Author Archives: kristingoodspeed

Touch of Life

How does one cope with the loss of a family member or good friend? This week is Justice Week at ACU and I had the privilege of hearing Pam Cope, co-founder of Touch a Life Foundation, speak.

One of my favorite quotes I heard during her speech was, “The moon moves slowly, but touches the whole world,” an African Proverb.

Cope lost her son, Jansen, 11 years ago. He came home from football practice one day and reported being dizzy. That was the first sign of his sudden death. When he passed, Cope mourned, struggled with her faith and purpose in this world. Yes, she is a Christian, but these types of circumstances can happen to anyone. It’s just the way we choose to handle it that differs.

Her worst nightmare came true and she had to find the strength to live through it.

Cope used her son’s memorial money, a sum of $25,000, to start Touch of Life Foundation.

In Eastern Ghana, at Lake Volta, innocent children were being sold for a small amount of money. Parents sold their children for money to buy food. The children were alone in total abandonment. They were forced to work 20 hours a day, some kids as young as 4 yrs old. They did not get enough sleep or have a healthy diet, only getting to eat once a day.

Cope, having lost a child, hurt for the trafficked kids at Lake Volta. It was through her experience of rescuing them she was transformed. She found hope and healing in serving the suffering.

There’s no word that can be used to replace slavery. Even though the Touch of Life Foundation has rescued around 100 children, an estimated 7,000 children are still in slavery at Lake Volta. More than 27 million women and children are in some form of bondage in the world today.

Another issue is once kids are rescued, where does the rescuer place them? The Village of Hope and other rehabilitation centers welcome children of Lake Volta, but will there ever be enough room for 7,000 people?

All of this information really opened my eyes to what’s going on around the world today. It’s hard to imagine life outside of college, where I’m taken care of and getting a good education. It will rarely cross my mind that people are suffering elsewhere while I’m enjoying my bed, food and spending money on my cares and interests.

It’s also hard to think about how I would cope with a great loss. I hope I could, like Cope, find my purpose through my brokenness. Cope realized her mission was to tell these children’s story.

The kids’ lives and identities have been stripped from them. That’s the meaning of no justice. We have responsibility to give back, serve and love a hurting world.

I know I often go to the edge of a ditch, metaphorically speaking, and do not want to go any further because I’m scared. But I need to get into the ditch because as a Christian (my personal belief), I know that God is dwelling there and that’s where peace comes.

When I feel broken, that’s when I need to dig deep and find compassion.

Cope said she did not save the children, they saved her. She learned that being a mother means we make ourselves available to others. She found what she was created to do.

I need to remember that with a blink of an eye, I can be gone. My life is but a vapor. Life is the loveliest when it is simple. Self-absorption, money and busy schedules complicate things. I want to enjoy the life before and ahead of me to the fullest. Cope and her story opened my eyes to living life moment by moment, making the most of any circumstance.

Overcoming Your Darkside of Leadership

More than likely you are reading this title thinking, “What? I don’t have a dark side; I do my best and am a good leader!” This is what I thought too until I started reading Overcoming the Darkside of Leadership by Gary Mclntosh and Samuel Rima. I did read this book in one of my Bible classes at ACU, but it can be recommended to anyone of any religion or belief.

Now, don’t get me wrong; there are great leaders out in the world today. But I wonder what exactly motivates these leaders? What are they seeking to accomplish with their leadership title and why does it really matter to them in terms of success? Mclntosh and Rima list five types of leaders: the COMPULSIVE leader, the NARCISSITIC leader, the PARANOID leader, the CODEPENDENT leader, and the PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE leader. Each of the qualities and tendencies within these different categories are normal and common.

However, it’s our job to recognize what motivates us. These five types of leaders show a person’s dark side. When I took the test provided at the end of each chapter describing each type of leader, man was I shocked! Not only did I have certain tendencies reflecting each area of the five types, I scored high in two of them. This was a huge eye opener for me and from reading the book, I was able to be true to myself and learn what I need to work on. I was subconscious to most of my flaws but now recognize what really motivates my drive for success and how to fix it.

