Breaking the Chains


Tonight we discussed chapter three. In this chapter Alex and Brett talk about the shackles teenagers have on their minds that keep them from feeling like they are capable of accomplishing hard things. Those shackles are a result of the culture’s low expectations on them. We watched the clip from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs where Flint just knows he has something big to contribute to the world, but he doesn’t know what it is and no one around him believes he is capable of anything great.

Alex and Brett used the illustration of how baby elephants are trained in Asia. Naturally, an elephant is strong enough to defy man’s wishes for him to “stay.” Their sheer size by itself, let alone their strength makes them pretty high up in the creation kingdom hierarchy. In Asia, they are kept as laborers for hauling logs and other heavy loads. So how do they get them to stay and not just wander off whenever they want to?

As baby elephants, they are chained to a steel post with an iron chain. Though they try and try, they cannot escape their confines. The babies will often times rub their leg raw in the effort. Finally, they resign themselves to the fact that, when there is something around their leg, they cannot go anywhere. With that mindset firmly in place, the man owning the elephant can then replace the chain with a simple rope and tie them around a tree or wooden post instead. As soon as the elephant feels the resistance of the rope around his leg, he doesn’t even attempt to go further. Teenagers are those elephants. The iron chains are society’s expectations of them and the result is a restricted mindset.

To demonstrate the idea behind the rope holding something as immense as an elephant, we did an experiment of our own. We gave the kids a sheet of cardstock, a roll of scotch tape, and a stack of books and asked them to figure out a way they could manipulate the cardstock so that it would hold the books without any other support. Here is what they finally came up with. They had fun seeing just how many books the cardstock could hold! Our final number was 32 books!!

Now it’s time to learn how to stop living in that “I’m just a teenager. I can’t do that.” mentality!