Preconference Lessons

 Backgrounder and Pre-Conference 
Lesson Plans...
You are about to embark on a journey of discovery as you congregate with over 600 other fifth grade boys at the 6th Annual Grow Boys Conference. Your journey will take you in four directions... 


You will learn that all of these directions surround a central purpose; one that you can take action toward, and that purpose is to have HOPE. In order to make hope meaningful, you have to take action... hope without action is just wishful thinking.

As you explore each direction, you will be learning about new things, exploring new activities and reflecting on how you think about life's challenges. People who possess hope see challenges as opportunities. They confront challenges head-on with courage and a positive attitude; two things that can turn any challenge into an opportunity to learn and grow.

You will be led on your journey by the most important leader in your life; yourself. You will also be guided by your teacher and anyone else you choose as an important person who supports you. It's so very important that you can identify people in your life that you trust to be there when you need them..

We are so happy you'll be joining us on your journey! Below are some core lessons that will help you become a Grow Boy. May you have a successful journey full of challenge and excitement, and may you also discover and learn new things along the way!

Lesson #1- Respect
Before we can effectively learn anything else, we must first understand the element of respect. This is referred to as the first direction. Without respect, you simply cannot learn effectively. It's like learning how to crawl... has to be done before you can walk or run.

Respect is one of those things that is hard to define, mostly because everyone has a different idea of what it means to be respectful. There are, however, some basic, universal characteristics of respect that we all must learn to understand, and even more importantly, represent in everything they do:
    • Hopeful people know nothing else but putting 100% effort into everything they do. This is how they display honor and commitment. They understand that doing their best to be honorable and committed, especially when nobody is watching is what makes their character stronger. They do the right thing as often and as well as their knowledge and experience allow, just like Dre did in "The Karate Kid" when he was trying to learn karate to earn the respect of some bullies that were harassing him.  
      • Hit this link for the video                                                                                                                                                                 
    • Respectful people understand that they can truly only be responsible for their own actions, feelings, and words. They don't spend a lot of time trying to figure out why others are doing what they do, feeling what they feel or saying what they say. They believe that everyone around them is trying to be the best person they can given the tools and experiences they have been provided, and they don't hold it against them when others appear to be trying to cause harm through their actions, feelings or words. Instead, they try to understand these people in a deeper way by getting to know them better, and especially the story that is behind their actions, feelings or words.                                                                                                                                                                                                            
    •  Understanding people know that everyone has their own perspective on things and that the way they look at things affects the way they act, feel and express themselves. Understanding people feel bad when others are treated badly, but they strive to not let these bad feelings get in the way of their quest to be happy, healthy and well-adjusted individuals themselves. They instead make an effort to learn what causes people to treat others badly, and they work hard at supporting them so they aren't as likely to share their pain or hardship with others.    
    • Hopeful people understand that if they have nothing positive or uplifting to say, that it is wise to remain quiet. They know that if their words do not improve upon the silence, that silence can be a good thing. People interested in maintaining healthy relationships only speak positively about others, and they never use profane or inappropriate words when communicating in any way.
Win or lose, hopeful people earn the respect of others by following the simple rules above, just like Dre did in the Karate Kid. He started out wanting to earn the respect of his enemies, but in the process achieved something more important when he earned the respect of Mr. Han, a true friend in his own right. Hit this link for the video 

Your First Task:
 Every good person needs an identity. A coat of arms is a symbol of a person's identity... what he or she represents, and it can be a fun process creating one. Your task is to design your own coat of arms that represents how you follow the four simple rules above. There are many ways you can use your coat of arms to symbolize who you are as a person, and how you live, or intend to live by these rules:
  • Certain colors can represent particular qualities or things... for example, green has come to represent conservation, red is representative of love and gold can represent wealth or prosperity. Choose colors that represent qualities that you represent.
  • Shape... not all coats of arms have to be the same shape. Whether you pick a circle, square, heart or any other shape, be prepared to describe why you picked that shape and what it represents.
  • Many coats of arms include a motto or mantra to help describe the person being represented. If you choose to use words on your coat of arms, choose words that describe you; adjectives that really let people know what you stand for, what your personality is like and what you're really good at.
Making a personal coat of arms is a very creative process... yours will be as unique as your fingerprint. Use a large piece of paper, and let your positive qualities be represented nobly and proudly.

