Nursing Homes, Drugs and Preschools

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Why place a preschool and a nursing home near each other?

Here's the best neurology. When the wisdom of the elder and the wonder of the child collide in a joyful space, you dump in the pain-killing pleasure drugs (Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin, etc) and wash out the stress hormones (cortisol, cortisone, etc.) And you add the neurotransmitters Epinephrine (a.k.a. Adrenaline) and

Norepinephrine (a.k.a. Noradrenaline), with wake you up to even more joy, dilate the capillaries for more blood flow to the brain, and reduce the threat of strokes, cardiovascular disease, ulcers, blood clots). By reducing Cortisol, you also get better sleep, have less wrinkles, get rid of belly fat and have a better memory.

All in all, you reduce medical expenses, multiply joy, and create a world where people don’t lose all their marvels (sic!).

https://streetselfdefenseblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/15/pleasure-hormones-vs-stress-hormones/comment-page-1/

Healing, Smiles and A

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So glad Kirstin Springmeyer and Manale Elewah were able to connect in Houston yesterday to talk about the healing power of art. Kirstin was one of my first "kids" to go into ordained ministry from my first call. She's now working on the healing power of art.

Last time I was with Dr. Elewah was in Cairo. She took me to see her work at a children's cancer hospital and we cartooned, sang, and played all day. She took me to visit one very sick child who wasn't able to join us. The boy was staring blankly at the wall. I told him I bet I could make him smile. I did everything I could think of, and no... no smile. Then I pulled out my final trick in the bag and yes, he rolled his eyes and finally smiled.

There are many medicines that don't cost a thing. Art and smiles are maybe two of the best.

Eldest Saint Sunday Interview

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How about having a 7-year-old, 17-year-old, 37-year-old and 57-year-old interviewing your oldest saint as part of a dialogue sermon on Sunday? Post a photo of when they were 7, 17, 37, 57 plus a recent photo. Have the interviewers each ask a question or two, maybe about their world, their highs and lows, and how faith met life (and politics, if you dare) when they were each age? Then throw a party in the fellowship hall for them and all your saints who died this year and their families.

Close by asking the elder saint to lay hands on and bless every person in the room.

CROSS+GEN ALL SAINTS DAY VIDEO INTERVIEWS

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In the "Honor your Father and Mother" department, here's a video interview idea for All Saints Sunday 2019 with a fall prep in Sept/Oct and a banquet honoring your elder saints:

As August comes to a close and you're gearing up for the new school year, assign Cross+Gen teams (with at least 4 generations) to do video histories of your 80-90-100 year olds. Have them make "dates" with their assigned elder guests. Eiither go to their homes/residences or invite them to a bright, friendly, quiet spot where the interview can take place. Ask them to locate old photo albums and bring them along. If they own an old, worn Bible, ask them to bring it along, too. Ask them to choose a Scripture they'd like to share with the group - something that has significance in their life. With the video running (1-2-3 cell phones?) ask them to...

SHARE - a high and low from each decade of their life. Start by walking through the album and, with each decade, flash them some events from https://www.thoughtco.com/20th-century-timelines-1779957. Video it all. Take notes on the highs and lows for your prayers.

READ - Their chosen Scripture together underline/highlight it in each of the team's Bibles writing "____(name)____ favorite verse" in margins. Go online to aslpro.com and learn 4-6 key words in American Sign Language together.

TALK - About what that Scripture means to them, how it relates to their life, and what it means to each member of the group.

PRAY - With thanks and praise to God for this elder saint, and for they gifts they have given to the world. Name their "highs" in thanksgiving. Thank God for being with them in their life lows. Ask the Holy Spirit to give them strength to continue living as a witness to God's love through the highs and lows to come. Close in Jesus' name (hey, you're Trinitarian!)

BLESS - First, ask the elder saint to bless each person in your group one-by-one. Then line up and bless the elder by tracing the sign of the cross on their forehead, looking them in the eye with a loving smile. And ask if hugs would be welcome!


Show clips of these video histories as an "offering that doesn't fit in the plate" in worship or education hour.

Then on all Saints Sunday, throw a banquet in their honor and have the Cross+Gen interview teams pick up their honored guest, introduce them, and tell what they learned through the process, how they grew, and what gifts they received. Post the interviews on YouTube with links to your church website and a new person featured each week.

Home Isn't Home Anymore

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A new study by Ikea of 22,000 people in 22 countries suggests that many people no longer feel home at home. 45% go sit in their cars in order to get a break.

What does this say about society? What does it say about me being a person of hospitality and safety? What might it say about the church trying to make people feel at home?

Compassion and the True Meaning of Empathy

 Can we learn to feel other’s pain?

Can we learn to feel other’s pain?

The word compassion comes from the Latin “with” and “suffering.”

The Greek equivalent, “empathy” is “in” plus “pain.”

It means “I hurt when you hurt.”

