Developing Strengths, Tim Roth’s Strengths Finder 2.0 Review

Posted on Saturday May 26, 2012 by Jacob Campbell.

Tom Rath's Strengths Finder 2.0 Book Cover Tom Rath’s Strengths Finder 2.0 Book Cover. You can read Developing Strengths, Tim Roth’s Strengths Finder 2.0 Review.

I’m currently helping out at my agency, Nueva Esperanza Community Counseling Services, with a working group redesigning out treatment plan that we use with our client. It’s been a good process and I think something important to consider. In participating in this process, I have been thinking about how we develop strengths. I decided that since I was thinking about strengths perspective, I should put up some information in my resources section.

I also recently finished reading a copy of Tom Roth’s Strengths Finder 2.0 (make sure to check out all of my other book reviews). I’d recommend the book, but I will acknowledge that it takes some homework time to really gain any significance from it.

To really get the most out of Strengths Finder 2.0, you must purchase a new copy of the book (or a book that has an unused access code for their website). The book really is only supplemental, and I felt like it was almost like a sales pitch for their web program to examine individuals strengths. The majority of the learning I accomplished seemed to come from using their Clifton Strengths Finder. This is basically an assessment that attempts to help you discover what strengths and assets you have have though choosing answers on a web based form.

I did find the results to be valuable, and informative. I also really appreciated hearing about a strengths perspective from a different source (i.e. not just about mental health, but seeing the value in the business / personal life). It’s been an interesting couple of months reading (don’t worry, it didn’t take me a couple of months to finish this book, as it’s quite small). I’ve also been reading Plato’s The Republic. While I haven’t finished, I hope to within the next couple of weeks, so you can look forward to a review of that book too. But to give you a small look forward, I’ve been amazed how many theories and modern ideas are espoused in Plato’s work, including strengths perspective.

Pasco Discovery Coalition Logo Ideas

Posted on Sunday April 22, 2012 by Jacob Campbell.

I am very lucky at my job, to be able to be a part of a some community organizing. I have started to be involved with meetings associated with the Pasco Discovery Coalition. I’ve just started, so I am very much in the learning phase of participating in their coalition, but I believe it will be a valuable learning experience. While we were at our last meeting, they had mentioned that somebody was working on a website for them, and it got me thinking about a logo. Teresa (the current co-chair) described that she has been using geese flying in a “V” formation as their logo. She said that it was based on how birds will have different birds fly as the lead bird at different times, and how much better they are are able to fly together.

Nobody had asked me to make a Logo, and I am not even sure if they really need one, but I like pushing myself and learning a little bit more about graphic design, so I decided to throw some of these designs out there. I wouldn’t call any of them finished products, but it was interesting for me to work on. Some of them I like, some of them I don’t (I posted all of them, so you could see my design process).

PDC Logo Option 1 PDC Logo Option 2 PDC Logo Option 3 PDC Logo Option 4 PDC Logo Option 5 PDC Logo Option 6
My gallery of photos used for potential ideas of PDC Logos

How’s Your Mental Efficiency, a Review of Arnold Bennett’s Book

Posted on Monday February 13, 2012 by Jacob Campbell.

Arnold Bennett's book cover of Mental Efficiency Arnold Bennett’s book cover of Mental Efficiency

My mom and I have a long tradition of listening to books on tape (well, really I guess they were CD’s mostly) when we would travel. When Minnie and I were driving back from Olympia this weekend, we continued this tradition. We listened to Mental efficiency, and other hints to men and women by Arnold Bennett. Really, I think it is more of a collection of essays, but he has proven to be a timeless writer even with more than 100 years between its first being published and now.

Arnold Bennett was an English journalist and author who died in March of 1931. He wrote on a great number of different topics, and at least with this edition, his very British sense of humor is displayed magnificently.

The book starts out with an article he wrote about mental efficiency, asking readers how we can train our minds similarly to how we would train our bodies. He then includes some of their own responses along with his own proposal for rectifying mental degradation. He even gives some specific, as he calls them, mental calisthenics. These include writing a diary, writing a journal, contemplating about deep issues, reading and responding to what we have read (a part of why I figured that I should respond to this work in particular), and other activities. The rest of the book seems to be taken up with his own contemplation of some of life’s own issues. These issues pertain to marriage, success, books, and contemplation.

Bennett’s chapter on books was interesting. He spent a considerable amount of time discussing the degradation of personal libraries due to cheap re-prints of books. This section made me laugh as I had downloaded a free version of his book to listen too, the ultimate in cheap re-prints of books.

His section on success was also particularly interesting. As he did throughout his book, he used a number of partially well put together analogies to give thought to his points. He described one form of success as though it was through a game of roulette. This is a description that I find highly beneficial. He argued his case only a very small minority obtained acclaimed success due strictly to talent. While he did not directly relate this to the mentality of pulling oneself up by their bootstraps, I find it apt at arguing the same point. In my field of work, this is something that I frequently see. The fact that many people are trying to make it, but it’s really often times like a game of roulette whether or not they make it.

