by Jocelyn Freed
We started with an educational unit on “Diller’s 12 Life Skills”. We began by splitting into three groups and playing a game to introduce us to the unit. We played a game where one group member would sing the alphabet in their head and another would yell “stop”. When they revealed which letter they landed on, we had to come up with one trait and one skill that started with that letter. For example, for the letter “S”, my group and I came up with sassy for the trait and singing for the skill.
The twist was, we weren’t allowed to know the official definition of a trait versus a skill. We then had to vote on the classification of other groups’ traits and skills and decide if they were classified correctly. Diller defines a trait as, “A distinguishing quality or characteristic (personality characteristic of a person)”. A skill is an “Acquired ability or talent to perform certain actions designed to produce a result in the most efficient and timely manner.” We were next asked to look through a list of Diller’s 12 life skills such as self-confidence, basic capability, and drawing conclusions. Then, drawing on a traffic light with the colors green, yellow, and red to represent our confidence in our ability in each, we shared with the group one red and one green.
We sealed the cards in envelopes that we’ll get back later to check on how our leadership traits have evolved. After that, about 15 quotes defining leadership from different famous people were placed around the room. We walked around, read them all, and formed groups to discuss what we had read. My group focused on a question that was prominent in social media now; does leadership mean being a role model? Additionally, we debated whether famous figures like Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift should be considered leaders or not.
After a brief break to do a unit on something all teenagers could use- time management. We did an activity where we were given a hypothetical list of messages someone gets when they wake up- one form mom, a friend, an aunt, a store, a girlfriend, a veterinarian and more. We were asked to rank the order of which texts we would act on first and then discuss. We could practically feel the anxiety that the hypothetical person would have experienced. Following that, we played “Impossible Twister”, where we were asked to twist into impossible positions to make it to band practice, a family dinner, student council and SAT practice. We then received a handout that described the difference between urgent important, urgent not important, not urgent and important, and not urgent and not important- we were asked to categorize things that come up in our own lives into these categories. The properties of something that’s “important” is
- Significantly contributes to our goals (the more it contributes- the more important)
- Creates impact over time
- Requires proactive activity
- On the odd occasion, also urgent
If something is urgent it…
- Has a time limit that classifies it as urgent
- Not necessarily related to the goal
- Results appear in the short term
- Requires a response
One of our fabulous leaders told the story of a lecture given to the best managers in the world were a glass jar was filled with (in our case) marshmallows, then chocolate chips, sprinkles, and water. This represented that we need to decide what the marshmallows are in our life and prioritize them. Take me for example, my “marshmallows” are rowing, my dogs, family and friends, and school. We then discussed the “important principles of time management” and talked about what we learned from the day.
It is safe to say that that day was vital and important to our leadership journey and I’m so excited to see what next session entails!