24 Jan

So how was the Poverty Simulation?

That’s a question I’ve been asked a lot over the last three weeks.  And it’s a question I’ve been trying to answer in this blog for just about as long.  So how was it?

Crowded.  Challenging.  Complex.

One word answers.  My teacher-self is not pleased with these answers…and crowded, come on?  In all seriousness, it was crowded.  Uncomfortably crowded.  I think that’s part of what made it effective.  The cramped quarters of time and space really did generate feelings of frustration and anxiety from all participants, whether they were managing the “local power company” or one of many “families” struggling to make ends meet.  But for some reason, that’s not the story that needs to be told.  (Not that the story of the simulation isn’t excellent.  It is.  The story has just already been written (and published).

But I also don’t know if that story.  The story of the poverty simulation is my story from the day.  Honestly, what struck me the most throughout the event is our own nature (myself included) to tell young people what to do or think.  During our discussion time after the simulation, the room filled with engaged voices. Voices ready to tell the youth participants how to take this information to their homes, schools, and churches.  How often I find myself doing this same thing.  Wanting to tell people, especially youth, what to do.  (I have this trait in Spades.)  And yet the pastor in me knows that listening–really listening–is not only a spiritual discipline but the beginning of leading.  Why is that kind of leading so hard?  What are we afraid we might hear?

What I Learned About Leading from the Poverty Simulation

1 Comment

Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Uncategorized


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One response to “What I Learned About Leading from the Poverty Simulation

  1. Robyn

    February 13, 2012 at 1:25 am

    I just read this today. I agree with you 100%. On the drive home I mentioned this exact thing to my family, why were the adults ( well meaning adults ) but so unwilling to allow the kids to share their experience. It was out of the kids mouths that the most profound and authentic observations inspired me and left me nodding my head. My husband teaches OWL our sex education program through our church, he also witnessed this same thing and for that reason he no longer allows any of the parents to sit in and he and his co leader let the kids set their own covenants. It was a great observation AND as a mother of teenagers a wonderful reminder that I too can lose the brilliance of the moment with a lecture and find myself talking to rather than with.
    A great experience and one that still has impact on our family.


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