It all began with my theme story: living with a disability. In the 2nd year theology exams I selected the focal point “Disabilities“, within the framework of ethics studies. This forced me to take a critical look at my experiences from the viewpoints of theory and theology. At the time, the decision for this particular focal point was of a purely tactical nature – I was pretty certain I’d receive a top mark.
Through my activities at the paedagogical Theological Institute in Bonn and due to my experiences as an athlete, two further disciplines were added: Motivation and Learning and Assistance and Leadership (social competence).
The substance of my presentations and seminars differ depending on the participants (every seminar and presentation is different).
The topics below are examples of previously held presentations/seminars.
I use several inspirational analogies from professional sport to demonstrate when and why people produce supreme performances.
Rather handicapped than a poor devil
Having a disability is one thing ... how you deal with it is another all together. If one comes to terms with a disability or not depends on two things:
Firstly, the people that surround you and their behaviour towards you, and how they react to your disability.
Secondly, your attitude. My disability has not changed through the course of my life but my attitude towards it definitely has.
I’ll be pleased to share with you why my disability hasn’t caused my attitude to be that of a poor devil.
I (don’t) believe in miracles! – how are biblical miracles to be understood?
„And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; ... and he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightaway his ears were opened and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.“ (Mark 7,32+35)
Jesus cured sick and disabled people as we can read in the evangelisms. How are these stories to be interpreted? Are the laws of nature being undone in these chapters? Are sick and disabled people unwelcome in the kingdom of God? Is it worthwhile to pray for healing?
I wish to promote open-mindedness towards Jesus’ wonderful miracles with this lecture.
Human worth and dignity
Expecting parents stand before a difficult decision when a prenatal ultrasound reveals a problem: “Do we want this child? Will it be happy? Will it have a fulfilled life?” Elderly people now and then also say to themselves: “I’m of no use anymore ... I’d prefer to die.” (Sick) people can have the feeling too: “My life is no longer worthwhile.”
What is a life worth? Can one measure worth? If so, does life lose its worth then too? In other words: should we comply with the desire to end a life in the form of abortion or euthanasia?
In this lecture I explain my points of view to these ethical questions.
I’m capable of something and I’m someone – when people like to learn (the country is in need of new schooling)
Achievements (I’m capable of something) and recognition (I’m someone) are the most important reasons why people attempt to and succeed in conquering difficult challenges. They offer us moments of unparalleled happiness and deep satisfaction.
How, then, should a school be where learning is fun?
What content motivates? How important is the learning environment? Do we really need marks? Does competition and competitiveness motivate or obstruct learning?
Moving mountains – when people produce (top) performances
People are capable of the most amazing feats. Some can remember the order of 52 cards in no time flat while others plan and create building that take our breath away.
Some are astounded how I can play fore and backhand ... without any hands at all. It wasn’t something I learned overnight. It took a lot of practice and determination.
Top performances often only occur during our spare time. How is it possible (for me as the boss) to motivate employees to produce the best possible results? When is work fun? Does competition and competitiveness motivate or obstruct work?
My credo is the following: “People have a desire to excel, achievements spur them on and employees who are recognised often produce exceptional results.”
What role does the relationship to employees play and how important is a good working environment for improving the results of the employees. How do I foster the culture of achievement recognition in my company and why is this so important?
How do managers deal with the limits and shortcomings of employees? And how do I, as an employee, deal with my own shortcomings?
I use several impressive analogies from professional sport to demonstrate when and why people produce supreme performances.
How does being in a position of power affect me? (for care-givers working for the so-called disability assistance)
Those assisting people with mental disability are dealing with people that are highly dependent on the help of others.
At the same time self-determination, being handled with respect and individual freedom are values that employees would like to respect and realise.
How to I balance my responsibility of caring for the person while still realising my role as a person of authority so that both care-giver and receiver are satisfied with the relationship?
Grief counselling for people with a mental disability (for care-givers working for the so-called disability assistance)
People with mental disabilities experience grief intensively. They express their feelings and grief in a very personal way. The assistant is posed with the question of how he or she can succeed in listening, sympathising and valuing what the dependent is trying to express when the care-giver has difficulty understanding them?
Content and goals:
Biographical reflection: my experience with dying and grief.
Knowledge about the different phases of grief and dealing with it.
Rituals: discovering and using them sensibly.