Lesson # 2- Understanding
Understanding is the second direction. Once we know what respect means and we begin to display it, we can move to the second phase of becoming a hopeful person. We all need to know things... it's in our own best interests to be well-rounded learners who understand there is always more that can be learned because we never know when we might need to use our knowledge to do good or help other people.

True understanding is being open to new things; developing a sense of independence and taking personal responsibility for one's own learning process. People who want to learn more, to understand, live by the mantra, "if it is to be, it's up to me," just like young Olivia does when she turns "I can't," into "I can." Hit this link for the video

Your Second Task:
This task requires you to be as brave as Olivia and choose something that you would like to take the initiative to learn something new. There are many ways to do this. You may have to research a bit in books or online to find something new to explore. You could research making something, doing something, learning about something... whatever you want.

A great place to start if your parents give you permission is the DIY website.

As a member, you can learn about and make just about anything you want, and then you earn badges for doing so! You can even post pictures of your creations on the site.

Creativity is a key factor in learning and understanding. Kids who are good at solving challenges are the leaders of the future, and we need them to be creative thinkers to help solve the world's problems. Caine was once a young boy in Los Angeles, California who know a thing or two about expressing his creativity. Watch this video for some inspiration before you set forth to decide what you'd like to learn... just because you want to.

Lesson # 3- Relationships
Teamwork, above all, is the quality that gives us collective strength and influence. People who can work together understand that beyond if it is to be, it's up to me... an even better statement is if it is to be, it's up to we. They understand that relationships that are built on mutual trust and unwavering respect for others are more often than not, very productive and healthy. They know that as individuals, they are limited to their personal strengths, but together they are a dominating mix of everyone's strengths bound together... they become interdependent. They know they could always count on each other. No matter the odds, true friends figure out how to support each other and get the job done, just like Arthur and the elf in this clip. Hit this link for the video

As good friends you must also learn how to lean on others when you need help. You will need to learn how to make friends that you can trust to stay by your side through thick and thin. We need all kinds of friends, each adding something unique and valuable to our relationships. The more diverse your group of friends is, the more unique strengths you will have at your disposal to tackle life's challenges... together.

Your Third Task:
A resume is a document that tells others about your strengths... what makes you the person you are. Your third task is to write a resume detailing what you have to offer as a loyal and dependable friend. Hit this link and it will take you to a Google Doc that you can save to create your own resume to tell others why you would make an excellent friend. If you don't have a Google account, just download (FILE- Download as... Microsoft Word .docx) the blank resume form and save it as a Word doc and build it that way. Don't forget to build complete sentences, use proper grammar and spelling matters!

When you're finished with resume building, the second part of task # 3 is to get together with your classmates and design a poster (a large sheet of cardboard paper would be best,) that identifies your class in a prominent fashion. You will display this poster in your class as a representation of the qualities each of you possess within the group.

Lesson # 4- Responsibility
Above all, hopeful people know that they must take personal responsibility for everything they feel, say and do, and they take a vow to make the most righteous moral and ethical decisions in every situation. They know that they need to look out for others in need just like Jimmy did in the following clip. He was a struggling boxer during the Great Depression, and couldn't afford to even pay for milk for his family. Despite his hardship, he knew to take care of his daughter before himself. Hit this link for  the video

Your Fourth Task:
Your fourth task is a challenge to describe or find something that you can be responsible for. This may be something you have to do, like a chore, or something you have to take care of, like a pet. It could even be a person if you take care of a younger brother or sister occasionally. Once you have determined what you are responsible for, share that information with your teacher and you will then receive an official Certificate of Responsibility found here at this link. Get your teacher to sign the certificate, and this will become a symbolic representation of your journey toward becoming a hopeful and happy young PERSON! Congratulations.


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