First let’s take a look at compulsive leaders. This type of leader tends to be status conscious, looking for reassurance and approval from those in authority. They are usually workaholics, try to control activities and keep order. Sometimes they are excessively moralistic, conscientious, and judgmental. They can have rebellious and angry attitudes, yet may often feel the need to repress their anger and resentment because they feel it improper to show their true feelings. A compulsive dark side allowed to operate unchecked can result in a personal and organizational rigidity that stifles creativity and frays our relationship with others. It produces a self-righteous, legalistic environment that alienates the people we are called to lead. This is the category I scored the highest in. I did not realize I was compulsive in certain areas or the motives behind my success in a certain task. I now know what areas I need to keep an eye on.

Narcissistic leaders are driven to succeed by a need for admiration and acclaim. They may have an over inflated sense of importance and grandiose fantasies as well as great ambitions. They tend to be insecure, self-absorbed, uncertain due to deep levels of inferiority, and often never satisfied with their success. Narcissism can cause us to exploit those we have been called to lead. In the worst-case scenario, narcissism leads to unethical and illegal behavior as the leader is driven to achieve regardless of the price that must be paid.

The paranoid leader tends to be suspicious, hostile, fearful, and jealous. When they are afraid someone will undermine their leadership, they become hypersensitive to the actions of others, attach subjective meaning to motives, and create rigid structures for control. They also have strong feelings of insecurity and a lack of confidence. Acute distrust between leaders and boards, guerilla-type job warfare, and an inability to enjoy genuine fellowship are all the results of a leader’s paranoid dark side run amuck.

Codependent leaders are peacemakers who cover up problems rather than face them, in order to balance the group’s system. They often have a high tolerance for deviant behavior, and are willing to take on more work just so they do not have to let someone down. They react rather than act. They have a hard time giving a full, honest expression to emotions or problems. A codependent dark side can destroy relationships because the leader tries to keep everyone at work happy and meet every other need while ignoring their own family and personal needs.

Finally, there are the passive-aggressive leaders. These leaders have a tendency to resist demands to adequately perform tasks. They are stubborn, forgetful, and intentionally insufficient. They often complain, procrastinate out of fear of failure, and dawdle as a means of controlling those around them and their environment. These leaders live with the shame and consequences of his or her uncontrolled outbursts.

I know this is a lot of information to take on but just remember, whether you are a compulsive, narcissistic, paranoid, codependent, or passive-aggressive leader, it’s never too late to overcome your dark side. If you are a leader of a business, organization or group, I’d advise to go get this book and read it. It’s changing me into a better leader for the right reasons and I hope it will for you too.

Toilet Papering and the Fun It Can Bring!

Ever been toilet papered or gone toilet papering before?? It’s so much fun to go with your friends on an adventure whether in the night or day, though it’d be a little hard in daylight, and then make someone’s house snow white!

When I was in middle school, this group of guys would ALWAYS toilet paper my house along with a few of my friends on Friday nights. We loved it! We never knew what time of the hour they would hit our house, but every Saturday morning we would wake up to find our houses pure white, flowing with rolls and rolls over toilet paper. We in turn got dressed up in black and painted our faces, ready to go toilet paper their houses. Of course we were in middle school so our moms had to take us, but it was still a blast! Later, all of us girls would wonder why the boys usually caught us. We found out the moms usually called each other before the event to make sure it was all right if we came. Somehow, the boys would find out, and we were all surprised with water balloons and water guns upon our arrival.

One night however, I caught the group of boys toilet papering my house. My dad had heard a noise outside and woke me up. We peeked outside the upstairs window. Sure enough, there they were. My dad and I did not rain on their parade because the boys were having so much fun, we just couldn’t.  The next day, my mom told me the boys had used over 300 rolls of toilet paper!

Now when it comes to being toilet papered, some people’s point of view on this topic differ. My dad would usually clean up the mess, God bless him; but the one time I had to, it was not that much fun! Some parents will not allow kids to toilet paper their house because of the mess it creates.

And not all the time do people just get toilet papered. My friends and I made a pact to ONLY use toilet paper, but other people tend to “fork” other people’s yard when they are mad at that person or as a mean joke. This term means that people stick forks in other people’s yards, sometimes breaking off the tip because it makes the forks harder to find. Then when people mow their lawn, their lawn mower breaks down because forks get stuck in it. Not very nice if you ask me.

People not only use forks, but sometimes write little phrases in the drive way or on the sidewalk using ketchup, mustard, silly string, etc. This can be fun as long as the phrases are clean. Otherwise it’s hurtful or awkward when a parent reads those words.

