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Tyler Bastian is an educator, filmmaker, father, and founder of Roots Charter High School. Tyler loves to teach and has a passion for discovering and developing potential in everything around him. For four years, Tyler taught Character Education at a local high school and believes positive character is the greatest indicator of success. In 2012, Tyler began to develop the concepts that have become Roots—Utah’s first farm-based charter high school—where educators work with students who come from risky environments, helping them find and reach their potential.
02:00 Kurt introduces Tyler Bastian.
03:45 Tyler talks about why started the charter school and his backstory.
08:00 How do you begin to teach character development?
09:30 How Tyler was able to start a charter school
11:20 Tyler shares the mission that he has with Roots.
12:50 The type of students Roots charter school aims to help. Most of the kids are there because their previous school wasn’t working for them.
14:00 How do you run an organization based on hope and love? If you are going to lead someone, you have to love them or it won’t work.
19:30 Tyler shares ways that he instills love in the school. The students need to hear it, see it, and feel it. They have created visuals all over their school.
21:30 Tyler shares a personal experience that he had with a student and how he was able to show love and help a student confess that they wanted to take their life.
23:00 Helping the students feel safe, loved, and protected is more important than trying to fix their behavior.
27:30 If you want a kid to feel safe, call them by name. The number one thing that you can do as a youth leader is learn every kid’s name in your ward.
29:50 Create safety by not having disputes. We have disputes because we are holding on to things and not having hard conversations. Create safety by having hard conversations.
31:45 You have to have a healthy community before you can be a healthy ward. Do you know your neighbor’s names? Can you go to them to borrow something? Do your kids play with their kids?
33:15 The ward influences the community and vice versa. Tyler shares a personal story of doing a home visit with a student that was struggling. He lived across from the church but nobody knew about him.
37:00 In order to create a safe place we have to learn to be ok with political differences. Create a space where kids can say anything and by asking loving questions.
40:00 Showing authenticity instead of perfection is what the youth are looking for in an adult they can trust. Let them know that you’ve had to go to the bishop’s office to confess and get help too.
41:30 Tyler’s charter school focuses on a smaller number of kids. Knowing each student. One loving adult can change a kid’s life.
47:45 Tyler knows each student and tries to interact with each one but the students also have an advisor that does one on one meetings with them.
50:00 In our culture we say that you have to receive love to survive. However, the philosopher Andrew de Mello says that you have to give love to survive. It’s not about receiving but about giving. Our job is not to be loved but our job is to love.
53:00 Tyler works with a lot of struggling students that have been through a lot. He describes how he shows them the school is a safe place and builds trust with them.
55:20 How can youth leaders take the principles that Tyler teaches and apply it to their own youth groups? The leader’s job is culture. They need to create visuals.
1:02:00 What if the student’s home life isn’t good? What can you do?
1:06:30 Resources that Tyler recommends. Check out his Instagram.
1:08:00 How being a leader has made him a better follower of Jesus Christ.
Bonds That Make Us Free
Roots High School
Tyler on Instagram: @teach_243
Tyler’s documentary film: Everything is Incredible
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This is the best podcast I have heard–not on Leading Saints… ANYWHERE. So impressed with Tyler and his Christlike-love approach to these kids. So many takeaways from this episode, and spurred so many thought of my own. Thank you Kurt for creating so much excellent content!
I really loved this episode. There was one part that had me a little bit uncomfortable. Tyler was talking about emphasizing the importance of the symbolic nature of the bishop’s office and how meaningful it is when a bishop pats someone on the shoulder. There is already such a power disparity between the bishop and other “high” offices of leadership in the priesthood and regular members, especially women and girls. I don’t think drawing attention to that disparity and injecting significance into every mundane thing a bishop does is a healthy way to approach things when that disparity is already felt by so many members. Other than that small section, I learned so much. I have already committed to seeking our neighbors I don’t know well and learning more of the names of members of our ward.
Catherine, it is important to take Tyler’s comment about the bishop’s office in the broader context of leading with this Christlike love that he kept emphasizing. If the bishop truly loves the congregation in the same manner that Tyler loves his students (which is FAR more than words… or even a friendly affection… it’s an understanding and unconditional acceptance), then the congregants would be far more comfortable with the tactics he mentioned. That’s because they would not be non-authentic tactics–they would be extensions of that true love. People would FEEL it. The whole point is to make people comfortable being vulnerable with the bishop because of the environment and atmosphere he has created. Sadly, this is extremely rare in church leadership… thankful for resources like that to spur us all to be better!
So I live in the Midwest and our ward is one of the few wards that has a ward action plan. You referenced the vague statement of “we bring people to Christ”. And the question is how are you doing that. What daily actions, or weekly actions are you doing to accomplish that. So our ward established this…Pray daily for your friends, including non member friends. And your prayer isn’t “I pray for them to join the church”. You pray for their needs, their sorrows etc. Then invite non members into your home at least 1 x a month. Not to meet the missionaries, not to preach the gospel, but to get to know them and build quality relationships. Then if they notice a picture of the temple in your home or something else you can talk about it. But the goal is fellowship, not conversion. Then yearly, or however often you get asked….invite at least 3 people to hear you speak at church. It normal to ask for support from friends. Ask them to support your efforts by coming to listen to you speak. These are easy actionable items. They work, and it spreads love. I loved listening to this podcast. Thank you!!!