One of my favorite parts of the Phase Project is learning from smart leaders like Holly Crawshaw. Holly has not only worked as a preschool director, but she’s also the mother of preschoolers and living out these phases in her own home. Oh, and she’s also incredibly smart and fun to hang around. Here’s what she said when we asked her a few questions about the Preschool Phases.
We’ve talked about how the idea for phase was named.
And we defined a phase as a timeframe in a kid’s life when you can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence a kid’s future.
But what does phase really mean?
If you really break it down, there are four things that are true at every phase:
1. Every phase has significant relationships you can influence.
One of the questions I’m asked most often whenever I get to speak about the Phase Project is this:
What books are you reading?
Well, the real answer is: I’m the mother of two (going on three), with a full-time job. Sometimes I think I’m reading a lot less than people expect. Often I get my inspiration through TED talks, podcasts, magazine articles, and links from twitter. But when it comes to books, there are some incredibly smart and helpful resources that have influenced both my personal thinking and our team’s through the years.
I recently took time to write down the titles of over 120 books that are currently on our “Just a Phase” bookshelf. Those of you who love to read can view the full list (warning: some are literally textbooks, so grab some coffee and a dictionary before you begin). My personal favorites from the list are these:
Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Children – Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman
Playful Parenting – Lawrence J. Cohen
Hurt 2.: Inside the World of Today’s Teenagers – Chap Clark
What’s Going on in There?: How The Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years – Lise Elliot Continue reading “The Phase Reading List”
Two years ago on the drive home to Atlanta from Orange Tour Kansas City, Reggie Joiner turned down “70s on 7” and paused the musical education of our friend Afton—who still insists all good music is inspired by Justin Timberlake. For a few hours, we had something more important to figure out. And it wasn’t how to identify Chicago by the sound of brass in the band.
We were halfway through a twelve-city speaking tour about what it means to “play for keeps” in the life of a child. The message was to challenge every parent and every leader to number their weeks—to make the most of the limited amount of time we have with a kid. But from the beginning, we knew there was so much more to say about what every kid needs.
We had explained there are approximately 936 weeks from the time a child is born until the day he or she graduates and moves to what’s next—but we hadn’t expounded that every week isn’t the same.
Practically speaking, kids change as they grow up. I know, it’s a revolutionary concept. But it’s actually worth pausing to think about. Understanding what changes should have a profound effect on how we influence kids—so we wanted a way to talk about, for example, how relationships change, how culture changes, how a kid’s mind grows and develops.
When did the Phase Project begin for me?
Maybe it started when my grandmother got a degree in education and raised four children (including my father) while working every day in the local school.
Maybe it started when my mother trained for motherhood by teaching kindergarten and second grade, or when she later used the same books and classroom activities to engage my interests at home.
Maybe it started when I first volunteered in youth ministry as an eighteen-year-old (because volunteering was the only way they would let me stay) or when I graduated with a degree in education and taught high school while still volunteering in youth ministry (because apparently after so long they stop trying to kick you out).
Sometimes it’s impossible to name when and where a passion begins. When I look back now I just know there have been many influential moments along the way. Continue reading “My Phase Story”