Saturday, June 30, 2012

Caught Having Fun at Work

I was shooting John & Tammy's wedding a couple weeks ago when I caught my friend, Mark, having fun at work.

Look at that childlike cheese.

Pure joy.

Truly happy for them.

Thrilled to be part of it.

Thoroughly enjoying the moment.

In ministry there are things we have to do and then there are things we get to do. Marrying a great couple like this, is indeed a get to do.

When was the last time someone caught you having fun at work?

When did you last fight-off shooting liquid through your nose in the workplace?

When was the last time you tried to make someone's day at work?

If joy isn't native or natural to your workplace, maybe you could sneek in some contraband laughter.

When was the last time you were caught having fun at work?

Kokomo's Victory Bike Shop

Victory Bike Shop on N. Washington St just shy of Jefferson St.

I love it when local businesses survive being assimilated or obliterated by the national big box chains. This little shop having survived the last few years of a staggering economy and the domination of the Walmart and Target bicycle departments is indeed a Victory.

For most of my life this business was located on Sycamore St. just off the downtown square, and had been run by gentleman first class, Charles Sullivan. He was a man from another era. He always wore leather shoes and a dress shirt to work.

When Victory moved to its new home on N. Washington in the same building as Bob's Pawn, I wondered if the business had moved in name only.

Some of it is the same; display cases for one. I'd peered droolingly into those wood-framed glass cases as a little boy, ogling balsa rockets, slot cars and scads of bike accessories.

The digs are new and crisp. Clean slat-wall displays, a computer atop the ancient counter, and carpeting.

The personnel is both the same and different. Dave runs the shop. No leather shoes. No dress shirt. Casual. Cycling pants and shoes, depending on the day. 

But Dave is a Victory guy in the best (Charles Sullivan) sense of the word. He's easy going; no pressure. "See something you like? Just take her for a spin!"

He's taking the phrase customer service off the oxymoron list. He wants the customer to be happy. He wants to service what he sells. He appreciates that the money one puts down to buy a bike didn't come easy.

He's warmly colorful. "Look, I had a bad accident and hit my head a few years ago so if I space out or start the same story again, just tell me." Dave is a good-hearted man providing great local service in a faceless franchised world.

Their main bike brands are Specialized, Cannondale, KHS, Fuji and Eastern. They stock a surprising amount of inventory for a modest-sized shop. And their prices are as good, usually better, than shops in Indianapolis.

If you're thinking about a new bike, consider Dave and his crew at Victory Bike Shop. And if it's been a while since you've been on a bike, the new technology and comfort has come a long way over the years.

Mon-Fri 9-6, Sat 9-4
509 N. Washington St. Kokomo IN.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Indy N.I.T.E Ride

Me and 3,500 of my closest friends.
 Morgan, Renee & Mike Westbrook, Echo Edne, Sue & Bob Shappell
Greg & Lynnell, John & "Mary-Honey," Mike & Renee, dork, 
Linda & CB, George, Echo, Bob, Suzanne, Sue

We came, we saw, we road 18 miles on the streets of Indianapolis from IUPUI to the Butler Campus and more! This was my first Indy NITE (Navigate Indy This Evening) Ride and it was a great experience.

The fact that I was excited to ride 18 miles on my bike, in many ways, is a testament to the year that has been: starting a health plan with Dr. Haendigas, surviving Haitian gunmen, working out at the YMCA with trainer Nicole Peel & friends--all these things have guided me to a place where I was physically and mentally able to do this. I never would have considered this ride a year ago.

The event really was kicked-off by tail-gate-maestro, Greg Taylor. Within minutes of arriving, he pulled a grill out of my van and cooked up totally yummy marinated chicken breast pieces. Accompanied by: Lynnell's 2 kinds of made-that-day salsa, sweet potato fries, cookie bars; Suzanne's large vegetable tray, various fruits and other noshy treats by the Herrs & Shappells. It was a symphony of healthy treats--great healthy fuel before the trek.

The picture at the top of this post is the melee of thousands of cyclists staged for the dark ride. Small sections of the hoard were released at a time, staggering our collective start. It took about 45 minutes to start all cyclists. The first group started at 11:00 pm.

While we waited and nudged forward we were serenaded with motivational and fun tunes through a great P.A. system: Stars & Stripes Forever - Sousa, Bicycle -Queen, Theme to Rocky, In the Mood -Glenn Miller, Star Wars Theme, Rockin' Down the Highway -Doobies, and the like.

It was great to ride through the heart of downtown and around the Circle as people gawked, waived, and cheered. The police cleared the streets for us, sometimes completely, other times just our side of the street.

Shortly after getting out of downtown I heard some faint music. I came upon two cool dudes in recumbent bikes. They had jams--Lowrider by War! Made me totally laugh out loud!
 (example of recumbent trikes.)

The unofficial vibe of the event is anything goes. All types, ages and shapes of people. Every kind of bike imaginable. I will say this; it seemed like a pretty docile bunch. Out of the 3,500+ people in and around the event I never saw the need for an officer of the law.

