Naming An Idea

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 Aftonwho 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.

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My Phase Story

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”

Navigating the Four Phases of High School (Orange Conference 2015 Notes)

This week, we’re hosting the Orange Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. With this year’s conference we are also unveiling new resources and sharing insights from our research in The Phase Initiative. We even are offering a series of breakouts all about navigating the phases of your phase. To serve leaders who attend our talks and those who are following along online, I’ll be posting notes from each session on the blog.

Whether or not you were able to make the conference, I hope some you gain something form these notes that prevent you, your team, and your parents from missing the distinctive opportunities of the phase you’re in and the phases to come.

Here are the notes from the breakout titled “Navigating the Four Phases of High School,” which was led by Stuart Hall.

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