purpose Tag

What Pablo Picasso can teach us about character.

“When I don’t have red, I use blue.” — Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso was a painter, sculptor, designer and the founder of Cubism. His lasting influence on modern art is indisputable. His famous Blue Period lasted from 1901-1904 and is characterized by a monochromatic color scheme saturated with blue tones. Here is his most famous work during his Blue Period: The Old Guitarist.

At first, these somber, depressing paintings of cabaret performers, beggars, and frail, old people were not well-received by critics or the public. But Picasso didn’t give up. He had the last laugh. The Old Guitarist is now worth $100 million.

B.Q. (Before Quarantine), one of my favorite ways I “painted with red” as the YF culture leader was to walk around our office and pop into people’s workspaces and chat. This in-person connection gave me energy, fuel and meaning. It also helped humanize our company culture. That red paint is no longer available. Working from home now, I need to “paint with blue” to connect with staff in virtual ways via zoom meetings, phone calls and brief, affirmational texts.

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I remember a student named Isaiah

At Youth Frontiers, it’s our mission to positively impact school communities through our retreats. One of the more wonderful parts of our job is that the same students we reach often impact us in turn. For our staff, these students and their stories are unforgettable. In this series, we remember them.


This year, on The Character Movement, we are trying something new. We’ll be delving into one of our retreat values each month, examining it on our blog and in our Character Challenges. This month’s theme is purpose.

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Ally Baker singing on the mic in front of a croud of kids at a Youth Frontiers retreat.

How I found — and am still finding — my purpose

I remember a specific conversation I had with my dad when I was a senior in high school. “I can’t wait to find out what my college major will be,” I said. “I can’t wait to know what I am supposed to do.” Supposed to do. That language perplexes me now.

Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Well, I have no recollection of the day I was born, but I have spent much of my life waiting for the second day to come, including the day I had that conversation with my dad. As I thought ahead to college, I remember feeling powerless, like my purpose was pre-determined. There was a correct answer for my own life and I had to find that correct answer.

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Teachers are torch-bearers of the future

By Joe Cavanaugh, Founder & CEO

You, Educators, are the best of us. It has been said, “In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something less, because passing civilization along from one generation to the next ought to be the highest honor and the highest responsibility anyone could have.”READ MORE

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