Seriously. BSA starts an official Twitter Feed today. That’s exciting.
Twitter is pretty neat. In it’s simplest form, it means if you “follow” the BSA feed, anytime they have anything they feel is interesting they will text message you. But it also means you can talk back to BSA, and all others who are following their feed simly by replying to their tweet. Depending on how BSA uses it, they tweet out questions to get instant feedback from those following their tweets (presumably Scouters). You can monitor Twitter on the web, but most have tweets routed to their cell phone.
The first BSA tweet is:
Have you heard? NBC Nightly News interviews Chief Scout Executive Bob Mazzuca about our Hispanic initiative on March 3. Tune in!
So, your city has lots of near naked women everywhere for a few days a year, how do you handle it with your Young Men? That’s what leaders in Brazil are faced with when Carnival Mardis Gras celebration breaks out.
Well if the Misplaced Americans blog is accurate they have come up with a brilliant solution — schedule summer camp for that week and ship the boys out to country. The post is sobering about some of the problems those youth face (maybe a little TMI about the family problems they face, as it could be embarrassing to the boys, even if only by association) but it puts the problems the boys in your ward have in perspective.
I was thinking about this a lot lately, how to judge your Young Men’s Program, or to get even more raw, how good are you as a YM leader?
After much contemplation I settled on this: the single most important factor in judging YM leaders is how they minister to the boys. My definition of “minister” is the amount of love you have for them along with the works you do that are motivated by that love. I think that is how Jesus will judge YM leaders. Fortunately, I don’t have the capacity to see into hearts, so I can’t judge that, so I need to find a different way to judge you all.
So, I started looking for a metric… a number. Without a doubt the most important number is the percentage of your young men who serve Missions. On the surface that works, but I decided it wouldn’t be fair to use that number. Frankly that number is largely dependent on the spiritual circumstance of those who are delivered to your door. That is not to minimize the affect the YM’s program can have, but it is to say it is not the only or even necessarily the primary factor (primary factor would be home life, IMHO). (more…)
In a ward I was in last month a young Deacon froze up while passing the Sacrament. He just got a bit turned around and lost his bearings. A good brother stood up and helped him, but it was a good reminder of how scary it can be for some of our young men participate in ordinances, especially when it is their first time.
Over at Small and Simple blog there is a great story of a new Priest’s nervousness over Blessing the Sacrament for the first time. The story has a punchline which I won’t spoil, but you can learn a lesson about getting too comfortable and not spending the time necessary to get Young Men ready to participate in ordinances.
I just read an interesting article by an UK Guardian reporter attending an LDS Service. You can read the article here. I ran across the account on Dave’s Mormon Inquiry and Dave correctly captures the reporter’s attitude with “The tone is balanced, although the journalist doesn’t try very hard to hide his general disdain for religion.”
The thing that I found interesting was this:
They bring pieces of bread round on sliver platters to the accompaniment of the organ and all we have to do is sit there and wait until it arrives, each taking a piece.
Either the reporter made a mistake or that ward is a bit maverick. (more…)
Today I have seen 2 Church ads on websites. I spend a fair amount of time online, and I don’t recall seeing ads like these before. The placement is interesting, one was on a humor site, and the one was on the notoriously liberal huffington post. I love that they are putting their message out there in diverse places, in this case just across the page from the “gay Snipers” story
I know the Church is being VERY fiscally conservative right now, from a hiring freeze at BYU to pushing virtually all building projects into 2010, I am pleased they appear to be still putting money into missionary work.
Ever since I read that Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, and M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles attended President Obama’s Inauguration I wondered where they were actually sitting. In all politics proximity to the top dog is critical, I wondered just how much clout the Church has in Washington (although my Brother points out they were likely guests of “W”, not necessarily “O”).
Over at Life on Golden Plates they have a cool post playing “find the Apostles” with a large format photo of the entire capital steps during the inauguration. You can zoom in and see pretty much every face on the steps.
If you don’t have the patience to play, click here to see the answer.
There is a good post over at New Cool Thing on teaching in the quorums. In the comments there is a debate about whether one can “learn” to be a good teacher. I have no doubt that some are just born great teachers, others are born boring, but both types can improve.
