Zeus had a splitting headache. Yes, I’m talking about Zeus: thunderbolt-wielding-Mount-Olympus Zeus. It’s kind of gratifying to hear that even the most powerful of the Greek gods got headaches. In any case, he had a whopper. Back in the day, before Tylenol or Advil, they dealt with these things differently. Zeus called upon his pal Hermes (or Prometheus or Hephaestus or Ares, depending on the version you are reading) who came to his aid by splitting open his head with a labrys, or a double headed (no pun intended) axe. It turns out that the cause of his headache was his daughter. Fathers everywhere are nodding in empathy. As his forehead split open, out popped his daughter, Athena, fully grown and armed, ready for battle. Fathers of teenage daughters are now nodding, “Yes, that seems to be how we got here.”

Why am I telling you this when you are expecting to hear about Junior Leadership? To demonstrate how we, as leaders, are viewed by the up and coming generation. Here we are, as we always have been, fully grown and in the jobs we always imagined. No zig, no zag. Is it any wonder that most of them have this perpetual confused and frustrated look on their faces when they are asked about their college majors or future careers? They think they are supposed to have it all figured out. That the path should lead from A to Z starting now. They are frustrated when they can’t see it. But I ask you, did you? Of course not. Everyone zigs and zags. That’s the fun and the frustration of life. That’s also the part where Junior Leadership comes in. Our purpose is to arm students with the tools to ride the zigs and zags that come at them.

Last month, that journey started!

Once again, RPM International graciously opened its doors to the new class of Junior Leadership. Students were treated to a first class experience, with sessions rotating between the auditorium and the dining room. If you haven’t been in RPM’s auditorium, you are missing out. In a room that felt more like the US Senate chamber, each student sat in front of an individual microphone and had a view of the stage and the super-sized projection screen.

And then there was the lunch featuring an amazing chipotle bar dinner. “Best meal ever!” said one impressed guest.

The students had already identified their Strengths (Gallup Strengths Tests courtesy of Cleveland Clinic Medina Hospital) and were ready to explore their newly found knowledge. Through a multitude of hands-on activities, they worked together, talked together, and listened together. Teenagers listening? Who knew? From fun and engaging activities like Marshmallows 1.0 and 2.0, to thought provoking ones like Metacognition as a Tool for Success, students started identifying their own leadership skills and strengths, as well as those of their peers. 

It was an enlightening and exciting two days. As always, Valerie Rapp was on hand to capture the fun with her amazing photos. We meet again at the end of September to continue to explore leadership through their own experiences and throughout Medina County.

I leave you with a thought provoking activity. Sometime today, take stock in how you arrived where you are. What were the highs and lows? How did resiliency play a part in your success? Where did you think you were going to be at this juncture in your life? Then pat yourself on the back for riding out the zigs and zags and being the amazing leader you are today!

 

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