Today, a group of middle-school-aged students was given a pencil, a blank sheet of paper, and two minutes to complete the task of sketching the person sitting next to them. Almost immediately, I heard sighs of frustration and embarrassed apologies. “This is terrible, I know. I’m very sorry.”
I took interest in their angst and had to ask when this happened. When did they lose the creative, innovative, think-out-of-the-box flair? When did they begin to shave away their edges and seek the safety of middle ground?
I have a three-year-old goddaughter who delights in her creations. Asked to draw a picture of a tree or her family or a kitten, she grabs a crayon and dives into her imagination with her whole heart. “I made you this picture of love. Isn’t it pretty?” And, indeed it is.
Kids need to live in a world where they are free to explore their hearts and minds and spirits in creative ways. They need to trust that their inner voice will be met with compassion and encouragement. Banged up by criticism and comparison, young people lose confidence and respect for the power and authenticity of their unique voice.
We can help children stay connected to their creative intelligence by recognizing and revealing and reenforcing what is unique in them. We can look beyond what is seen or heard to notice their special view of things. We can reach for the real ideas behind their creation and point out to them their gifts and graces that they may otherwise miss. We must share with them how they add to the common good in this world.
CGR Board member and Middle School English teacher
Posted at 7:41pm, on August 30th 2016 by Robin Blair
Families in the 21st-century journey with fast paced technology and media programming which deliberately targets children to influence them as consumers. Consumerism may be a fact of life, but the media that makes it real to children may also be something a parent chooses to monitor carefully. Media is here to stay and is part of how we educate, communicate and entertain ourselves. Parents who care about what influences the tenderest hearts of the youngest among us have to ask: How does media nurture rather than exploit?
Kids need to live in a world where they are free to explore their hearts, minds, and spirits in creative and compassionate ways. We make the choice to honor what connects us to the common good like love, peace, kindness, integrity, faith, respect and justice. All programming is vetted (handcrafted) to leave behind the exploitation of young people common in culture today. On Common Good Radio, hear kids speak to kids, with kids, as they give voice to their truths.
Posted at 4:25pm, on August 23rd 2016 by Robin Blair
Recording your kids/youth is as easy as using the voice memo on your smartphone.
Here is the simple process:
1. Have your kids/youth identify which spiritual fruit/positive character trait will be their focus. A good place to start is to ask about one of the following: kindness, peace, love, integrity, justice, faith or respect.
2. You are welcome to frame your conversation using a line of scripture with that spiritual fruit/character trait. You may also use other kinds of story offering a moral as illustrative if desired.
3. Read the scripture/story into the voice recorder of your smartphone, then ask your child(ren) to comment on what it means to them. Try not to coach or edit, but let them speak their truth!
4. End the commentary with: thanks for listening to Common Good Radio, my name is xxxxxxx (child’s first name only) and I am xx (age) years old. If you want to name a country, state, city or town, that is fine. Some folks like to name their religious or civic organization (i.e., Main Street Church, Boys Scouts, Girl Scouts etc.)
5. Send the file in MP3 or MP4 format to: firstname.lastname@example.org
6. If the piece requires a great deal of editing, feel invited to donate to us on our homepage using the PayPal icon. It helps us with the cost of editing and is tax deductible. Thank you in advance!
7. Then listen for your recording to be part of our global programming! It will be heard all over the planet, influencing how people hear all that kids have to say about what is true and real in their world.
We believe in developing voices of truth through young people. We aim to empower them to believe in their own voice and to lay theirs beside voices that are both similar and different. We believe that children who learn to listen and speak thoughtfully are developing leadership and articulation that will contribute to the common good of us all.
Thank you for participating in the journey for the common good.
If you add your child or group’s full name, we will not publish or sell it, but will send a certificate via email reply of participation as a voice for the common good on Common Good Radio.