All in all, I would say that it is a good and timely read. It is a book that you can download for free from Gutenberg Project or even find a free audio book download as I did.

2012 Have a Heart for Kids Day

Posted on Saturday February 11, 2012 by Jacob Campbell.

Writing Letters to my Representatives during Children's Alliances' Have a Heart for Kids Day. Writing Letters to my Representatives during Children’s Alliances’ Have a Heart for Kids Day.

It has been a busy couple of weeks at work. I’ve been burning the midnight oil the last couple of weeks. We’ve had lots of changes happening at our agency. We’ve had three case managers change their positions in the last couple of months. My case load has increased by about 20 clients, with new ones being add almost daily it seems. I’ve been doing a lot of intakes at the Juvenile for my work, which has been good but also busy.This weekend, I got the opportunity to attend my fourth annual Have A Heart for Kids Day. I’ve been searching through my blog posts from previous years, trying to find out if I’ve written about my experiences for Have a Heart for Kids Day before, but I was unable to find anything.

It all started in the first year of my BASW program while I was at Eastern. Every year for a while, the EWU Social Work program used to bring a group of students to participate in Children’s Alliances’ Lobby Day, named “Have a Heart for Kids Day.” They would bring us up in a bus or van, put us up in the Governor Hotel. The next morning we would go to The United Churches of Olympia’s facility right next to the capital building. There we would have some key note speaker who would talk about Children’s Alliance, a legislative advocacy group for children in Washington. We would break up into workshops and hear more in-depth about some of that year’s legislative issues around children. We would talk about effective advocating to our legislators. We would then march to the capitol steps and chanting and hold signs. After the march, we would break up and go and give letters and try to talk to our legislators. It’s always been a pretty great event.

Last year after getting back from South America, I had called up the School of Social Work, and made plans to meet up with them there. I ended up Couch Surfing for the first night, then staying in a motel the second night due to the pass being closed with snow.

This year, Minnie and I decided to go ourselves. I tried to connect with the EWU students, but I’m not sure if they went this year. It was a powerful experience, as usual. I ended up having a early morning meeting with Senator Jerome Delving.

Being so close to Puyallup, we also went to Minnie’s sister’s house and got to stay with them. It was a pretty great experience.

Not a New Year’s Resolution… But I Think a Start

Posted on Sunday January 15, 2012 by Jacob Campbell.

 Not a monster. A graphic I took as  a coloring page . I imported it into Adobe Illustrator and turned it into a paint area and painted it. Not a monster. A graphic I took as a coloring page . I imported it into Adobe Illustrator and turned it into a paint area and painted it.

I’ve been told a number of times that I should write a book. When I tell people about my hopes and dreams, I often list a great number of things. Things like get my Ph.D., start a commune (ask me about this, I like talking about it), starting a private practice, teaching at a university (I did do this when I was in Peru, but I want to teach Social Work or something equivalent), being a keynote speaker, traveling more, starting my own non-profit… etc. Writing a / some book(s) is always on that list.

When people have told me that I should write a book, they are always talking about something related to my dad and my story related to him and my struggles (sometimes about my travel adventures too). I guess I’ve always figured that I would do something equivalent, but not really until further in the future. When I have thought about writing a book about my dad (Charles Rodman Campbell, you can read my story), I’ve imagined it more focused on my life. A couple of months ago, was thinking about this and started imagining it differently.

I tend to always have to have a title for something before I can really start writing it, at least that was my experience at University. The working title that I have come up with for my book would be something similar to “Not a Monster: The Story of a Convicted and Executed Murder.”

My perspective has changed a little bit. I’d like to write a book that connects more to my father’s life. I think this a powerful way to tell the story. I’ve watched a couple of seasons of Dexter, and really enjoy it as a series. The premise of the story is about a serial killer who works for the police department as a blood spatter analyst, but really is himself a serial killer. He only kills those who have killed themselves. A funny thing happens as you watch Dexter. He becomes the hero, and somebody that you come to love. I remember being blown away by how much you can be rooting for the bad guy (most people would say that a serial killer is a bad guy. There are several other series’ that do something similar (another good one is Breaking Bad) and books (for example Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, which I want to read but haven’t yet).

I guess as I’ve been thinking about my dad, I’m wanting to do something like this. To tell his story in a way that recognizes how heinous his crimes were, but that comes to appreciate the person that he was. I never thought of my father as a killer or somebody bad (even though we didn’t always get along). He was always just my dad and somebody that I loved. I’d like to share that perspective with the world.