How do we raise a child, a family, a society of true compassion and empathy? Joan Halifax has some marvelous thought on nurturing compassion in a oft-times cold and polarized world.

Great talk for Cross+Gen conversations.

https://www.ted.com/talks/joan_halifax

Copy of The Puzzle of Motivation

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There is pay, and then there’s pay.

For Boomers, pay was seen in a paycheck. For an increasingly larger and larger segment of the workforce, $ is only one part of the pay they expect. Time is pay. A friendly environment is pay. A collaborative and creative workplace where their ideas are valued is pay. And the ability to work wherever and whenever they want is pay.

in this Ted Talk career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don't: Traditional rewards aren't always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories -- and maybe, a way forward.

Apply this to motivating everything from children to co-workers to your aging parents to your movement?

https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation?language=en

Alone Together

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Technology or
Talk-knowlegy

As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? 

Here are some great thoughts for a Cross+Gen discussion from Sherry Turkle’s Ted Talk, and two books “Alone Together” and “Reclaiming Conversations: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age.”

Her thinking about Robotics and Digital Artificial Intelligence would especially make a marvelous conversation starter between the ages.

10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation (Celeste Headle)

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We're not listening to each other. 

1/3 of teens send 110+ texts a day… but would much rather text than talk to a human being.

Conversational competence is the single most important skill we can teach our children and achieve ourselves today. And yet, we seem to have more and more time for tech and less and less time for talk. Without it, how can we achieve true understanding? Without the time, attention and energy, how can we hone interpersonal conversation skills?

Teaching how to talk and how to listen, Celeste Hedlee shares these 10 basic rules to be Engaged, inspired, perfectly understood.

1. Don't multitask - be present in that moment
2. Don't pontificate - don't state opinion without any feedback - enter every conversation as if you have something to learn
3.  Use open-ended questions - who, what, when, where, why, how
4. Go with the flow - let thoughts and stories come and go
5. If you don't know, say that you don't know
6. Don't equate your experience with theirs - it I not about you
7. Try not to repeat yourself - don't just keep making the same point
8. Stay out of the weeds - people don't care about the details of your life - they care about you
9. Listen - perhaps the #1 most skill - when I'm talking I'm the center of attention and I'm in control - We talk at 225 words per minute but can listen at 500 words per minute
10. Be brief - My sister said, "A good conversation is like a mini-skirt; short enough to retain interest, but long enough to cover thee subject."

This Ted Talk would make a great Cross+Gen conversation.

Vince Lombardi said, “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.”

So, how might something like FAITH5 help us get good at this, every week in a Cross+Gen community and every night in every home?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1vskiVDwl4

How to Build a Movement in 4 Easy Steps

 If you are a leader who built something unique over the years (a business, a church, a foundation, a philosophy) and you now sense/know/feel called to unleash a movement that is bigger than yourself out of it, the first thing to recognize is the biggest blockage to growth - to it really taking off - might be… you.  So take a look at this link for 4 “Easy” (yeah, right) Steps to building a movement, and learn with me over the 7 next days as I share and comment on 7 Ted Talk links with ideas from some of my favorite thinkers. On the docket this week I’ll be posting:  How to Get Ideas to Spread (Seth Godin) Oct 10 Contagious: Why Good Ideas Catch On (Jonah Berger) Oct 11 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation (Celeste Headle) Oct 12 Alone Together (Sherry Turtkle) Oct 13 The Puzzle of Motivation (Daniel Pink) Oct 14 The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters (Priya Parker) Oct 15 Compassion and the True Meaning of Empathy (Joan Halifax) Oct 16  If you have a small group, task force, or team you want in on the discussions, invite them to this link and into a conversation on a private Facebook group you set up, a coffee/dessert club or another venue for personal thoughts and reflections.

If you are a leader who built something unique over the years (a business, a church, a foundation, a philosophy) and you now sense/know/feel called to unleash a movement that is bigger than yourself out of it, the first thing to recognize is the biggest blockage to growth - to it really taking off - might be… you.

So take a look at this link for 4 “Easy” (yeah, right) Steps to building a movement, and learn with me over the 7 next days as I share and comment on 7 Ted Talk links with ideas from some of my favorite thinkers. On the docket this week I’ll be posting:

How to Get Ideas to Spread (Seth Godin) Oct 10
Contagious: Why Good Ideas Catch On (Jonah Berger) Oct 11
10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation (Celeste Headle) Oct 12
Alone Together (Sherry Turtkle) Oct 13
The Puzzle of Motivation (Daniel Pink) Oct 14
The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters (Priya Parker) Oct 15
Compassion and the True Meaning of Empathy (Joan Halifax) Oct 16

If you have a small group, task force, or team you want in on the discussions, invite them to this link and into a conversation on a private Facebook group you set up, a coffee/dessert club or another venue for personal thoughts and reflections.