One wise man once told me, “Experience shapes perception, perception is your reality.”

He had a rough experience with toilet papering growing up, and he does not really like the idea of it now. I wish people would keep it clean and out of a fun spirit, because it really can be enjoyable and something to love doing. If out of a mean spirit though, it can really bring someone’s view of the exciting feat way down.

One time in high school, my car got “donuted”. Weird I know.  A group of guys had gotten together one night and gone to the donut store. At night, the donut store would throw away all the left-overs. It only made sense why the boys would think of such a thing. The guys went around to random high schoolers cars and “donut” them. It was kind of funny.

This just goes to show that toilet papering can consist of toilet paper or many other different items. Toilet papering, for the right reasons and done out of respect for the person and their house, can be so much fun!! If you know the people well enough and have an understanding with them that you mean the prank as a joke, you should be ok. With that in mind, if you are bored one Friday or Saturday night, no matter how young or old you are, grab a group of friends and give toilet papering a try.

Becoming Aware of a World Outside My Own

Two weeks ago, ACU held a chapel forum for Invisible Children. Invisible Children uses film, creativity, and social action to end the use of child soldiers in Joseph Kony’s rebel war and restore Northern Uganda to peace and prosperity.

Representatives for Invisible Children, also called Roadies, showed a video that told people what the program is all about. The video is called “Tony” and tells about a child named Tony and the struggles he went through in Africa. It also showed clips of little kids having to leave their homes to stay in the city for the night. No child is safe over there.

Invisible children started when three young filmmakers traveled to Africa in the spring of 2003. They discovered a tragedy where children are both the weapons and the victims.

The three men were so inspired that they created the “Invisible Children” documentary.

Now, Invisible Children is a non-profit created to transform apathy into activism. This summer U.S. teachers will travel over seas to spend six weeks team-teaching in Invisible Children partner schools, sharing ideas and teaching methods.

People can help the children in Africa by donating money each month to the Invisible Children program or by being involved in the upcoming 25th campaign. On April 25th, anyone can join Invisible Children and create a silence that will be heard around the world.

The 25th campaign stemmed from thousands of people in central Africa being silenced by the LRA for the last 25 years. So for 25 hours, thousands of participants around the world will go silent so that the victims of the LRA will be heard. Money raised from this event will fund The Invisible Children Protection Plan and bring life saving communication and rehabilitation projects to the victims of the LRA.

Tony, the child featured in the video a couple weeks ago, was actually there at ACU. Now he is an adult. When I saw him standing up there in front of us college students, the reality of it all hit me: there really are children suffering over in Africa. I know I saw this all throughout the film, but my eyes were closed to the effect the war had on these kids. When I was able to see one of those children standing in front of me, a child who had suffered the loss of his mom and close friends, it tugged at my heart.

Yes, there are summer camps and organizations that help grow kids in America. And there are programs for kids in need, but we are not the only country with kids that need help. I guess I am at fault for getting caught up in my own little world and what is immediate in my own life. I am really glad Invisible Children came to ACU because my eyed were opened to a world around me I was not fully aware of.

Stress. Time. How to Manage Both.

Stress. Time. Those two go so well together…but not always for the good. I am among one of the millions of people in this world that lets stress take over their life. Fortunately, after taking the “Stress and it’s Management” class here at ACU, I’m beginning to see the bigger picture and how to deal with stress.

Stress usually finds me when I pile a multitude of things on top of each other. I tend to think I can accomplish many events, schoolwork and extracurricular activities in one 24 hr period. Well, turns out I can’t. I should know this by now because I’ve tried day after day, year after year, and I always end up with the same results: overwhelmed and mentally/physically fatigued.

Whether or not people like it, or no matter how hard they try to avoid it, stress never escapes us. This fact hit me on Monday, when I learned that I am not the only one who struggles with stress. One of my friends, one of those girls who you know has it all together, had not slept in over 24 hrs. Let me repeat that . . . 24 HOURS! That lack of sleep is not healthy at all. I know some people can run on very little sleep (definitely NOT me) but studies show people need at least 8 hours of sleep a night, especially during their teen years and early 20s.

