Monday, July 9, 2007

Reflections at Lake Powell

I wanted the 5 day trip to Lake Powell for my Young Men's group (ages 14-18 years) to be more than just playing around in the water. It is not often in our lives that we have the privilege to retreat from everything we normally live with, surround ourselves in glorious nature and just hang loose. I was hoping that the guys would take a small portion of each day for personal reflection, and so to facilitate that I came up with four daily sets of questions for them to ponder on. I don't think my reflection exercise was widely practised by the group (tubing with friends had stronger draw), but perhaps they'll think on these things in the future. I thought they were worthy of posting in my blog for me to go back to and for my friends to also consider.

Day 1: This journal exercise is all about defining your sense of self and personal mission. Living with integrity and following your righteous heart’s desire is vital to growing into mature manhood. This reflection time is just for you—-please be honest with yourself. Here are some questions to help you consider your life’s journey so far and where you want to go:

1. What do you really enjoy doing? Why? Does it make you happy? Why or why not?
2. What one big dream do you look forward to achieving in your life? Why?
3. When do you feel inspired? Who inspires you?

4. What role does conflict play in your life? How do you deal with rejection?
5. Considering your answers to the above questions, do you know what you want in your life? If you do, what is it? If you don’t, how do you think you could learn what you really want from your life’s journey?

Day 2: Here are some questions to reflect upon who you think you are, what and who has contributed to your sense of self:
1. Do you feel you’re growing into the man you always longed and desired to be one day?
2. What comparison source are you using to measure your progress to manhood? Would it be your peers, parents, family members, church leaders, the scriptures, the media culture or something else?
3. What do you fear? Why?
4. When you mess up, what do you usually do? Do you learn and change from your mistakes?
5. What life factors (good and bad) have helped you develop into the person you are today?

Day 3: Here are some questions to guide you in your journey by examining the men of influence in your life. Please consider your father, grandfathers, uncles, friends, teachers or church leaders, and the impact they have in your life:
1. In what ways do the men of influence in your life help you with your life goals, aspirations and dreams? And, in what ways have these persons influenced your actual daily behavior?
2. Who has made the biggest positive difference in your life and the direction you’re going? Why?
3. When you reflect on the men of influence in your life, what thoughts and emotions do you have about them? Could you possibly be such a person to others?
4. Do you currently have male friends that you are close to and can confide in and trust? If not, how important is it for you to find someone? What should you do?
5. What do you look for or need in a close friend? Do you think your current friendships help or hinder you in your journey to manhood?

Day 4: Here are some questions to consider how you share your life, and the influence that you may have upon others:
1. Do you want to be a man of influence in the lives of your family and friends? Why?
2. Do you try to lead by example in doing the right thing or by trying to help out your family and close friends? Is this a pattern in your life? Why or why not?
3. Do you forgive your friends when they are not their best selves? How do you show it?
4. Do you open up your heart and bear your soul to the important people in your life? Why or why not? How can openness help you in being a man of influence in the lives of others?
5. Do your friends trust and confide in you? Are you a loyal friend in the face of opposition?

Do we take time to reflect on ourselves, aspirations and relationships? I know I am largely in the thick of thin things, and seldom go through this kind of thoughtful analysis. I plan to talk more about some of these points in the future.

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