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Cultural Value - Learn

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LEARN constantly. When God called us to the mission field, Julie and I had no experience in community development or child development. She was a professional musician and I had worked in Corporate America. So we knew we were going in with a steep learning curve, but we also believed that we could learn. Also, when God called us to build the community center, we had no experience building community centers. In fact, nobody in Back2Back had built a community center. but we knew that there were people who had done that, who had gone before us and we could learn from them through Skype calls, their books, their podcasts or visiting their community centers. We believed we could learn how to do it. As we've worked with marginalized families in underdeveloped communities for 6 years now, we've discovered that applying what you're learning sometimes means taking risks. And when you take risks, sometimes you make mistakes. but we're committed to learn from those mistakes. As John Maxwell says in his book "Failing Forward", we have to learn from our mistakes. In fact, failing, I believe, is a prerequisite for learning. Someone once said "If you're not failing, you're not risking and if you're not taking risks, you're not learning." I believe that's true. Early on as we began working with families who lived in poverty, moms would often come to our staff and ask us for help with something that to them felt urgent. And our immediate response often was "Of course we can. We have the resources. We can help you." Whether it was getting shoes for one of their children, fixing a bike so they could ride to the community center or even doing construction on their home, we thought "Isn't the best way to love these people to help them because we can?" Well, we learned as a result of a lot of reading, that when you do for somebody what they have or can have the capability of doing for themselves, you're actually hurting their growth. You're prolonging persistent poverty in their lives. So we learned in that situation how better to help families. We've also learned that if you do help a family construct a home or improve a home, and you make it look much better than the homes in their surrounding poor community, you actually make them a target for violence or burglary or theft. Important part of our learning We've learned that after living in two generations of poverty, people begin to lose hope and can't imagine leaving their current situation. But conversely, we've learned that all humans bear the image of Christ and have creative capacity. And if they can catch a glimpse of hope, and are willing to learn new skills and about new resources, they have the capability to change their situation. Learning triggers hope. And hope inspires more learning. That's what I believe. I can't think of anything more incredible than seeing a mom who believed she had few skills and nothing to offer learn that not only can she develop skills, but she has options. Or an illiterate preteen who after intensive tutoring and other educational assistance, come to the realization that not only can I graduate from high school I could go on and earn a university degree. I love to learn but even more I love to see others catch the vision for learning and how that can change the trajectory of their lives. That to me is the best kind of learning. I think I've always loved learning maybe not going to school but learning When I was 12 years old I started learning how to play a musical instrument. and in learning to play the harp, I realized that learning is a process that takes time and persistence. And I've had to learn so many things in working with Back2Back. One of the ways that I've learned is from attending conferences. We attended the Christian Community Development Association National Conference and I attended a breakout session about neighborhood mapping. and one of the takeaways was that the communities where we serve, we needed to go in as learners. So we decided to implement some of the same strategies in Tres Reyes. And we did a SWOT analysis, which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats with 30 of the moms from the children who had been attending our Bible class. And we heard from them, through their concerns and through their strengths and their weaknesses, what programming we felt would best help them and their families. So, that's really how we decided the direction for programming for the community center. And I would just challenge you that, in learning, you need to remain teachable. And remember that learning takes time and it takes practice and applying what you learn. Hi. I'm Samantha Mathews. I'm on staff here with Back2Back in Monterrey, Mexico. I was 22 years old when I became a full-time caregiver to 7 kids. The night I moved in with the boys, it was the night before their first day of school. I remember looking around at bedtime and thinking "I have no idea what I'm doing." There was so much that I had to learn. That first night, there was a really big thunderstorm. So the power went out which means all our fans turned off which means it got really hot, really quickly. I'm pretty sure I slept like 10 minutes that first night. When I got up to go get the boys, I found them all in a pile on the hard, tile floor. and what I learned is that the tile is cold, and it's colder down there. That was just the first lesson of thousands of lessons that I learned while living with the boys. I learned hundreds of Spanish words and phrases, most of which could be classified as slang or curse words. I learned how to sweep and mop "correctly", how to buff black leather uniform shoes, how to do laundry for 10 people. I learned about Mexican history, professional soccer players, the ins and outs of MineCraft. I learned what it feels like to walk into the principal's office after another report of bad behavior. I learned the proper technique for covering Mexican books and textbooks, with the right colored paper and the clear contact paper. One year I had to cover almost 100 books. I saw the effects of early childhood trauma live and on display every single day. I learned how to recognize fear-motivated behavior and connect while correcting. I learned how to empower their bodies with peanut butter sandwiches, fruit and popsicles. I learned how to put 10 kids to bed in the same room at the same time and how to slowly but surely earn their trust. I didn't have any other option but to learn. It was a constant race to keep up. I had to figure it out because the kids I was taking care of were counting on me. And I think in life, we have to be willing to learn so that we're willing to grow. I think in that moment where you don't know what you're doing but you're sure willing to try, that's where growth happens. It's the process of learning and discovering and wondering that's what forms new connections in our brain. That's what shifts and broadens our perspective. Basically, I want to be a learner because I want to be a better human being. I want to grow to be a better person. Sometimes the things that I learn are directly applicable to my work. Like, I will never forget in 2011 I attended CAFO in Lousville, Kentucky and I heard Dr. Karyn Purvis speak for the first time. I sat there, mouth open in awe, as she talked about the changes in a child's body and brain due to early childhood trauma. I couldn't take notes fast enough. I wanted to know all of it, as quickly as I could. And that put me on a journey of learning that I'm still on today. So I attend things like CAFO, "Empowered to Connect" conferences, TBRI practitioner training or the Global Leadership Summit because I want to intentionally put myself in places where I'm going to learn things that apply to my work, that are going to make me better in my role and in my job. But sometimes being a learner just looks like being curious So that means sometimes I watch documentaries about British castles or North Korea. Or it means that I go to art museums and history museums because I just want to learn and know more about the world. Maybe that means I read about the domestic staff of the White House or the assassination of JFK. In college, during a snowstorm, I taught myself how to use a sewing machine. It's just the process of learning that is valuable in and of itself. Cause like I said, I want to learn because I want to be a better human being. I want to be a better daughter, a better friend, a better employee, a better leader. So that wherever life takes me, I have that investment in me. So that's why I want to be a learner.

Video Details

Duration: 9 minutes and 57 seconds
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 0
Posted by: jholden on Oct 24, 2017

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