The single best how-to-teach video that I have ever seen is available online. It is a 45 minute lectuer by MIT professor Patrick Winston. He calls it “How To Speak”. From what I can see, Patrick was was born boring, but taught himself to give great lectures. He studied it and broke it down into very specific skills. It is fascinating, and ANY teacher or Sacrament Meeting speaker could improve their game markedly just by watching this lecture.
Yesterday we observed Scout Sunday. I loved seeing the boys in their uniforms. Two older members with no connection to the Youth stopped me to tell me how much they enjoyed seeing the uniformed boys. I also overheard a conversation in the hallway with 2 members saying the same thing.
So today I make my rounds through the LDS blogs and and and surprised to learn that Scout Sunday is controversial. OK, I don’t really think it is controversial in real life, but in the Drama Queen blogernacle, it is controversial.
Anyway, it is a very interesting post over at Times and Seasons
BTW- I have this theory that most everything on the local church level that is controversial is because leaders have failed to plan well, or communicate well. I arrive at that theory because everything that I personally been involved with that has turned out “controversial” was directly related to those failures by me or other leaders.
In the Times and Seasons post there is a bit of mini-drama is over whether or not the YM should pass the Sacrament in their uniforms. In our ward we notified the Elders Quorum early, so they prepared it and passed it. They enjoyed participating in that ordinance this one Sunday, the Boys get to see the men passing, which builds their appreciation for the importance of the ordinance. Families get to have their boys sit with them through the entire meeting. Sounds like a win-win situation, or as Micheal Scott says– “a win, win, win situation”.
I had great Church leaders all through my teen life. I could not have asked for better men, they were just great. Yet as I look back over my 6 years in YM, a single act stands above all others. It was the most gratifying interaction of all, yet oddly, no words spoken.
My adviser attended my High School Track meet.
As a teen, outside of my family, I existed in 2 very happy worlds. My sports and Church. Both were great, but in all honesty my sports world was bigger than my church world, simply because I spent 3 or 4 hours a day competing or training, and church was about 3 or 4 hours a week. As I said, both were very happy, and I could not have asked for more favorable circumstances in both my sports and church worlds, but they just never intersected. I was active, so there was never any need to “work on me”, as good leaders do in attempts to re-activate kids who are not coming out, but one day my leader showed up at a meet. That made a big impression on me. He just watched, nodded as I jogged by, and quietly left when it was over. It made me feel pretty awesome. I remember it to this day, 3 decades later.
I am trying to do the same for the Young Men in my ward. When I can find the time to do it, it is appreciated. One time I went to a boy’s game, and as I sat down next to his parents, his mom got all teary eyed, apparently touched that I would care enough about her son to stop in. It humbled me that by giving a little time I can really make a positive experience for others. Truth be told, watching a high school sporting event is very enjoyable, so it is not a great sacrifice, it just takes an hour or two out of your schedule.
* Often their parents are in the stands, so I sit by them. It is a great time to talk about some of the individual needs of their boy in a very casual setting.
* I like to know the kids status on the team ahead of time, are they a star? A starter? A reserve? In casual conversation with the boy I usually say something like “You getting any minutes?” That acknowledges that getting playing time is not easy, and frees them up to complain if they are riding the bench.
* I don’t really approach the boy at the event, they have a lot going on. I just watch, nod if you can catch their eye. I try to get there early, as when they are warming up they are always checking out the crowd, which is often sparse early, then they know you are there.
* I watch carefully for their best play of the game, mentally note it, then bring it up when you see them at the next Mutual or Sunday.
* My work schedule can vary at the last minute, so I never promise to attend, I just show up when I can. I usually let the parent know that I hope to come, but ask them not to mention it to the boy in case I can’t make it.
* For football, Hockey, Lacrosse or other helmet sports make sure you know their number, otherwise you won’t know who to watch. For Varsity sports they often have rosters at the door, but rarely for lower levels.
* Scheduled seem to change, and I always call the school during the day to confirm gametime and location. Online schedules are often wrong.
* This is not limited to sports, attend a concert, play etc.
* There is always a guy in the ward who is way into sports, and would love to attend any game, invite him to come along.