacher during this period of social distancing. To sum it up, Ben’s not so sure his mother is cut out for home-schooling. Young
A Pandemic is a Terrible Thing to Waste
Note: Today's post is available for you to either watch as a vlog or read as a blog post below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdAjkeLiPOQ Many people I know are already complaining about the “interruption” of the coronavirus. Life is on hold. Classes have gone virtual or gone away completely. It feels like society is not making progress. But really—this is totally up to us. I don’t mean
The Most Important Responsibilities Every Student Needs to Own
Jalen is 17 years old and in his junior year of high school. Like many teens his age, he’s preoccupied with making good grades, taking the SAT and getting into a good college. When I asked him about other concerns normally on the minds of teens like him—he balked. Me: When did you get your driver’s license? Jalen: I don’t drive. I
How to Help Generation Z Break Free from the All-or-Nothing Mindset
Have you noticed what’s happening around our country? Psychologists call it all-or-nothing thinking. It’s when a person assumes: My life is either awesome or it’s terrible. My job is either fantastic or it’s disgusting. I am either beautiful or I am ugly. My classmates are either smart or they’re stupid. I am successful or I’m worthless. This year, we see it
Three Ways to Know If Your Kid Is Dealing with Loneliness
When both of my kids were young, they had no problem expressing what they wanted or needed. My wife and I would’ve sworn they were both extroverts, as they (like millions of other Millennials) let us know if they were hungry, thirsty, in need of a toy, or desiring a friend. Then they became high school students and later, college students. Eventually,
What Message are We Sending to Generation Z?
Note: Today's post is available for you to either watch as a vlog or read as a blog post below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKpI1sLoNs0 An NPR online report stunned me recently. I didn’t know whether to chuckle or to mourn our “snowflake generation.” And it’s not the kids—it’s the adults. Along with hand sanitizer and other disinfectants, toilet tissue has been increasingly hard to find at local markets,
The Six P’s of an Amazing School Culture
I just finished reviewing my notes on colleges and secondary schools I’ve observed since 2005. The schools are located in Singapore, Canada, England, Germany, Egypt, India, Brazil, Mexico, and the United States. I’ve listed below the “best practices” in those schools. Obviously, a key requirement when applying best practices to organizations or schools is the ability to balance the unique
How the Coronavirus Could Affect Generation Z
Every time period in history is shaped by the significant events that occur during that season. Each generation is marked by shared experiences, music, heroes, villains, tragedies, TV shows and economies. Let’s walk down memory lane: My parents grew up during the Great Depression and brought a “waste not, want not” mindset with them clear into the 21st century. Both