I learned about jumbled priorities in my “Stress and it’s Management” class. If people stop long enough to think about it, our dilemma goes deeper than a shortage of time; it’s basically a problem of priorities. Hard work doesn’t hurt us because we all know how to go full speed for long hours, and how to be involved in an important task.  We actually thrive on the sense of achievement and joy when a certain assignment is finally accomplished.

It is not hard work, but doubt and misgiving that produces anxiety as we review our days ahead and become oppressed by the pile of unfinished tasks. I mean, let’s face it, I know I complain about needing more hours in a day, but deep down I know that sooner or later I will have just piled more tasks into that longer day. Taking on other people’s demands and falling to my own inner compulsions often drives me to frustration. I know I am failing to accomplish what is really important to me.

 

According to best-selling author, Stephen Covey, people are made up of four quadrants:

Quadrant I is made up of the urgent and important things in our life. For example, being on time or making a deadline for work would fall under this category.

Quadrant II is made up of the non-urgent but important tasks, such as spending time with our family or working out. This quadrant is made up of the most important things in our life.

Quadrant III is the urgent but not important category. An example of this category would be completing extra credit for a class.

Quadrant IV is the not urgent and not important tasks, such as playing video games and watching tv.

Unfortunately, even though Quad II should be the most important in our lives, because it does not have a deadline, this category falls to the end resulting in the loss of  very dear relationships. Also, some people put Quad IV first, which only wastes away their life.

I definitely get caught up putting Quad I before Quad II. I feel like there are so many tasks to get done for school that I place a ton of pressure on myself to finish those tasks before the day is up. I miss out on college life: spending time with friends, actually learning about my major, going to social club events, and taking time out of my busy day to call my parents and tell them I love them.

When I say, “I don’t have time for this project,” I really mean, “I don’t consider it as important as something else I want or need to do.” I need to decide what things are most important to me.

Lately, I’ve been using a box chart to write down the most important things to me, urgent or not, and then filling in the other boxes with less important stuff. This idea has helped me see how much time in the day I have for everything and that I can make sure I allot enough time to the right things.

Just a fun fact I learned in class if you want to know ( I know I did!). Here are the Top 10 College Stressors (listed from greatest to least):

-Roommate Problems

-Jobs (getting stuff done)

-Academics

-Budgeting Your Money

-Lifestyle Behaviors

-Peer Groups/Peer Pressure

-Exploring Sexuality

-Friendships

-Intimacy

-Starting a Career Path

I hope all of this helped you take a step back, breathe in, and RELAX! I know I am FINALLY starting too!

What Makes a Leader

I love sports! I have participated in and watched competitive sports most of my life. Sports provide avenues to learn teamwork, establish friendships, and develop discipline. I am sure that these attributes have played a big role in how our society developed a huge infatuation with sports. But what really interests me is how, in the arena of professional sports, some players emerge with the reputation as leaders in the public eye while other players do not. Of course, there are some players that have earned a bad reputation and seem to revel in that. But a large majority of professional athletes have worked very hard to reach the top level of their sport. Along the way, most of these players have been leaders on their respective high school and college teams, yet now they are being either lifted up by the public or shot down. And this is done by a public that does not really know the person. We see the player on court and might hear of an off-court action, but other than that, we really have no idea of their leadership qualities.
So, the question seems to be what circumstances exist to steer the public to develop their opinions. Let’s look at the example of the Boston Celtics versus the Los Angeles Lakers. Both teams have their fan base, but it appears to me that the general public leans more towards favoring the Celtics. Did this perception begin in the 1980’s when the Lakers drafted Magic Johnson and the Celtics drafted Larry Bird? Did the nickname, Showtime, make those Laker teams seem almost too showy, while the Celtics had a harder nosed, blue collar reputation that appealed more to the public? Then again, it is certainly possible with the Lakers winning more championships that the public turned against their success and rooted more for the underdog. These reputations appear to follow these two teams even today. Kobe Bryant of the Lakers, one of the most prolific scorers to ever play the game, is not considered to be a great leader. He has multiple championship rings and seems to be the leader of his team, but the public does not view him highly. On the other side, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have gained the public’s adoration. They are viewed as great leaders to not only their teams, but also their communities. These two players continue the perception of hard work and physical play, and appear to benefit from that in the public eye.
Whatever the end result might be for who is determined a leader, it seems the public bases their opinions more on external circumstances and perceptions than on true leadership qualities.