Volunteers showed up in droves yesterday to help House of Shine produce more Shine Tokens. Most recently we’ve used the tokens to deliver messages of hope to high school students, many of whom suffer from... Read More »
Thanks for Asking
Last week at this time I was with a group of motivated college students. They are a group of student leaders who were selected into their positions for the express purpose of building community in the residence halls where they live.
There were a lot of high points, but my favorite moment of the day came with a question posed by one of the students: What do you do when you work really hard to plan a program and then the residents don't show?
She went on to elaborate: Before the program, I ask them if the topic sounds interesting and whether they would attend if I went ahead and planned it. Then, a few days before the program I remind them of the date and time and they confirm that they will be there. Then, minutes before the program I knock on doors and they promise they will be right down. Even after the program starts, when they still aren't there, I sneak away to knock on their doors one last time. I can hear them inside, but they don't answer.
I loved this moment because, whether you are an RA or a craftsman of another sort, there is a genuine sense of disappointment that comes when we share our shine with others and they don't respond as we would have hoped.
I thought about myself and the journey I've been on with the House of Shine. There have been hundreds of big and small initiatives shared over the years that have been met with little to no interest. Things such as: Patchwork, $1.00 Bin Challenge, Yellow Envelope Project, t-shirts, #helloyello, Shineworks, and trust me, the list unfortunately goes on and on.
And I shared what I feel like I've learned the hard way; that we aren't entitled to people's participation. We earn it. And chances are we don't earn it the day we invite them to participate. We earn it on all the days and weeks leading up to the event.
We earn it when take time to get to know people, including their names, and when they can tell we genuinely care about them for reasons beyond what they can do for us.
We earn it when we decide that, rather than seeking approval for an idea we already have, we will get to know our audience and generate ideas based on what we observe, first hand, that they are interested in being, doing, and sharing.
We will earn it when we learn that other people actually want to shine too. So that, rather than delivering a program or initiative that is already to finished, we should rewind and invite others into the actual process of planning and creating.
Because floor programs, like the hundreds of initiatives at the House of Shine, are actually opportunities to harness the strengths, hobbies, interests, natural talents, and experiences (SHINE) of the people we are hoping to reach. Each of is hardwired with our own unique combination of talents and gifts and most of us are sitting in the wings just waiting to share them.
When we bypass the opportunity to help someone discover his or her shine by reveling in our own lead role, then we shouldn't be1000% surprised when we are left standing center stage, alone.