Trevor Youngberg | Episode 349
Trevor Youngberg is a wood-fire potter from Woodbridge, CT. Trevor teaches High School Ceramics and has woven his passion for clay and teaching into the fabric of his life as a family man, potter, and community member. By employing ceramics as a vehicle for creating uplifting and meaningful shared group experiences, Trevor managed to continue developing as a potter while including students, friends, neighbors, and fellow potters in the varied activities that encircle the making of wood-fired wares.
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When you think about building relationships what is one of the key factors for making a life that is built around quality relationships?
Developing a sense of trust with others, being open to others, being open to opportunities, also in a sense being able to meet folk sometimes meet them where they need to be. Having a sense of how people carry themselves, their tone of voice and their approaches and just make them feel welcome. Highlight people’s best qualities and diminish challenges they might be facing.
Do you target people to be able to build relationships with?
I don’t target people at all. I have relied solely on word of mouth but for the most part, I am thinking of the firing crew particularly. There are always a few former students that have continued to work in clay that are a part of it. There are some friends and then comes in friends of friends. So it sort of develops naturally like any group of friends may. Most recently we have been getting a few potters from the local clay centers that have been in touch. Nope, just trying to create an environment that is worth talking about so people will be drawn to it.
Do you ever have to draw the line when people do not know proper boundaries?
Yes. That happens on occasion. I think of myself as a friend and fellow potter but because it is all taking place at my home and all that, once in awhile I need to take on more of a leadership role. There has been a couple of incidences where I have had to ask people to either calm down or maybe just step away for a little bit. Never once have I ever taken it to a point where someone really feels bad or turns back on me or anything. I try to present it so people understand that maybe they need to be a little bit more respectful of others or things along those lines. That kind of thing has not cropped up as of late but anytime you welcome others to a place once in awhile there is going to be some challenges.
How do you be a good friend?
By being a good friend I think one of the most important things is really truly listening. When people speak they want to be heard and they want to be listened to. So I try to make a point to just be there for my friends and not only through listening but sharing. What I have I share with others. I am really careful not to attach any sort of strings to anything that I share with others because that makes people indebted to you and that’s no fun to feel as if you are indebted to someone. So when you give you give from the heart. So when you have that kind of attitude things come back to you as well. I feel very blessed and thankful for the relationships in my life.
What about being a dad? How do you be a good dad?
Being a good dad is a really challenging and awesome responsibility and I’ve become such a better person through that process. Taking time out, putting ideas, creative ideas and responsibilities aside and listening, being present. Taking time out. Even just last night we had a little camp night in the backyard in a tent with the kids. We did a fire and roasted hot dogs and s’mores. Then I realized the kids go to bed at eight and they can’t go to sleep out by themselves so I am probably going to bed around then too. So doing a little preparation and making small sacrifices here and there, sometimes large ones, but being a good dad is being yourself. I knew before I had kids that I really had to have my career in order and be happily occupied in my job in order to really have the peace of mind and presence to be a good husband and father. So I just couldn’t stand the idea of having a job I disliked.
How do you be a good husband?
Being a good husband is doing those things we love together and taking the time out for one another. Realizing that our role as parents is really important for our commitment to one another. We are together for life and we are doing our best to enjoy every bit of it we can. Doing our best to support one another, listen and grow together.
What would be your perfect day?
Getting up early. Spending some time with my kids in the morning. Heading out to the barn area and maybe having a couple of potter buddies come over and do a little project maybe in preparation for the next firing. Getting our heads together on something creative. Have my kids and wife come out and see what’s going on and help out a little bit. Then spending time with family, whether it is my own family or extended family that lives in the area. Just being surrounded by people that I love really. With a little creativity sprinkled in there with a little productivity and a little bonding. That’s about as good as it gets.