The only requirements for the ride are a headlight, helmet, the ability to finish within two hours and an entry fee of $23-$29. Some people take a leisurely pace, talking the whole time; some going for their best time and everything in between.

I was somewhere in the middle; sometimes talking with my mates and other times pushing it. The Taylors and I finished somewhere in the 1:40 time frame, mostly because we were trying to keep up with Lynnell, heretofore known as "The Pacesetter." There is a break available halfway through. We stopped for only a minute or two and decided to carry on.

In the midst of the ride I could definitely appreciate the cumulative effects of my Y workouts since January. Having never ridden more than ten miles up to this point I was curious how I'd fare. I'm proud to say I was confidently churning along, even pushing it pretty hard on the second half of the ride; several times whizzing by clusters of leisurely riders.

By the end, I was ready for the finish line, but nothing close to painfully so. I was tired but still had fuel left in the tank (must have been that great tail gate). The only annoyance by the end was a slight discomfort in the posterior region, perhaps remedied by a different sent and/or pants.

I have to say that I was really impressed with my Specialized (brand) Crossroads (model) bike, for the simple fact that I never thought about it the entire ride. That meant it was performing the way I expected it to and to a degree that never brought it into question. I recently swapped out the stock bars for some nondescript flat bars which has made a world of difference. Very comfortable and not one back nag over the 18 mile trek!

Plug: Dave and the crew at Kokomo's Victory Bike Shop are stellar. Great products and they're bringing back meaning to the fading term, customer service.

The only thing that was missing was my girl, Sammy Jo! She couldn't make it due to schedule conflicts. But there's always next year! Saturday June 22, 2013, in fact.

Great time and great friends who made the experience meaningful:

Greg & Lynnell Taylor
George & Suzanne Roberts
John & "Mary Honey" Roberts
Chris & Linda Herr
Echo Edne
Bob & Sue Shappell
Mike & Renee Westbrook

Friday, June 1, 2012

Has Adam Sandler Led us to a Place Where Immaturity is Vogue?

No. But I wonder if his popularity trail doesn't mirror the cultural trend that it's ok to be (shall we say) less than mature well into one's twenties?

When I was in my late teens all I wanted to do was grow up. Mature. Be my own man. Be thought of as a man instead of a kid. My observations of that same demographic now, led me to believe that today's 20-something guitar heroes have different aspirations.

It seems to me based on movies and the pictures and anecdotes shared on social media, that being a 20-something isn't about being the man as much as it's license to be kid-like.

To be clear, this isn't necessarily right or wrong. When I was in my twenties being in a bar drinking too much might have been my "manly," while taking goofy pictures of you and your friends in Walmart might be the event du jour. One may appear more mature, but I assure you it isn't.

 Observations can be highly suspect, so I did some data-digging to see what I could find:

> In 1970, 69% of white men were married by 25 according to Bookings Institution.
> In 2003, 33% of white men were married by 25.

>In 1970, 70% of 30 year olds had married, started a family and achieved financial independence.
>By 2000, that figure had dropped below 40%.

>More young men and women are attending college, but the median number of years to complete a degree has risen from four to five since 1970.

Check this out. Jeffrey Jensen Arnett,  a research professor at Clark University claims there is currently a kind of extended adolescence from 18 to late 20s. He calls it an emerging childhood.

"People don't go from adolescence to young adulthood at 18,19,20 as they did 50 years ago. It doesn't happen until close to age 30 for most people now," Arnett said.

This new dynamic does not just fall on the shoulders of 20-somethings. Their parents are more involved with them than any other parents in our history. This creates some new challenges. As life coach Christine Hassler said,

"They're closer to their parents than any other generation, and that impacts not feeling like a grown-up, because they're still highly parented into their twenties. One of the things I have to work with my clients on is getting them to stop calling their parents multiple times a day and consulting them for every decision that they make."

Sarah Fulghum, a 25 year old editor-in-chief says, "You can't blame these people for prolonging their teenage years, when their parents make it so easy. If society wants 20-somethings to become adults, it all starts with their parents expecting them to be adults and holding them to that standard."

Similarly, Brookings senior fellow William Galston said,

"No one resists or resents it (help, financial and otherwise from parents). Young people expect it. They expect it because their parents won't let them fail."

That last sentence stings a bit. What parent hasn't stepped in to prevent their older teen child's failure? And so it seems by this statement, that failure may be the path of maturity. Letting our children fail may be critical to our children's maturity and something we parents ironically fail at.

So what do I know?

It seems that millennials (generation Y) are in fact delaying adulthood more than prior generations.

As a parent of this generation, I have to learn to parent in such a way that encourages true independence while remaining relationally in touch with my children. Easier said than done.

For 20-somethings, I encourage you to work hard to be your own man. It's always taken hard concerted effort and it always will. It's always harder than playing Crazy Train on Guitar Hero. As a generational father to you, I am here to help. Even if what you need is for me to let you fail.

Now, who wants to sit down and laugh our asses off over The Wedding Singer?

Data for this post was from these two articles; both worth reading:
Is 26 the New 18?
Is 26 the New 18? Reconsidering When Adulthood Begins