Monthly Archives: December 2016

Human Development Part Three…brain drizzles

This is one of what is (so far) a three-parter, information-sharing among folks working on a project. If you’ve stumbled in from the outside and can decipher where this is going, please join in! In a really big nutshell, this is about a movement to support human potential. Big enough for you?

PART ONE: Don’t Bogart That Vibe, My Friend  A high level look at a Human Development movement that started out as an alternative to traditional education and ballooned. How can we develop children if the parents don’t do the same?

PART TWO: Gonzo Ramblings Continued higher level look, with a little more detail.

PART THREE: brain drizzles.  More specific what’s, how-to’s, what if’s. Potential is unlimited but what is the FOCUS? OR….should there be no focus, let “it” grow organically? The danger: any time you over-structure a movement there’s a risk of formality creeping in that may choke creativity. Structure can lead to power plays and politics….grrrrr.

UNKNOWN, complicated as these things appear to vary state-to-state: are home schooled / un-schooled kids still required to perform against standard tests? What about college entrance exams? Do they still do the ACT / SAT routine?

Here is a solution that is long overdue with crazy college costs and inadequacy of an academic degree to helping people succeed as a happy therefore productive person in their life and in the workplace….

Paradigm Shift! No traditional curriculum can prepare someone for the specific responsibilities of a specific job. That’s what job training is for. A successful new hire must be capable of adapting and learning new things on the fly. They must know how to think, how to learn, how to cope and especially how to interact with others. Employers have finally admitted that “soft” skills are vital and that the talent pool is terribly developed in the social-emotional aspects.

College grads are academically educated but still woefully unprepared for the real world. Employers need to get over their obsession with “college degree required”. We can change that paradigm by showing consistently incredible “grads” who are above the curve in all aspects. Critical thinking skills, high capacity for learning new things, socially and emotionally well-developed and balanced, just “sharp” all the way around. Not to be a crude capitalist, but this is also a marketable differentiation for parents and learners. The Smart Alternative to traditional academics. I have a real aversion to these cutesy word games, but regular folks dig them. These are our deliverables (PLEASE help me with some better words…this is lame!):

Successful and satisfied

Meaningfully connected

Accepting of alternatives

Receptive to learning new things

Total package, whole-person development


Capacity to learn is driven by nimowashe-a Japanese bansai gardening practice, literally preparing the tree for planting-and the right approaches. Strengths-based to unlearning attributes; learner-directed and team / group activities;

Capability to learn comes from resources the learner has free and easy access to: technology, equipment, research materials, software, simulations, games for individual exploration.

Build Understanding and Support! New stuff is often perceived as “weird” and untouchable if it’s not mainstream, and experts tend to protect their expertise turf by cloaking their magic in mystical methods and terms. Not everyone can or will take a chance on doing these things on their own, without someone making it easier with information and assistance. So build a learning lab, awareness / knowledge builder and doing center. Eliminate the airy-fairy pixie dust and replace with liberal doses of WIIFM. Enable people to DO a little at a time through coaching, one-on-one mentoring when needed and workshops for parents and their children.

Prove it works with small successes and build momentum. Nothing delivers recognition, acceptance and growth like success and consistently exceptional results. Expect slow growth, be pleasantly surprised when it takes off. But even so, some people will not or cannot do this on their own. So there must be a solid support network and resources readily available.

Development Centers are adjunct early caregivers, and providers of continued learner development. Centers also provide guidance / information / resources to support DIY parents and other caregivers. Two main points of emphasis: (1) child development and (2) adult education with workshops and resources, open enrollment for parents and other adults not signed on with the center.

A Center is a physical and online resource that supports “whole-person development”…pre-natal through infancy, young learners through adult (all of us!) and seniors. Social / emotional (personal) and physical well-being. These are all elements of one big system, should be served systemically.

DO THE VISION THING….No-Holds-Barred (add attributes, topics, any ideas)

Following are preliminary brain drizzles on some “what” items, just a rough salting of the mine to get things started. NOTE about the following buckets: “Early, Young, Middle, Adult” designations are not age-based! Levels are driven by the capabilities and interests of the individual learner! Last, NO “we can’t do that” allowed at this stage. We can sort out the feasibilities later! Dream!

Early development; Informational

  • Adult workshops: when does consciousness begin? How can we positively impact early awareness? For present and future parents and early caregivers.

Young learners

  • Loose, unstructured exploration, strengths-based, unlearning (identify strengths / interests / natural capabilities)
  • Basic social-emotional skills building. Social skills development, in structured setting (NOTE: employers sing the blues about how lacking in “soft skills” the talent pool is!).

