In-Between

Prepared for a transition! Steve readying his climbing gear for a river crossing.

Prepared for a transition! Steve readying his climbing gear for a river crossing.

Steve and I found a cliff that had never been climed before! Looking through our binoculars we estimated the cliff was about 200 feet high. We wanted badly to be the first climbers to explore the steep cracks and faces, so we marched straight for it. About 100 yards before we reached the cliff we came upon a river that was deep, wide and running swiftly. We walked up and down looking for a way across with all of our gear. Disappointed, we turned back knowing there would be no climbing that day.

We had known where we were starting, and where we were going. We were well equipped for our destination, but had overlooked the territory in-between. Failing to anticipate the transition between where we were and where we were prepared to go only cost us a day of climbing. Imagine what overlooking a transition in other life situations might cost…

William Bridges describes the space in-between old ways and new ways as Neutral Zones. A Neutral Zone stands between where you have been and where you want to be. Anticipating, preparing and deliberately taking the time to cross the Neutral Zone can make the journey much more pleasant and will ensure your arrival.

The challenge for all of us is to spend time preparing for the neutral zone, just like we do for our destination!

The very next weekend my climbing partner and I better anticipated the transition, carried a small inflatable raft out to the river, took our time crossing, and arrived on the other side ready to begin our adventure!

David LePere is the Executive Director of Cherokee Creek Boys School, a therapeutic boarding school for middle-school boys, ages 11-15, located in Upstate South Carolina.

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posted by Shaler Black Cooper in Discovering What is Real and True and have No Comments

Coming Full Circle

Getting to know each other on the front porch

Getting to know each other on the front porch

Charlie walked up the steps to Cherokee Creek Boys School on his first day…eyes averted, head down, anxious and awkward. “Hi, I’m Josh,” said one of the veteran students as he walked up to Charlie with his hand held out in greeting. Charlie gave a half-hearted hand shake and mumbled his name. Josh said, “Hey, look, let me show you around some; we can shoot pool or something.” Within 30 minutes Josh and Charlie were talking, shooting pool and becoming fast friends.

Josh was filling the role of “student mentor,” who helps orient a new student to his surroundings. Cherokee Creek Boys School is “the small school with a big heart,” and Josh was doing one of the things that helps to make a new student feel safe and comfortable. A student’s perspective of what is important to know is often different from a staff’s perspective. A student can relate well to another student, which in turn helps ease the transition into the new environment.

Coming full circle, here was this confident and reassuring mentor who just 14 months earlier was the awkward, scared and unsure new student himself.

Whom do you mentor, and who mentors you?

Phil Fairbrother is the Operations Director at Cherokee Creek Boys School, a therapeutic boarding school for middle-school boys ages 11-15 in Upstate South Carolina. Phil has been with CCBS since 2003.

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posted by Shaler Black Cooper in Discovering What is Real and True and have No Comments