• Posted on: July 16, 2014

[Think China 2014] Day 6 | The Art of Leadership, Friendship and Basketball

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July 12, 2014

Authors: Joshua Lee, and Devonte Morris

Today was a very interesting day. We started off with a youth leadership workshop at breakfast about the key values that makes up our character. Everyone was able to figure out what were the most important values that are unique to each person. The discussion really opened our eyes to looking beyond everyone’s exterior and figuring out what values are most important to us. We were also told that this would not be a one-time discussion because as individuals we are always evolving.

We  also attended three lectures: ancient Chinese philosophy, ’s economic development, and another Mandarin language class. In our Chinese philosophy lecture, we learned about Confucius, Laozi, and Sunzi. The philosophies of these people came to be during the two time periods of “Hundred School of Thoughts” and “Hundred Flowers Bloom.” A great saying I learned today was, “don’t expose on others, in which you cannot provide.” I felt like this resonated with me. Basically you cannot put upon others, things you are not willing to put upon yourself. In the other lecture about economic development we learned a lot about the rapid growth of ’s economy. has the 2nd largest economy in the world, but is still really behind the United States. Among the highlights of the lecture was learning about the average 12 hours per day that Chinese students spend studying. We also learned how to count to 100 in Mandarin. After that, we had the opportunity to engage in another mentoring activity – a community game that allowed us to collaborate together and learn that everyone has a different perspective on life. We were asked to make up teams of three, where one person could not see, another could not talk and further still the final could not move. The blind folded person had to move down a street to get a backpack. They were given direction from the person who provided hand signals which were interpreted by the person who could talk but not move. This was exciting and chaotic. One group was fighting over the backpack because they thought there was only one. Fortunately, the fight was short lived and we all had a good laugh. We recognized that communication was so very important in this exercise, it can take you in the wrong direction, or not assist in achieving the goal, and it can compromise the safety of individuals on your team. We learn so much by the mentoring moments provided by delegation leadership in between our academic lectures.

One of the biggest highlights of the day was playing basketball against the Chinese students from Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU).  This was a big highlight because the 2014 Delegation never played with each other before. This moment was more than fun because we didn’t know how to play together, but toward the middle of the game we started flowing and it worked out. During the first half, we were able come from behind to get the win. The second half felt more like an All Star game, where mixed teams. This was special moment for me because it was surprising to see that the BFSU students could actually play well. The experience was really fun and it taught me not to prejudge in the future. The goal was less about competition and more about playing well together. Now we can all say we played basketball in Beijing! Finally, we went back to the hotel, and quickly got ready to go to our farewell dinner. The food at the restaurant was really pleasant. It was really an appreciation dinner, especially because they gave us unique personalized photo albums which stored our memories, as a present. The picture booklet showed me that the China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF) really appreciated our delegation. I give thanks to all the BFSU and CSUEF staff for making our stay in Beijing most comfortable. On our last day in Beijing, we all can admit that this was one of the best days of our lives and the memories will stick inside our minds  and hearts forever.

Destin: “My special moment was when we went to play basketball with the other Beijing Foreign Studies University students and one of them asked me to teach them a basketball move.”

Shakir: “My special moment today was interacting with the BFSU basketball players and learning how to count to 100 in Mandarin.

Jackson:  “The most defining moment is the one you don’t see. This moment is when a leader is shown.”

Lorenzo: “My favorite moment of the day was walking back from the restroom with Franklin. We talked about religion, specifically Catholicism. It was my favorite moment because I was able to share with him something that I do not usually share with other. We spoke about my beliefs on God and Catholicism in general. It was great to express something that is dear to me with somebody that is understanding and not judgmental. I have a hard time connecting with people and very often people misunderstand me. I don’t necessarily care if people misunderstand me because I believe in my heart that I am doing a good job in terms of life in general and I’m going to keep doing what I do regardless. However, to break through and speak to somebody that was open and understanding and for once actually listened and absorbed what I was expressing was a great moment for me.

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