Brett.Ullman

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Into the mind of a 14 year old … (my daughter Zoe)

The other night I was helping my daughter Zoe with something on her iPhone. I have to be honest when she passed me her phone and I looked at her home screen I was floored. It is a little hard to describe so below is a screen shot of her phone (all of this with her permission btw)

zoeiphone

First thoughts:

  1. Every folder is categorized not by function but by colour
  2. In the dock there is no Phone
  3. In the dock there is no Email
  4. In the dock there is no Messages
  5. She would rather have 3 rows of available icon space blank then use it for something that does not fit her organizational strategy

What matters to Zoe most is YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Musical.ly. I asked her where her phone app is. “Green” she replied. “Camera?” I asked and without missing a beat she said “Grey”. “Email” … she paused for a sec and then say “Blue”.

I was interested to see if this was common amongst other teenagers (especially teen girls) so I posted on Facebook for people to share their home screens. Now all but 1 who replied were not teenagers. Most people who replied left the icons exactly where Apple put them originally. There were a few people who added small changes to their dock (Adding in a folder for all social media, adding in Spotify or other apps they use often). The majority still still had phone, email and messages in the dock. If you have a tween or a teen and they would be willing to post the front home screen I would love to see it in the comments on this blog or on Facebook.

Some thoughts for us as parents, educators and leaders:

  1. This is a different and unique generation of students. We cannot just assume they will do things like us. Someone commented on my Facebook post that the way she had set up her phone was wrong. This message was deleted by the poster within the hour. Different is not wrong. A student doing things different than how you might do something just makes them someone who is thinking and choosing to do things their own way. I am actually quite proud of how she set up her phone. While at a Leadership Retreat at Muskoka Woods a number of years ago I read a quote on a TV that said:

    “A Leader is someone who looks at the World and says it does not have to be this way … and then does something about it.”

    My daughter decided that her phone did not have to be this way and then did something about it. I hope that this small trait I see in her phone use translates into how she lives her life.  I hope she is willing to risk being different to do her life how she wants to live it and not just follow everything that her culture teaches her to follow. 

  2. I think we as parents and educators need to look at how we are teaching this generation. If this younger generation thinks different than us we must find new ways to engage them that might be different than how we were engaged. This is why in my talk on media I say to parents/educators it is so important to understand this generation and the culture they live in so that we can engage them in a way that they need to be engaged.
  3.  In our church world I think we need to be asking are we engaging these next generations how we wanted to be engaged or how they need to be be engaged? Doing things because “That is the way we always do them” is not a really good solution to properly engaging anyone. If those things we are doing are actually engaging students than keep it up but if they are not we need to look at how WE can change.

Anyway, Love to hear anyone else’s thoughts on this.
Talk to you soon
Brett

Want to be a public speaker? My new speaking course is out!

When I began speaking over 19 years ago I really had no one to walk me through the ins and outs of speaking. Many times I learned the hard way that there were better ways to do things.

These days I often have people who say to me at one of my talks “I want to speak but I have no idea where to start.” I have been working for the past few months on a new online course called “Truth Tellers: The Desire to Communicate“. This is where you can start your speaking journey.

It contains almost hours of content with 77 different segments covering all areas from:

  • What skills you might need to be a public speaker
  • Choosing, researching and designing your talk
  • Dealing with anxiety and nervousness that comes with speaking
  • What gear do you need to bring with you?
  • Set up and take down practical thoughts
  • Thoughts on the business side of things
  • Sustainability
  • any many, many more

This course is basically me downloading everything I have learned in my speaking career to you.

All proceeds from this course go back into the work that I do at Worlds Apart. The course costs less than 30 min of coaching and I will be available for questions and assistance as you begin speaking in whatever area you desire to speak in.

Please click here (or the image below) to see the course and to check out a few of the free videos. If you choose to sign up please let me know how the course goes and I would really appreciate you giving a reference when you are done on the site.

truthtellers

 

New Book: The Forgotten – looking for 100 stories from caregivers

As most of you know my life changed back in March 2012 when I had a breakdown. 4 1/2 years later I have had 15 medical specialists, 3 Psychologists, 1 Psychiatrist, 2 Naturopaths. On top of this I have had churches and individuals around the world praying for my health and the support of numerous friends and family.

