On the Long View of Purpose

Taking a long view towards the development of purpose.

Truth be told, I don’t watch much TV. Primarily because there are so many other things I would like to do instead. But another reason is that I find the shift of TV culture to reality-based shows disturbing. I’m doubtful there is any “reality” being portrayed on the screen, but more than that I don’t like the message these types of shows represent – that there is a quick route to success and material wealth that is worth taking at any cost. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not really that much of a curmudgeon, and I know there are examples of a few who have had their sparks fanned into flames by reality opportunities, but let’s face it: most do not.

But you know what? We live in a culture now that promotes quickness, often with the goal of financial wealth and personal security in mind. William Damon, in the Path to Purpose: How Young People Find their Calling in Life points out that we have changed from a society that values the development of a meaningful purpose in life to one that values monetary gain in just the last 50 years. Continue reading

On Purpose and Civic Engagement

From a 4-H beginning to capitol hill. Civic identity and engagement is a developmental process

As that old saying goes: unless you live under a rock…. You know that the mid-term election season has arrived. Yard signs are up, candidates’ visual ads are pointing out the flaws of their opponents, and the airwaves are filled with analyses of potential scenarios related to the outcomes of the election. One of the rising concerns is the disinterest of many young people toward the elections. As I was driving home the other day I was listening to a reporter interviewing a young man in his early 20s about his plans to vote. In response to her question he replied:

“Look, I’m a gamer boy, so no, I am not voting. Because I don’t really… care?” The last word rising sharply after a pause to highlight how ridiculous the reporter’s question was to him. I don’t know about you, but this young man’s words chilled me to the bone. Not just because of his apathy, but because a missed opportunity. Because developmentally, it may be too late to instill a sense of civic responsibility in his worldview. Continue reading

On The 4-H Thriving Model Goes to Camp

Practitioner Tip Tuesday

By Guest Blogger Virginia Bourdeau, Oregon State 4-H Camping Specialist

What does it mean to design a 4-H Staff & Counselor in Training (CIT) program through the lens of the 4-H Thriving Model? This post describes one simple method that can operationalize frontline practices to improve 4-H camps alignment with the model.

An important theory supporting development of openness to challenge and adventure is “growth mindset.”  Dr. Carol Dweck defines a growth mindset as the belief that traits or skills are malleable and can be changed with effort. In contrast, a fixed mindset is the belief that traits or skills are innate and unchangeable.  Camp is certainly a place that offers many challenges such as making friends, resolving conflicts or learning to cast at the fishing pond. Continue reading

On the Beginning of Hopeful Purpose

Anyone who knows me at all knows of my life-long passion of riding. Most people smile somewhat indulgently when I speak of how important riding is to my everyday health and well being. Others “get it” immediately and ask me how I have managed to keep alive a deep interest in a sport that takes so much dedication when I am so equally dedicated to my work and other aspects of my life. And the truthful answer to that question? I don’t know. I really don’t. All I know is that riding is an foundational part of everything else that I do. It is the one place where time stops. Continue reading

On Thriving as a Process not an Outcome

On Tuesday this week I had the opportunity to share the 4-H Thriving Model with our 4-H educators in Nebraska via a Zoom webinar. I have been teaching via webinars for quite some time now, and over the years I have worked out most of the basic kinks. I have also developed loads of strategies for handling all the technological curveballs that invariably happen when trying to teach from a distance. At this point I feel pretty comfortable with all that. What I remain very much uncomfortable with is the feeling that I am talking to a blank wall. Continue reading