Here’s a Ted Talk worth a listen, and a book worth a read. https://ideas.ted.com/how-to-build-a-successful-movement-in-4-steps/

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Cross+Gen Stewardship

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Ever thought of doing six weeks of stewardship on time, talents and treasures in Cross+Gen small groups? Let the boomers and the busters and the millennials and the builders and the babies and the teens all learn together, create together, serve together and talk together about their attitudes/practices in faithful living and giving, and share times in their lives when God has provided in unexpected and surprising ways?/

Stewardship should be a life style. A frame-of mind. A faith discipline. And... a joy filled and meaningful community response of thanksgiving and thanksliving for all God provided.

The best way to learn a life-style is in an intentional Cross+Generational community where the wisdom of the elder and the wonder of the child collide in the adjacent possible of stories and examples.



Rapid City Flood and the Power of Prayer

I don’t know if you let convicted armed felons drive your church bus. But one named Lyle saved my life once.

It was June 9, 1972. I was a high school sophomore on my way from Williston, ND, to Dallas, Texas, to hear Billy Graham, Bill Bright, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristopherson at Explo ’72. The 50 kids in the old painted school bus were scheduled to sleep in Rapid City on the first night of the trip, but because of the hot dusty roads and non-air-conditioned bus, we pleaded with our chaperones to take us to the giant swimming pool down the road in Hot Springs. It began to rain, and after dinner at the McDonalds, all the adults agreed we should just go to church and go to sleep.

We kids begged again. Finally, bus driver Lyle Thorpe made the call. “If the kids want to go swimming, get in the bus!”

Nobody argued with Lyle.

We filled up with diesel at the Skelly station and drove to Hot Springs through sheets of rain. After swimming, the rain was coming down so hard we couldn’t get back to Rapid City. We made a few calls and spent the night on a floor under the leaky roof of Custer Lutheran Church.

The next morning we awoke, wrung out our sleeping bags, and turned on the radio. It was then we discovered that 238 people had died in Rapid City during the night when the Canyon Lake Dam burst. The Skelly where we bought diesel had been washed away. The McDonalds where we ate dinner had been washed away. The church where we were scheduled to sleep that night had been washed away.

If it hadn’t been for bus driver Lyle’s firm “Get in the bus,” we would all have been at the church and disappeared in the flood. And if it hadn’t been for an old grandma prayer warrior praying for a Lyle - when he was a troubled young man  a few years before, we would all have drowned.

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Lyle Thorpe was our bus driver. A few years earlier he was in prison for armed robbery. A few years before that he was on the FBI’s most wanted list. And through it all, his grandma wouldn’t stop praying for him. Even when he was locked up and thrown away - considered worthless by society - she wouldn’t stop praying for him. “Lyle, we raised you right. You know this is not the way. And I’m not going to stop praying until you’re down on your knees and give your life back to Jesus!”

And yes, in prison he got down on his knees and gave his life back to the Jesus who had claimed him in baptism. And yes, on July 9, 1972 he was driving our church bus and decided, in the pouring Rapid City rain against the other adult chaperones to the Texas event, that he’d take us swimming in Hot Springs.

The power of prayer has eternal consequences that we rarely get to see on this side of eternity.

Fifty kids, including future pastors Nancy Lee Gauche, Kathy Lynn Valen and I, were on the bus that night.

Pastor Lyle Thorpe died Sunday. Yes, pastor.

He was 87.



The Neurology of Theater (the play's the thing)

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Over my years in ministry and education, I have found using theater is both attentive and retentive. And, whether you're Nathan the Prophet telling David off ("you are the man!") or Shakesphere's Hamlet ("the play's the thing whereby I'll catch the conscience of the king") or George Bernard Shaw ("If you're going to tell the truth, you'd better make them laugh or they'll kill you"), embedding a message in drama is rather brilliant neurology.

We are bombarded with billions of bits of info per second. Most of our senses have gate-keepers to keep information out. (except the sense of smell). There's just too much information! The brain uses these filters in order to focus on what's important.

But when you bombard the senses with theater - the eyes (the visual cortex processes 7 billion bits per second), the ears (they process up tp 10,000 bps), the tingling skin (when the empathetic nervous system gets involved in the story), and what story and music do to engage significantly more of the brain (the logical centers of the brain, the sense of humor or drama), you have a tool for attention and retention. Engagement and involvement.

And you get beyond the gate-keepers to encounter the audience (ie, listeners) an spectators (ie, viewers) in more than just a show.

You get to the heart of the matter... because great theater gets to the matter of the heart.

(Photo: RICH Learning 2018 Cast and Crew following our final show at the Carolina Theater in Allendale, SC)

 

Unraveled, Elders, Dementia

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Our friend Lori Hammel has four nights left, playing the younger age of a character with dementia in the off-Broadway play Unraveled this week. If you’re any where near NYC, go see this gripping drama.

I have asked her to reflect on three questions to share with our network:

1. What did you learn about dementia through this process?
2. What did you learn about yourself through this process?
3. What did you learn about living life while you’re young and healthy and award?

I look forward to her reflections on this after the play is over.