Friday, March 4, 2011
Even with my unique vocation, I very rarely use the word “juggling” as a cliche. However, in the middle of another school year with this company’s inevitable (and mostly predictable) trials, the leaders and members truly have a juggling act on their hands. Like basic juggling, the world often consists of threes: e.g., the states of water (solid, liquid, gas) and the branches of our government (legislative, executive, judiciary). In working with large numbers of kids in a wide range of ages and expectations, our challenge in JH lies in juggling the human dimensions of the heart, mind, and will.
I founded this company almost wholly dependent on heart (emotion). A heart for youth; a heart to teach them new skills and share new adventures; and a heart to see them overcome personal challenges through the art and sport of juggling (despite my own recreational skill level). As the company developed, the mind (intellect) was more and more incorporated into our success. Studying world-class juggling; learning new muscle-memory techniques for workouts and rehearsals; discussing site-swap notation; and setting well-considered policies for a growing roster of dynamic personalities. All along, the will (volition) has been a key: the drive to patiently teach beginners; keep middle schoolers interested; see high schoolers graduate; put on annual shows; attend IJA Festivals; and endure through two branches of Edina Community Education and the landlordship of two churches.
What’s my point? Well, just as this company as a whole has a trilogy of aspects that make us tick, individual decisions by myself, the other coaches, student leaders, and members in general often have complicated elements. A teen might become disenfranchised because a certain club or special event isn’t as fun as it used to be, but that could be the heart talking--not taking into account the fact that circumstances change and nostalgia is often rose-colored. A Rec. member might reach a plateau yet become self-satisfied, convinced in his mind that he’s better than he is and therefore lacking the heart to keep trying. Both the mind and the heart of a coach or adult volunteer (or parents!) may waiver about yet another act of service for the kids, but the will often trumps both heart and mind, investing in the kids sometimes beyond any form of desire or logic.
This is a complicated company. We have lots to juggle to achieve daily contentment, let alone success beyond our walls and years. Thank you for praying for us whenever we’re brought to mind. Juggling is hard work.
Last month I likened the act of juggling three balls to the three branches of our government and the three human dimensions of heart, mind, and will. To paraphrase Shakespeare, “All the world’s a juggling act,” and achieving and sustaining balance can be tricky.
As we enter full-force into our most active season of March through July, it bears repeating that juggling is merely a tool through which youth are developed here. Yes, we work on literal juggling acts for shows and festivals through our clubs and camps, but the “magic” really happens when young lives learn the principles of balance in life that far transcend mastering juggling skills. Overcoming stage fright (in shows and in relationships), setting and realizing goals, and finding fulfillment in an eclectic community of youth from diverse ages and families are just some of the ways that JUGHEADS is a microcosm of life. This is a safe place for kids to explore new avenues of self-expression—even if they “drop” in the process. JH membership helps to foster new dimensions of balance through both silly pursuits (dancing & juggling in costume) and serious pursuits (growing in emotion, intellect, and resolve).
Welcome to spring at JH, where the developmental skills of juggling—both physical props and life skills—take center stage!