Your Soul Food Friday for Feb 5th 2016: 21st Century Real-World Education, Photos that Need No Words, Movement BE, Restoring Innovation and Creativity in Education & Executive Thinking

Happy Soul Food Friday!

 This week:

21st Century Real-World Education, Photos that Need No Words, Movement BE, Restoring Innovation and Creativity in Education & Executive Thinking

Standing baby

21st Century Real-World Education: The Age of Humanity & Humility Restored- Reflections on the Youth Success Week in Oceanside 2016

Where Common Sense is Uncommon Practice, & Simple Doesn’t Mean Easy…

4 Years ago, in 2012 a previous leap year, Steve Farber, bestselling author and speaker  along with myself and a lot of help from our friends, some of whom are recidivists on this leg of the journey, connected 880 parents, educators and civic leaders together on the USS Midway aircraft carrier in San Diego to Re-Energize Education.

4 years later in 2016 another leap year, we find ourselves, with your help “sparking” (a nod to Sparky/Helice Bridges of Difference Makers International) another LEAP in education. This time however, it is not just about academic/traditional education, but about educating the whole-person. This time it is not just about students. It is about all of us, all of humanity. Life-long learning is not optional anymore. As Marlaine Cover of Parenting 2.0 the largest parenting site on Linked-In would say it is part of the mandatory curriculum in Life Skills 101!

Why this and why now…

By any measure, as a species we are simply not living up to our potential. In this context, I don’t mean academically or vocationally but with respect to unleashing our talent, serving each other, and making the world better than we entered it.

We seem to have lost our way in this proverbial race to the top. To the top of what I ask? To the top of the largest number of people experiencing loneliness, alienation & depression? To the top score for inequality; boasting the biggest divide between the haves and have nots in human history? Maybe to the top of business with leaders and captains of industry willing to make unethical and value-extractive decisions in the name of the profit motive and self-interest? Or perhaps the top of political leaders, striving to be prophets in their own land, and willing to use fear (false evidence appearing real) and fascist rhetoric not heard since Hitler got standing ovations in the ‘30s to curry favor and attention, seek power and feed their ambition addiction? What does this say about the civic leaders we have matriculated and are cultivating in schools today? What does this portend about the future? Did we get the facts and figures right but miss the real lesson? Has education failed us? Have we failed ourselves?

Your political views, history, cultural conditions and personal choices might find you disagreeing vehemently with me on some of the aforementioned, it is thankfully a free country, but here is something we might all agree on…

If you are like 99% of us, you are stressed. Stress is the #1 epidemic in most of the world, costing us billions in both hard costs and human consequences. We have traded false formulations of success (counterfeit correlation) for our happiness, wellbeing and fulfillment both as individuals and as a community. It is almost as if we have forgotten what it means to be human. Have we really lost touch with our humanity? What is going on?

“Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure!”

Some of us are empowered as hell and not going to take it anymore. It is time for another renaissance, another dawn of age of humanity. We need a new prescription, but since prescription without diagnosis is malpractice, let’s look a little further before treating the condition, or focusing on the symptom and not the system…

Changing the Focus: Historically in education, we have foregrounded school work striving for A’s in Academics and Achievement and privileged the Intelligence Quotient (IQ). But times have changed and we haven’t kept up. In today’s conceptual era (CQ), as we prepare both our students and ourselves for the innovation economy, or what some call the imagination economy, it is time for us, not just our kids to do more homework. Here I am not speaking of homework- conventionally thought of school work we do at home- but real-world work enhancing emotional intelligence (EQ), social intelligence (SQ) and (CQ) to create human beings able to effectively navigate and advance civil society, where character matters as much or more than competency.

Today getting straight A’s is a compulsory matter of practicing Attention, Awareness, Appreciation and Affirmation. It is time to stop seeing the role of education as putting important stuff into the brains of students, rather to switch our focus to pulling the genius that is already within out as Educator par Excellence Starla Lewis reminds us!

Reversing the Lens: An Inversion of Consciousness

The root of the word education is ‘educare’; to look at things from diverse points of view. Youth Success Week, is the coming out party for the Community Alliance for Youth Success (CAYS) founded by Steadman Graham  and Bobbi DePorter and an amazing Advisory Board (see the complete list at the end of this piece), along with The Oceanside Promise,

All this ignited by the vision and commitment of Oceanside born and raised Superintendent Dr. Duane Coleman, , powerfully supported through the inspired leadership of so many and whose work and words I reflect and refract here, flipped not only my switch but my orientation to both examining the issues as well as scouting and paving the path forward.

Convention and Counter-convention:

We talk about how hard it is raising kids. That is because we are working on the wrong job! The real work and focus should be on raising a parent, one that comes with no training manual, little experience, where parents are capable only of modeling and teaching what they have learned and therefore a role in dire need of remediation, accommodation and assistance. Dr. Ken Druck’s work in this regard, not to mention his international contributions as an expert in transforming adversity into opportunity is a beacon to a new and upgraded operating system for parent-ing- and kid-ding J

We think the issue is the kids. However, the real epiphany is recognizing our limits as parents & educators. What is the environment I am creating, and the mindset I am basing my work on? It takes introspection and humility to recognize that I must take accountability for my choices and actions, and that there are no resistant recipients, there are only inflexible communicators.