I also think that it will be a really great way for me to know more about my dad. Many of my memories are flawed and missing information. As my mom, Minnie and I were driving back from visiting family last week, we spent a lot of the car ride talking about my dad. The memories of a young child aren’t very reliable, and I’d like to know more about my dad’s past and who he was. I think that other people would find it to be a compelling story. I’m hoping to be able to talk to some of my family on my dad’s side. I don’t know very many people on his side. It has been interesting over the years, because I’ve been contacted by many people who knew my dad through this website. This book might give me a good opportunity to follow up with them.

Let me know what you think.

I Dream of Christmas

Posted on Tuesday December 27, 2011 by Jacob Campbell.

The Best Christmas Light in the Tri-Cities The Best Christmas Light in the Tri-Cities

This Christmas Holiday has been pretty amazing. It was chocked full of all kinds of fun adventures. You can check out my The Nowell 2011 Story Facebook Album or Minnie’s Untitled Facebook Album.

We got to go to the Christmas Party for Elijah Family Homes. We got to see some old friends and meet new people. We even got take a picture with Santa Clause. It was a good event. It gives everybody connected with Elijah Family Homes the ability to meet each other. They have a big dinner, games / crafts for kids, and give all the family presents. It also gives possible new family referrals meet everybody.

Other than agency parties, giving gifts is another important part of Christmas. Some other clinician at my Nueva Esperanza all referred clients to Bethel Church for their Operation Christmas Child. I got to play Santa, and deliver the presents for my clients. The company van was so full; I had to make two trips.

Minnie and I spent Thursday driving around and looking at lights. For both Thursday and Friday we drove around looking at the Christmas Light Displays listed on the Tri-City Harold. My favorite wasn’t listed in the Harold, was a house that I enjoy checking out every year in Richland. Not only do they have a great light display, but they put up thousands of figurines. After some hot coco and driving looking at lights we found our way to the Cathedral of Joy’s 2011 Living Nativity.

An interpretation of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, represented as a pyramid with the more basic needs at the bottom, the image is taken from the  Wikipedia entry. An interpretation of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, represented as a pyramid with the more basic needs at the bottom, the image is taken from the Wikipedia entry.

Friday we went to church (http://www.eastlaketricities.com/). They decided to have church on “Christmas Adam” (i.e. The day before Christmas Eve). They said that they didn’t want to have church on Christmas Eve or Christmas so everybody could spend it with family and friends. They’ve also canceled church for next weekend. Our pastor said that it would go against what the church was trying to do. He said that we are focused on reaching the unchurched. He said that he didn’t know any of his friends that don’t go to church that he could pay enough to come to church New Year’s Day.

Saturday and Sunday we went back and forth between Prosser and Richland visiting Minnie and my parents…

As we were driving around looking at all the lights, it made me think about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I was thinking about how many people are working on their basic needs (i.e. food, shelter, food, security) while there are so many people who don’t even have to (or want to in most cases) think about those things.

The 2011 Holiday Newsletter for Jacob & Minnie

Posted on Saturday December 24, 2011 by Jacob Campbell.

The head section of our 2011 Christmas Newsletter. The head section of our 2011 Christmas Newsletter.

Monday, the 19th of December 2011

Dear Friends & Family,

2011 has been a year of new beginnings for both Minnie and I. While neither of us has ever sent out a Christmas Newsletter, we thought (although Minnie usually sends cards and I generally don’t do anything) that you might enjoy it.

Minnie and I were both in different places a year ago; a lot has changed for both of us. Probably one of the biggest changes is that we have moved in together, at the Timber’s Apartments in Richland. Most recently Minnie will be taking classes from Heritage at Columbia Basin College’s campus in Pasco. She is a year closer to getting her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and I’m a year closer to get my licensure to be a licensed independent clinical social worker. I started working more often with kids incarcerated at the Juvenile Detention in Kennewick. Minnie is still working for the Sunnyside School District, but she changed school to be working at Washington Elementary but she still misses her little goobers at Outlook Elementary.

Minnie and I with Santa. Minnie and I with Santa.

We’ve both been living and laughing a lot. Minnie spent the fourth of July with good friends camping on the Oregon coast. Spent good times with friends, went for her first hike in Wenatchee, and rediscovered herself on the beach. I was making trips back and forth to Spokane, still feeling a little culture shock from having returned from my jaunt down to South America, having fun with friends, and trying to get more stable.

For both of us the biggest story has been us meeting each other. We started going to Eastlake Church. We’ve been volunteering at My Friends Place. Along with our friend Charlie tried to give survival kits to kids on the only super snowy day yet this year, driving around trying to find any kids outside to tell them all about the new homeless shelter. Spending Thanksgiving with both of our families worked out beautifully. We spent some time with my mom and extended family and some time with Minnie’s family and we even found time to accidentally explore Aberdeen (Kirk Cobain’s home town and where his ashes were laid to rest).

Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Years! We hope all is well with you and your family. We would love to talk to you or spend some time with you. Let us know how your life has been going. Come check out our new apartment.

God Bless,
Jacob & Minnie

A Look into Joining the Irresistible Revolution

Posted on Sunday December 4, 2011 by Jacob Campbell.

I have been making a determined effort as of late, to push myself to read more. I try to spend some time in the morning reading my devotional (My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers) and my bible first thing in the morning with my morning coffee, news, and cigarette (yeah, I know that isn’t conventionally acceptable to say at church and my mom keeps telling me I need to quit). I have also been reading at night before going to sleep. It’s been a great habit for me to get into. The latest book that I have finished has been The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an ordinary radical by Shane Claiborne (2006).

I might add, that by just finished I mean as in this morning unlike Mitt Romney is chided by Jon Stewart, see video below. There have been a couple of books which I feel have been very transformational to me. In reading Claiborne’s book, I think that it will fit into that category. The back of the book describes the book as being invited into a movement which begins in our hearts and extends though our hands into a broken world. They say that this book with both “comfort the disturbed, and disturb the comfortable.” I will say as I have been comfortable, I have been disturbed some by my comfort through this book.

One of my co-workers, Jamie, gave me a copy of this book. She suggested as we have talked about purposeful communities and communal living. The idea of community and communal living is something that I have scribed on my heart and something I have longed for. Since being in the Master’s Commission I can remember talking to people about wanting “to start my own commune” (I often phrase it like that to see what type of reaction I will get out of people). While it is not in the scope of this post to lay out the vision that I have (and it’s not to start a cult, so don’t worry) I will try to spend some time not just talking about it, but I will write it so that you can read about it too.

Claiborne is one of the founding members of The Simple Way, as they describe it on their website “The Simple Way is a web of subversive friends, conspiring to spread the vision of ‘Loving God, Loving People, and Following Jesus’ in our neighborhoods and in our world.” It is communal living that happens in Philadelphia.

I think one of the reasons that the book disturbed me so much (in a good way) was because of the issues that it touched on. Claiborne seems to sum up their movement as the following:

We are just trying to discover a new (ancient) kind of Christianity. We are about spreading a way of life that exists organically and relationally and is marked by such a brilliant love and grace that no one could resist it. – Page 348

Book Cover of Shane Claiborne's The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical (2006). Book Cover of Shane Claiborne’s The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical (2006).

While this is simple he discusses how this relates to parts of our life in way’s I hadn’t thought of before. He describes in real terms what it means to love our enemies and gives the strongest case for non-violence I’ve read so far. He described what it means to live with and love the poor. When I’ve thought of being in a community, it didn’t change my desire to still be a part of the middle class even though I’ve always thought the community should be located in the ghetto. He describes about whether or not he should have health care (when people around him aren’t able to afford it). He describes about church tithes and how the church shouldn’t be using the majority of their funds to pay for buildings or for workers but should be giving to those in need. All differences in topics I haven’t taken time to critically think about.

I would highly suggest the book. I will say that it is very Christian oriented, but even if you aren’t a believer and are what he Claiborne describes as an activist I think it would be a great read. You can find it on Google Books and Amazon or their own website.The other thing that it made me hungry for was a difference in my profession. I love my clients that I work with, but I have been becoming fed up with the bureaucracy that is present to work in mental health. I long for living and working in ways that he describes. He describes that their daily living looks like the following.

It’s a little easier to describe an ‘average’ week. We have prayer each morning (at 8am). Then we dive into days that are filled with things like hanging with friends in the neighborhood or folks living on the streets, helping kids with homework, and helping folks get to appointments. We’ve got some lovely gardens and a little neighborhood thrift store. Most of us work jobs part-time and that frees us up to do other stuff we don’t get paid to do, but love. Activities and programs change from time to time, but we share food with lots of families, and try to be good neighbors. We have dinners together each week, and we have a Sabbath one day each week where everything rests. There are times where we have other things that grab our attention around some of the systemic injustices around us. Right now we are working hard to end gun violence on our streets, and to create some local jobs and more stable housing for folks. It’s not always sexy. In fact, we had some visitors that lived here for a week, and at the end of it we asked them what they learned. They said, ‘We learned it’s not that spectacular, and that we can do this right where we are.’ That’s a good word. – The Simple Way’s FAQ’s Page

It made me hungry to not be worried about if my productivity is high enough or if I’m meeting my timelines for meeting with clients. To just be free to do what comes up and what needs are present. To not be worried if my clients know each other and their confidentiality might be broken. To not have to call them my clients, but to be a friend to those in need, not just a worker. I recently told one of my co-workers that I think if I got laid off it would be a good thing. Then I could go and do something more radical. Maybe join the occupy movement or something.