Something I have heard a few hundred times in the past few years is people asking me how my wife and children are coping with my struggles. These people are asking because it is not them who is struggling but their loved one. I hear terms like these people are floundering or drowning and they don’t know what to do. For the most part the people who have been forgotten in my journey are my wife and children. They have to deal with the ramifications of my anxiety, sleep struggles etc but they don’t have the support around them that I do. I have felt a growing desire to help these forgotten people. My problem with this is that I am not a caregiver to my spouse, child or parent, I am the one struggling. What I have decided to do is to collect stories from caregivers so that their stories can help others.

I am looking for stories if your spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend, child, parents or a close friend is struggling with any of the following mental health issues:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • bi poloar
  • schizophrenia
  • OCD
  • other emotional issues

I would also love to hear from caregivers whose loved ones are struggling with:

  • cancer or other disease
  • diabetes
  • chronic pain
  • death of loved ones
  • loss of job
  • or anything else that you think might help others

I would love to hear how you are surviving. This is not how you are helping someone dealing with their struggle. It is you letting people know the boundaries, strategies, thoughts, supports that you have in place for you and/or your family to survive in these tough seasons of your life.

I will then collect these stories. package them up in a book (physical and digital) and we can then get a resource out for people who are caregivers.

FAQ (Frequently asked questions)

  1. When do I have to have the stories in by? Dec 1st, 2016
  2. Do I have to use my or my loved ones real name? No. Feel free to use a fake name but if you (and the person you are writing about) are willing to share your story you can also use your real names.
  3. How much should I write? I am not looking for a large chapter from each person. Maybe 500 words or less on what you are doing. I am flexible here.
  4. When will this book be out? As soon as I get the stories out and put the book together. Hopefully Spring/Summer 2017
  5. Will all stories be published? Once all the stories come in I will be able to see how many we have in each category (ie anxiety, cancer etc) I will pick (with the help of some caregiver friends) the stories that have the best strategies for other caregivers for each section.

All stories can be sent to my email at brett@brettullman.com

If you are thinking of writing a story if you could send me your name and email that would be great. That way I can keep track of how many people are involved.

If you know of someone who might be able to help in this project please forward them this blog.

Thanks

Brett

Canadian Tour Dates – interested in adding your church (no flight costs)

Hi Everyone,

I have recently booked a number of dates through World Vision where I will be speaking at the United Youth Outreach Equipping Events across Canada. This opens up an opportunity for me to book some speaking dates either before or after these speaking dates.

Below are the speaking dates and locations. For all of the dates except Feb 11th in Regina I will be booked for the Saturday and the Sunday morning. I am open to booking dates on either side of these weekends. For the March 4th – 11th I would actually like to stay in BC and speak the entire week.

November 12th – Surrey, BC

January 14th – Calgary

February 11th – Regina, SK (This event is Friday night)

February 18th –  Fredericton, NB

February 26th – Winnipeg, MB

March 4th – Prince George, BC

March 11th – Duncan, BC

April 1st – Aylmer, ON

The flights are all covered for the events. All that would be needed is expenses and an honorarium. Expenses could be hotel, food, rental car etc.

If you are interested in having me please send me a message to brettullman@me.com and we can start talking.

Thanks

Brett

 

My favourite Graduation Poems

Last night was one of those special “moments” in life as I got to watch my daughter Zoe and a ton of her friends graduate from Grade 8.

There are 3 graduation poems that I have always loved. Thought I would share them with you. Enjoy!

  1. Dr Seuss: Oh, the Places You’ll Go

2. Baz Luhrman: Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen)

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’97
Wear sunscreen

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it
The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists
Whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable
Than my own meandering experience, I will dispense this advice now

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth, oh, never mind
You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth
Until they’ve faded, but trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back
At photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now
How much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked
You are not as fat as you imagine

Don’t worry about the future
Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing Bubble gum
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind
The kind that blindsides you at 4 p.m. On some idle Tuesday
Do one thing every day that scares you

Saying, don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts
Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours

Floss

Don’t waste your time on jealousy
Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind
The race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself
Remember compliments you receive, forget the insults, if you succeed in doing this, tell me how
Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements

Stretch

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life.
The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives
Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t
Get plenty of calcium
Be kind to your knees
You’ll miss them when they’re gone

