What We Can't See Isn't Hurting Us, It's Killing Us

Hello Everyone,

As you partially learned from my misfired email of last week, Shelly and I have been working hard on a number of improvements.

I'll fill you in on those in the coming days.

In the mean time I'd like to share a new article that we are releasing.

Flying Blind:

What We Can't See Isn't Hurting Us, It's Killing Us

“That humans tend not to learn from the lessons of history is the most important lesson of history” ~ adapted from Aldus Huxley

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School at home parents decide to opt out of traditional school for a number of reasons.  But they all come down to a belief that traditional schooling jeopardizes their children’s ‘success’.

A child’s odds of ‘failure’ may go down if they school at home, but how much do their odds of true adult success really go up?

How can we really know if we’re flying in the right direction if we don’t first define success and then implement a strategy to achieve it?

What is success?

The media regularly crowns an array of women and men as “successful”.  They’ve founded companies, sold millions of records, won academic awards, built giant hedge funds, won trophies, and been elected to high seats of power.

If these media darlings are successful, then what do we call a non celebrity who lives a holistically successful life and possesses genuine peace of mind?

Perhaps success isn’t holistic and doesn’t include peace of mind, but we know that’s wrong.

The dictionary defines “success” as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. 

This definition allows a person to throw anything against the wall, then paint a bulls-eye on it after the fact.

Our education system claims that it’s purpose is to prepare children for a successful adulthood.  So perhaps it’s not accomplishing what you set out to do, but rather success is being chosen for doing what you’re told to do by the education system or an employer.

So here we see three different and confusing definitions of success;

  1. Media Success is some combination of rich, powerful, and famous
  2. Pretend Success is whatever you want to say it is after the fact
  3. Education Success is being chosen because you did what you were told

These common examples of success do not provide specific guidance for young children growing up and they’re not much help for parents either.

Yet, this is where our society is at this juncture in history.

We watch with horror at what passes for ‘socialization’ in our school systems.  We don’t want our children to receive 17,000 plus hours of repetitive exposure to low moral, ethical, or social standards.

We hear the countless stories about how school caters to the lowest common denominator and cannot alter it’s approach to suit the different needs of individual students.

And we feel the loss of close family and community connections as the ‘rat race’ of school buses, too many activities and hours of homework rob us of the time to bond closely.

Escaping this madness is clearly an important first step, but then the reality sets in.

Now it’s your job as the parent to make sure that each child develops a strong foundation of reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Now it’s your job to customize the learning experience, to motivate, to mentor, to coach, to instruct, and to guide your children to realizing their potential for real world success even while you manage home life and strive to create a close family dynamic.

Now you are the parent and the teacher, and through the lens of today’s society, it can feel like your job just doubled or quadrupled.

My wife and I have a tremendous amount of appreciation for all school at home parents.  It’s not easy to run against the grain of status quo in any arena, and most of us weren’t taught to do all these jobs.  We school our two daughters at home, and we understand that guidance in this richer version of parenting is lacking.

The outside world isn’t going to change overnight.  But within the walls of our homes we can take action today to create the experience we want for our families, and to support our children to become successful, grounded adults that contribute to making our society better.

The strength of individuals and society are directly linked to the strength of families. In order to rehabilitate society we need strong families building strong children.

We must redefine success and develop a clear approach for achieving it.

We have to stop flying blind.

The Canary In The Coal Mine

So how do we do this?

When you’ve been immersed in something long enough, even the best of us can become ‘accustomed’ to it, and we can lose perspective. One way to regain our perspective about success is to borrow from the perspective of others. 

To do this I want to share something I recently learned about post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  

As I’m sure you know, many soldiers are coming home and experiencing debilitating emotional symptoms. 

Most assume that this is a result of having experienced the extreme violence of war, and of course many have.  But only about 10% of our soldiers actually experience combat first hand.  Yet the incidence of PTSD is much higher.  If their emotional trauma isn’t from violent combat experiences, then why are these otherwise strong individuals suffering so much when the return to the relative safety of the United States?

Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm and famed war reporter has published a new book called Tribe.  In it he examines what soldiers are experiencing and what it tells us about our society.

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