Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Ministry of Being There

I don’t have a Facebook page.  Yes, I know that the social pressures of getting one may someday get to me, as all four of my older (!) siblings now have one along with most of my 27 nieces & nephews and nearly every teenage and young adult Jughead past and present.  However, one of my stubborn hold-outs to being more savvy with social media is that for better or for worse, the nature of my youth work is that of being present—that is, more or less “all in” socially when I’m in someone’s physical presence.  Of course, I always find tasks to fill my time in any setting (such as working in the gym office), but what I lack in staying connected via Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and better promptness in responding to email, I try to make up for in terms of a face-to-face ministry of interpersonal communication. 

I’m not saying that I have the moral high ground of how I interact with people; I’m just saying that the way JH is run—with dozens of people gathered for kinetic and highly social activities for three or more concentrated hours on a daily basis—causes me to not crave staying connected in cyberspace since I invest much time staying connected in “humanspace.”  That’s part of why I make a big deal out of learning and using names at JH while asking the kids to avoid using electronics.  Our modern lives are often isolated enough; real-life, human-to-human contact is what sets JH apart from social media.

So, while someday I may have the energy to dive in and get a Facebook (and discern how many hundreds of “friends” I should accept), I’ll meanwhile focus my social energy on the mutual blessing of live, interpersonal human contact.

Make Your Time Count!

Another year is upon us, and by virtually every measurement, we’re riding on a wave of success and nostalgia seldom seen in our company’s history.  Juggle Jam 13 (and three seniors teaching juggling at gym classes in May) led to our most active summer camps ever, the biggest IJA trip ever, and now our biggest company ever.  While we’ll miss the large Class of ‘11 as well as the former coaches, we have a strong leadership team eager to continue reaching high and reaching out.  To the 115 “veterans” returning from JJ13, as well as to the 34 rookies exploring their various niches as Jugheads, I say: make your time here count! 

Whether you’re a Jughead for a single year or a decade, the time will prove to fly by when all is said and done.  Take advantage of every chance to be involved, from attending Jingle Jam to creating a routine for the Winter Showcase to going to camps & festivals as time (and money) allows.  Every club day, every season, every year, and every individual career offers such promise.  Learn to initiate your goals, ideas, involvement, progress, and friendships.  Don’t sit back and wait to be helped or to advance or to make friends; ask for help and start friendships.  If you dream to be a student leader or a Juggle Jam soloist or to graduate as a Jughead, let the coaches, assistants & volunteers help you.

I’ve heard it said, “The world belongs to those who show up.”  Kids, “show up” this year. Whether you stop juggling by the end of middle school or you juggle through senior year, end with your heads held high—with no regrets.