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t
Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t
Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the ‘Funky Chicken’
On your 75th wedding anniversary
Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much
Or berate yourself either
Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can
Don’t be afraid of it or what other people think of it
It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own
Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your own living room
Read the directions even if you don’t follow them
Do not read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly

Brother and sister together we’ll make it through
Some day a spirit will take you and guide you there
I know you’ve been hurting but I’ve been waiting to be there for you
And I’ll be there just helping you out whenever I can

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good
Be nice to your siblings, they’re your best link to your past
And the people most likely to stick with you in the future

Understand that friends come and go
But a precious few, who should hold on

Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle
For as the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young
Live in New York City once but leave before it makes you hard
Live in northern California once but leave before it makes you soft

Travel

Accept certain inalienable truths
Prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too, will get old
And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young
Prices were reasonable, politicians were noble
And children respected their elders

Respect your elders

Don’t expect anyone else to support you
Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse
But you never know when either one might run out

Never mess too much with your hair
Or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85

Be careful whose advice you buy but be patient with those who supply it
Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past
From the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts
And recycling it for more than it’s worth

But trust me on the sunscreen

Brother and sister together we’ll make it through
Some day a spirit will take you and guide you there
I know you’ve been hurting but I’ve been waiting to be there for you
And I’ll be there just helping you out whenever I can

Everybody see it oh yeah yeah

Everybody see it oh yeah
He want you to feel good!

3. Robert Fulghum: Everything I learned I learned in Kindergarten

10 Thoughts on the Deafening Silence of Parents Today!

In the last month I have had over 2 dozen (24 conversations) with students, family members, youth workers, teachers and others all talking about students in crisis. You would then ask what kind of crisis am I talking about. I am talking about students in Grades 3-12 struggling with:

  1. Eating disorders
  2. Physically harming themselves (cutting)
  3. Suicidal thoughts including suicide attempts
  4. Depression
  5. Anxiety
  6. Panic attacks
  7. Burnout and breakdown

In every single one of these conversations the problem people are talking to me about is not with the desperate struggle the student is having but what to do when the parent(s) refuses to acknowledge that anything is wrong and/or will to do nothing about the problem.

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” Martin Luther King Jr.

So where do we go from here. First I would say we need to advocate for the people around us. Advocate means to speak up or stand up for people. We, as friends, family and leaders, need to have conversations with the parents who are not addressing these issues.

For some people you may need to sit for a second and question if maybe you are the silent parent. If so, here are some thoughts for you:

  1. How are you presently helping your child in their struggle? You should be able to answer this.
  2. How are you hindering your child in their struggle? There are always areas we can improve on.
  3. Have you created a safe environment where you child feels comfortable talking about their struggles?
  4. Are you perpetuating the stigma of mental health but not talking openly about the struggle in your home?
  5. I understand that you might feel completely overwhelmed but the situation. That is ok. How about booking a counselling appointment for you. Tell the counsellor what is going on in your child’s life and get some strategies to begin to come along side them and support them in this struggle. If you feel overwhelmed as an adult picture being a young student dealing with these issue and how much more overwhelming it must be for them.
  6. I read a quote once that said something along the lines of many parents today are so focused on the downward spiral of their own lives it is hard to think of anything beyond their own situation. Maybe some of you need to work on your own struggles first. I also think that we can be working on our own struggles while at the same time advocating for our own children.
  7. I love the book by Robert Munsch that says “I love you forever and always”. We need to let our kids know that we are always there for them and even if they struggle we will still love them. Many students say to me that they could never tell their parents about their struggles as they hear the comments their parents make about other people with similar struggles. Be careful what critical comments you say about others. You might have people in your own home dealing with the same issues.
  8. Even if you have no idea what to do or say you can say this “I don’t know what you are going through but I love you, I will be here through this journey and I will look at getting you some help.”
  9. Say something. Say anything. Just don’t ignore the problem and assume it will get better. It will not.
  10. As a parent, who has a child struggling, talk to your friends at work, church, school, sports etc. You will probably find that many of your friends have kids who have gone through similar journey’s.  Be vulnerable enough to not be ok. I have heard this quote by many people “Its ok to not be ok, its just not ok to stay that way.”

If you have any other thoughts please add them in a comment. Thanks