ownership is the key to planning for success.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve spent Monday afternoons at Dunearn Secondary School, together with a class of secondary one students. First and foremost, an honest confession – I know that my strength is with developing emerging leaders, so when KK told me that I had to stand-in for him for two sessions, I couldn’t help but to brace myself for the challenge of teaching 13 year olds. I like being around young people, but handling these especially restless students required a higher calling; I applaud KK as well as the school teachers, who have done it for years.

I took a gamble today and conducted an activity that I wasn’t really confident of pulling off or sure if it would succeed. I briefed the class on the six typical roles in a committee – chairperson, secretary, treasurer, publicity coordinator, logistics coordinator and programme coordinator – and got them to plan a fictitious event from scratch. The nominated chairperson in each group would choose from the following events to plan: rock concert, CCA open house, school excursion, iJourney camp, fun fair or sports day. They were given 25 minutes to nail this.

When I handed over the time to them, I was pleased to see how involved they were. I had expected the students to get rowdy and to lose interest but they were so engrossed in the planning and creative process; I had expected them to give up or ask a barrage of questions about the various roles but they grasp their functions pretty quickly. I had given each group an imaginary budget, but after seeing how absorbed they were, I upped their budget ten-fold to encourage them to dream even bigger and get even more creative; their budget calculations, though elementary, really caught me by surprise.

I was secretly delighted at their seriousness in accomplishing the given task. When it was time to present, each chairperson was given five minutes to describe everything the group had discussed; it was truly a sight to behold as every student listened attentively and responded enthusiastically to the wacky ideas tendered. I closed the session by sharing PK’s rags-to-riches story (founder of Nike) and drilled into them the importance of planning – especially if they desired to be successful. I drew parallels from the events-planning exercise and helped them to see that planning precedes success.

I sincerely hope that they caught it and would apply it into their lives. Frankly, I’ve never seen them paying such intense attention before. I gave them another five minutes to translate what they have learnt into fulfilling their childhood dreams. During this time of reflection, one (of the more serious) girls actually planned to move up from the normal technical to the normal academic stream by the end of the year to fulfill her dreams of becoming a rich businesswoman. My heart leaped for joy with her. Pardon the cliché, but if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Today, these students taught me a lesson even as I shared my lesson with them – that if you instill belief in people by giving them the key to being responsible for their own planning for success (or failure), they might just surprise you by actually taking ownership of their lives and pilgrimage to success. I was even treated to a bonus exhibition of dandy ideas! I believe that if you empower a young person to dream, they will truly dare to dream along with you. The challenge then, for youth workers like me, is to give them a platform, some perimeters, and to help their see the picture that it takes a team to realise a dream.

This was, without a doubt, the iJourney session that left the greatest impression on me thus far.

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About Joey Asher Tan

Apart from Jesus, I can do nothing; I am absolutely nothing without Christ.

Posted on August 24, 2010, in Attempted Provocation, Extraordinary Mundane, Forever Young, Simple Pleasures, The Greatest Gift and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I like how u are always so inspirational and encouraging, always believing in every young person, empowering them for their ministry/ life. :)) U’re doing well! Heehee. :))

  2. thanks for the encouragement dear! must also give you credit for allowing me to bounce this role-playing idea off you. hehe. thanks for being my sounding board! wheee!

  3. Hi bro I feel like a light bulb typing a comment after the both of you! It’s really good to know that you’re doing something meaningful, and in my alma mater too!

    You’re in my thoughts and prayers! Take care..

    • liang! it’s great to hear from you, oh enigmatic one. when are you returning to singapore again? i only vaguely recall that you were from dunearn. haha. quite cool. i’m working with the 1 diamond class. you’re in my thoughts and prayers too, as always…

  4. Paiseh another lightbulb here! Hee! Thank u for sharing! Wow inspires me in the work I do w youths! ESP the empower them to dream part, and that it takes a team to realize a dream! Great insights! I wanna apply to my work! Coool!

    • haha not lightbulb at all. (: i’m really glad there’s a fire in your heart for youths! if and when you do apply it to work, blog about it, because i wanna read! (: and… what were you doing awake at 442am!?

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