As much as bullying totally sucks, it represents real world homework for both parties to improve their emotional literacy. Problems and horrific disasters as a result of bullying result because we don’t give and do enough emotional literacy homework. We are too busy doing the academic stuff to get into the best school, so the school of hard knocks gets forgotten and then hits us upside the head and heart…

As much as teenage drama can get thoroughly exhausting, it represents an opportunity to do our real world homework in social literacy. All the world is indeed a stage and here we can act out and act on the skills that will build this hugely important muscle, if we want to make a difference in the conceptual era. “OMG, put down your selfie and re-orient to we instead of me, s’il vous plait!!”, or it doesn’t matter how many languages you speak, you are culturally challenged…

Sadly, you are only a kid, and then a young adult, for just a short time, and then relegated to adult status for the rest of your life. Yet instead of celebrating childhood, we lament that “youth is wasted on the young”, then do our best to steal it from them with developmentally inappropriate expectations, forcing them to grow up, catch-up, over-extend, over-schedule, all over-tired. Savvy youth such as Drew Kesslin proud teacher of dad Larry demand to experience and preserve their youth for as long as they can, and luckily for her, Drew’s parents “get it”.

Time steals our youth fast enough. Why are we buying into and contributing to this forced acceleration? What if the opposite reality became the norm and you were only an adult-in-training for just a short time, and then rightly trained and equipped, your youthful attitude, zest for life, belief in the impossible, & focus on the positive were the longest season of your life cycle during your short time on earth?

Kindness is NOT weakness

Busy is a false indicator of us doing work of importance

Sleep deprivation is a lousy indicator or your amazing ambition. If you can’t make time to sleep, what you are really saying is you can’t make time for creativity, the alternation of activity and rest, and the opportunity to be your best self.

Convention is in dire need of an intervention!

It is time to Re-Imagine His-tory and Her-story

It is time to get real, find your smile, and rekindle our humanness perhaps by learning from the dolphins as Dr. Shimi Kang, author of the bestselling “The Dolphin Parent” and its poignant principles suggest.

Enliven your P.O.D.

P: Play more. This is a prescription Dr. King prescribes with equal efficacy to antidepressants or other medicines

O: Others are important. Make connectedness count. We are social creatures. Loneliness is today’s smoking when it comes to health risks. Are you a pack a day isolate?

D: Downtime matters. Our lives are way too fast-paced and just as elite athletes needs the oscillation of intense training with rest and stretching, you do too. Take more breaks and experience more breakthroughs!

Children learn what they live

You are brilliant, powerful, limitless, love and boundless

I AM in the positive

Shoulder to shoulder, not face to face we can change our world

Celebrate the moments no one will ever know, when you best self showed up!

You wanted one day, in your wildest dreams to be WITH the greatest people on the planet. Little did you know that one day YOU would be ONE OF THEM!

There are so many others to honor and esteem doing this transformative work for the greater good. Please look them up, learn about their work and support them.

They could well change your life!

CAYS Organizing Committee: 

Stedman Graham, Stedman and Associates CEO and CAYS co-founder

Bobbi DePorter, LFI President and CAYS co-founder; President of Quantum Learning Network

Luisa Csathy, Founder, Giving Tree Movement

Dr. Ken Druck, Founder, Jenna Druck Center

Steve Farber, CEO and Speaker, Extreme Leadership

Neville Billimoria, SVP and Chief Advocacy Officer, Mission Federal Credit Union

Helice Bridges, CEO and Founder, Difference Makers International

Starla Lewis, CEO, C.E.L.L

Marlaine Cover, President, The Global Presence

Tia Ross, CEO, Motivating the Teen Spirit

Marcy Morrison, Career Coach

Lisette Omoss, Community Volunteer, Realtor, Photographer

John Cotter, Speaker, Community Activist, Career Educator

With support from so many including my friends:

Robert MacPhee

Larry Kesslin

Look into my eyes. Thanks for helping me find my smile…



  1. Thanks to my wife Barbara for teaching me what it is to be a better human being!

“The purpose of life is not to be happy.  It is to be useful, to be
honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have
lived and lived well.”
 – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sometimes Photos need no words…

Movement BE:

At the Community Alliance for Youth Success event


Restoring Innovation and Creativity in American Education:

This NPR clip on Most Likely to Succeed is thought provoking as we explore the future of education…

Executive Thinking and Behaving

Eric helps all leaders think differently about the whole system, not just about (enlightened) self-interest or one’s area

Thanks this week go to the CAYS team, Larry H, John C, Eric K, and whole person educators who see a different future everywhere!

“The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence.” –RABINDRANATH TAGORE


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