Youthful Encouragement

For too many of us, Desire & Intent have been ambushed by superfluous activity mistaken for purpose and meaning.

Mike is part of the collegial collective made up of my advanced coaching clients. In the most recent gathering, Mike talked of his family vacation to Colorado and the white water rafting trip he, his wife, and their two small boys bravely embarked upon. As he told his story, Mike showed the group a photo of his rafting family with their 24 year-old guide Swanee. As they navigated the currents, Mike described how this ‘kid’ was – despite his youthful, inexperienced look – very experienced in both life and guiding on the river.

In viewing the series of photos once the rafting journey was completed, Mike discovered something humorous: As the family had begun to practice the paddle strokes Swanee had taught them, and as the family had control of the craft, there in one particular photo was Swanee sitting on the back of the raft playing air guitar on his paddle. I loved it.

Swanee was centered and capable when it came to the safety of this precious family; and when that responsibility was being securely shared, he relaxed a bit into a creative run on his imagined strings.

Regardless of one’s age, the desire of youth is always there inside. This youthful desire is alert and waiting for the random but necessary moments when it can flow through an improvised run on one’s unique air guitar.

For over 30 years it has been my privilege to work with leaders who happen to be in their teen years. I owe these young people so much. My youthful desire is still alive and kicking due in large part to their exuberant grip.

The youth of these influential spirits has been a source of great encouragement for me. It is my responsibility to respond with an encouraging message worthy of the trust with which they have blessed me. My own desire is kept youthfully nourished by this fulfilling obligation.

5 thoughts on “Youthful Encouragement

  1. Jeff,
    It always amazes me how you can use your gifts to see so much more then what I tell you! One of the main drivers for my wife and I to go out on the raft that day was “A once in a lifetime experience for our family”. Who knew the experience would continue beyond the Rocky Mountain, follow me back to Illinois and extend to you as a learning tool for youth leaders.

  2. Jeff, you have succeeded in attracting those that need your guidance and those that keep you young all in the same person. It is so refreshing to hear about the wonderful combination of responsibility and youth.

    Thank you for sharing this story. It brings inspiration.

  3. I LOVE this story! The image of a Swanee standing in a boat playing air guitar on his paddle made my day! And, how synchronous…I just posted a pic of me in my twenties when I was a guide on the Colorado River in southern Utah. In this particular pic, I was in the back of the boat, but sometimes leading means being in the back of the boat, right?

    Jeff, thank you for the work you do with our leaders of all ages! What if we all let ourselves learn from who’s in front of us no matter the age?

  4. Love that story Jeff! I can just picture the kid playing air guitar! I’ve always tried to find a playful moment no matter what I’m doing. It makes life more fun!


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