The social media world has propelled the idea of “building platform” into the world of leadership and I’ve been surprised that this hasn’t generated more critique. Captivated by the idea of increasing notoriety, leaders have gleefully adopted building a platform, largely online, and give time each day to maintaining blogs, managing Twitter (though with Buffer and HootSuite, this has become less time-intensive), and hiding out from other people…. sometimes the very people they’re to be leading.
Now, full disclosure, of course I am involved online and use social media. I mean, it’s obvious isn’t it? But that’s not where I lead. Leading others isn’t being an itinerant speaker or having an online presence. Leadership isn’t writing a book. Leadership is relational, community-centered, and messy. read more…
Two events this month reminded me how important it is for those who are married to have a vibrant bond with their spouse, partner, or whatever term they use. Joel Osteen, a pastor I don’t normally read, wrote an article that challenged married readers to be ‘beautiful’ in marriage. What does it mean to be a beautiful person to live with? To share a life together? Many couples tend to lose sight of this and focus on the things the other person does wrong or apparently lacks. Critical attitudes seem to rule the day as the years add up, and parenting children/teenagers often doesn’t help, and defensiveness rises up and fuels the divides at home. But, what would it look like for you and I to be beautiful spouses, and beautiful to our wives/husbands, today? That may be a question worth asking yourself as part of your morning routine. It’s become one for me.
The second event was a wedding that I helped officiate in the wonderful city of Zacatecas, Mexico for two former students of mine, one of whom was also in my youth group 13 years ago. It was a fantastic wedding, yet the cross-cultural and multi-lingual aspects of the wedding created a planning/preparation process full of many twists and turns for the bride. And many details weren’t finalized until hours before the wedding. So, there was a rushed atmosphere right up until the ceremony. During the wedding, I had the best view of the couple and enjoyed watching them talk to each other, sharing their feelings, and demonstrating the close bond that these two ‘best friends’ had for each other on this day. It reminded me of my wedding day and that, 24 years later, Kelly remains my best friend and the love of my life.
I ran across a blog that cited recent well-chronicled research showing an increased number of teens in the United States wait to get their driver’s license. Less than half of the country’s 17 year old’s had licenses and only 30% of 16-year-old’s did, a drop from 44.7% of 16-year-old’s in 1988. As is the case with widespread social trends, there are numerous issues contributing to this change. Here are a few cited as contributing factors to this change:
- Schools have been cutting back on offering drivers’ education classes and charging more for the classes that are offered. The time and cost have made it less convenient.
- Summer schedules for teens fill with other activities, making a month’s worth of driving instruction less possible than it would have been 10 years. It may not be a major factor, but it does play a role for some families.
- States have implemented graduated licenses that delayed what having a license allowed. For instance, in many states, a 16-year-old can drive, but couldn’t drive with non-family members in the car. So, the social benefits for having a car are quite different from a decade ago. However, even once a teen gets a license, he/she is limited in whether they can “haul” – carry non-family members.
- The digital age makes driving less desirable. Some research supports this. Youth can connect virtually, so having a car to get with friends is less necessary.
- Youth are involved in more activities and are used to being driven around by parents, so why drive until later?
- Some anecdotal research suggests that environmental concerns play a role. Surprised? That warrants some future exploration.
- Another explanation is that this is symptomatic of the extended adolescence of our current Western world, a development reality called “Emerging Adulthood.” Since parents are more enabling of teens, they are, then, less “ready” to drive. And, then, this is seen as being less mature, less ready to be responsible.
I occasionally watch a TV show that features “high school” kids and I look at them with a developmental eye and think, “It’s been a long time since they were teenagers.” It started for me when Happy Days was the most popular show in the 1970s, featuring a cast of actors who were very mature for high schoolers. During the first season, Ron Howard was 20 years old, but played young high schooler “Richie Cunningham.” Don Most (Ralph Malph) was 21 while Anson Williams (Warren “Potsie) was 24 years old. Henry Winkler, who played dropout Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli was 29 years old in the first season, though meant to depict a high school – aged kid.
The phenomenon of an older actor playing a teenager is nothing new. Directors who use college-aged students or older get a more developed voice, greater poise, and a more developed physique than from younger less-trained actors. If the show includes singing and dancing, the voices are stronger with greater range and tone, and the dancing is stronger.