Middle / later

  • Increased levels of S-E learning; civic and social engagement. Academically: sociology, psych, government / civics…even industrial anthropology (the study of workplace group dynamics!)
  • Access to technology=YUGE! State-of-the-industry hardware and software platforms for hands-on experimentation. See “Physical, Facility Features”…How Green Stuff Works
  • Environmental / ecological awareness. Understanding earth’s systemic fragility. Opens the door to science fields, green careers and activism
  • Math and statistics, workplace applications. Lots of experiential stuff, fun learning and hands-on with real workplace stuff (this is kinda my sweet spot and it’s huge for workforce prep)

Adult learners

  • Stress management, coping skills, re-connecting / re-tooling lifestyles. Self-awareness. Mindfulness, everyday relaxation, meditating etc
  • Engagement levers are universal. Provide Big Picture engagement sessions that boost mainstream / private sector buy-in. Whole-person engagement (youth, learner, adult, senior) and whole-life engagement (home / family, school, work, community, society).
  • Promote civic and community activism and volunteerism through increased accessibility. Explore and broker ways to connect.

Physical, Facility Features, Hard Resources

  • Nature Center, indoor / outdoor. Greenhouse ecosystem, healthy environment, lighting and sound, year-round earthing, good air. Compost room inside, organic farm plot, hydroponics (?)
  • Full Solarium with grass …a decompression room, earthing time. Trees, healthy lighting, forest sounds (hell, why not a few birds flying around?! Oh…birds poop! Maybe not so hot an idea….)
  • Green energy (hydro, wind, solar) powers a mini home. Break a model into components & assemble, and a more full-scale, fully functional working model;
  • Compost room, use compost for organic garden plot
  • How Stuff Works…one big area is how does green technology work? Small-scale models to break down, fully functional working model energy producers. GE Energy will get behind this! Wind, water, solar. Program extends to planning, purchase, installation resource / guidance.
  • Application / Implementation Support: information and knowledge is great, especially when it is USED! LEARN about alternative energy, but don’t stop there. Facilitate how to SET UP a system, then guide / coach and advise through the process.

Technology, Learning Aids

  • Top notch a/v, cyber, program access

Special Category: Brain Workouts, backed with exploring brain theory to validate. Our brains are more than a supercomputer, although the human brain is said to have even a greater level of potential processing and storage capability waiting for the switch to flip and the connections to be made. The brain is a muscle where exercises and workout aids are proven to be effective, and a computer too. So we can do cerebral calisthenics as well as learn to “program” our brain to improve its performance.

Mindfulness and other basic, non-threatening, non-weird “meditation / relaxation” techniques.

Music promotes brain capability, as long as it’s the right kind! Rap and metal are not too effective! Baroque is the most effective, for lots of reasons beyond its unobtrusive yet emotion-connecting power.


Noted up-front in Part Three: are home schooled / un-schooled kids still required to perform against standard tests? What about college entrance exams? Do they still do the ACT / SAT routine? In general, what is the legislative / regulatory environment regarding non-traditional education? And, Trump’s nomination for the Dept. of Education head is a proponent of charter, for-profit education. What will the environment become?

Student Loan Bailout Perpetuates the Higher Ed Problem? I heard a piece on NPR November 30th about how the expanded student loan forgiveness program is creating a huge swell in college enrollments. Degree chasers anticipate little relief in the long-term cost outlook, but with the expanded bailout they don’t have to go into hock all their lives for a degree. (  U.S. Expected To Forgive At Least $108 Billion In Student Debt (Nov 30th All Things Considered)

A report released Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office says the U.S. is on track to forgive at least $108 billion in student debt. This is due to the number of people who have enrolled in plans the Obama administration promoted to help borrowers avoid default. The GAO report finds the Education Department also understated the cost of these plans.

Just my opinion–we’re missing the mark. What does higher ed really contribute to productivity and the economy to warrant such a huge investment? We don’t need more people with degrees. We need more people with 21st century skills and the ability to make an immediate contribution to the workplace. What we really need is well-adjusted, personally connected people who are stable and anchored enough to survive a changing workplace and the crazy lifestyle we inflict upon ourselves.

We need to re-examine what we expect out of education, and learning in general…what’s the purpose, what are the goals? Further, HOW are we providing learning? WHY are we still mass-producing bricks in the wall when the factory model is so antiquated? Especially when the customers of that factory model are screaming for something different?

An “unlearned” young person is likely to have their full-strength learning pathways firmly established and S-E development ensures they are well-grounded. Progression into the more skills-based phase (Real-world Prep School) is not set in stone, they can choose to continue on their own path and explore all available options.

A diploma or degree is NOT the ticket to admit the learner into the real world, the job market. It should be mostly irrelevant, a minimal qualifier if any at all. Antidote: early unlearning followed with learner-driven SE development and RWPS to provide maximum strength preparation of high-quality workforce-ready raw material.

Unlearner Proponents Are Highly Individualistic. By its nature unlearning attracts nonconformists, people who rebel against establishment rules, regulations, and academic methods and requirements. “Herding cats” comes to mind when considering the challenge of organizing these uber free spirits. Lack of structure is a key unlearning ingredient, so how can a Center provide a structured approach designed to mainstream unlearning?

GASP! Unlearning is Gonzo: first-person, “me”-centered, free-flowing, rambling, driven by emotion.

That’s all for now…what do you think?