Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Whole Adult/Whole Child

I will be speaking November 19th at Search-Institutes "Big Tent" conference in Houston, TX.

The focus of this talk will be on challenging parents to look at their own wholeness in context to the reality that we can only raise a child to full human capacity if we ourselves have tuned into build our own whole SELF.

What is a parent? A parent is a "Human Capacity Development" expert. Only of course, many parents are not this. Very few people truly understand how dependent a child is on the parent to facilitate their 'wholeness/humanness.

To be fully human does not just happen. It has to be developed or it will not happen (think of Afghanistan and how few children are even moderately educated and how this impacts the way they live their lives.) Children need "Human capacity development' experts to help them achieve their highest capacity of being fully human. Yes, a Human Capacity development expert is a parent--but as is obvious not all parents are human capacity development experts. That's what I think we all want to be when raising our children. But far too many parents are neither experts or doing much "human capacity" developing! Its not because they don't want to, but we simply do not have a system structured into our lives of how to become true experts in "human capacity development". It is missing in action even though every adult I've ever met has desperately been looking for it.

Life Puzzle is a family systems model and a framework for our adult lives. But at the same time, it can be the framework for helping you determine what you as an adult need to help your child learn too. If nutrition is a piece of your puzzle--its a piece of your child's puzzle too...what are you doing at age 1,3,5,7,9,11,13,15 to help him/her learn age appropriate information in that area so that by the time he leaves at 18 he has a solid foundation in that area so he can not only use it beneficially in his life...but also share this on down to his own children?

That's what I hope to express in Houston---how can we become the first generation of parents to become Human Capacity Development experts? Right now, the only criteria for being a parent is whether or not you can have a baby. Considering that we make babies not much differently than a dog or a can see the standard for becoming a parent is pretty low. It is imperative that we raise the bar. Children who are going to be able to live effectively in the 21st century need high quality human development. This doesn't just happen--it has to be fostered by good parenting--and I would challenge, and will do so in my presentation in Houston that the goal of every parent should be to see themselves as "human capacity development" experts--and then engage actions to make this possible.

I would say that Life Puzzle-making enables this--but it is just one of many potential models for the future creation of "Human capacity Development"experts who will take parenting to new levels that will be beneficial for adults and children. Imagine the world of whole adults/whole children. It is possible.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Economists are so 0-5! Don't look to them for solutions!

Here in Oregon, the recession continues. Unemployment is at 10.6% as compared to the oh, so much better national rate of 9.7%. Yesterday a friend shared two newspaper articles showing the grim job prospects for this year's graduates--especially those in the teaching fields. Due to budget deficits in many states, schools are not only not hiring new graduates, they're firing teachers.

Since the 2008 crash, 15 million people have been unemployed and with a predicted jobless recovery, many of these people and their families will be permanently displaced out of the economy. Yet, when I listen to government or private economists they continue to perpetuate the myth that some 'big business' will show up and start hiring and things will get back to status quo.

When I hear this, I just shake my head. Economists know that we've moved solidly into a "Knowledge/Service" economy yet they keep talking as if this new economy will work the same way as a Consumer economy. But jamming a Knowledge/Service economy into the same framework as a Consumer economy is like sticking a square peg into a round hole.
It simply won't work.

But then I think of the Choosing Continuum--and remember that 85% of people are 0-5, reactive, unconscious and passive in response to crisis/problems going on in their lives, so why should economists be any different? If anything, we should expect it--and then promptly stop listening to them. Because a 0-5 response to economic, financial, social and environmental problems that are occurring right now will not do the job. We're not going back to status quo/consumer economy. That is so 20th century--we're in the 21st!

Time for us to go 6-10--proactive, conscious, self-responsible for designing new solutions. From what I've read--the new framework will require us to recognize that the 'work' that we'll need to be doing in this new economy is very different than what we did in the old economy. That's what we need to be exploring. For those who are Life Puzzle makers--you're well on your way of starting on the pathway to success in the new economy.

As Richard Florida writes in The Great Reset, a book about a post-crash new economy, the future belongs to those who are able to be autonomous and good decision makers. That's decidedly folks who have adopted the 6-10 process of taking responsibility for their own lives, pro-actively creating their own work, consciously designing whole and dynamic lives. To achieve this, we will be spending far more time in career fields dealing with human development and creativity than in the old fields of manufacturing and consumer products.

The problem however is that the way we measure and monetize the current economy makes it very difficult to welcome these new employment sectors. That's because they're not built on 'unlimited growth and production', but are instead much more around ideas and creativity. Creative ideas/creative humans are the outcome of these new employment sectors but are hard to monitor in the traditional ways. But it is what we need economists to start working on! Or even better--we do it ourselves.

The current consumer economy has 3 employment sectors where one can earn a living: markets, government or illegal (think drugs, sex trade etc.--lots of money made here!). But the new Knowledge/Service economy will need to expand this into six employment sectors: markets, government, illegal (sorry, it's just always going to be a part of us!), household (where creatives a created!), volunteer and the natural environment. With the addition of these three new employment sectors, not only can we re-employ everyone--the work they'll be doing with produce a vibrant economy.

First step you can take? Be a Life Puzzle maker! Then you'll be well on your way for being part of this new economy because Life Puzzle makers are autonomous and good decision makers.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A Reality check on Reality about we all get real ourselves?

The Feb 7th, CBS Sunday Morning show did a segment called The Real Deal on Reality TV. The gist of the segment was that millions of people are thrilled to be watching others lives and all the drama they can create. In many cases, these Reality shows highlight the worst of our behaviors, yet they also normalize these behaviors as if 'this is as real as it gets'. In truth, these Reality shows are often staged and edited to present a very skewed portion of what's happening--yet the viewer only sees what the producers feels will heighten the drama. American Idol's auditions imply that everyone gets a fair shot, but many who have participated in this experience acknowledge that some of those selected are there simply to give viewers the opportunity to laugh and mock. Many talented folks who have gone through the huge effort and expense to get to these auditions with the belief that the show is actually looking for good talent, are ignored and wonder why those with no talent get exposure when they don't. So much for reality...

As I watched and listened to this segment I kept thinking that for so many people, instead of getting real in their own lives, they watch other people's lives on these reality shows. But why? Because at the end of the hour, their own lives haven't changed, they haven't learned how to create whole and dynamic lives of their own but instead have watched other people living a fake reality. Why is that more fun than building their own?

My gut answer is that most people don't know how to create their own lives. Why? Because the examples they see through the media--TV, movies, on-line, magazines, social networking sites etc., rarely are about building whole and dynamic lives but consistently shows drama, pain and fear. It's seen so often that people actually think that TV/media reflects 'reality' and it ends up being a more powerful teacher than what they're learning in their homes or at school.

I once had a client ask me about two different TV characters. She was wondering which was the better one to copy. She was serious. She was living in a very chaotic home and left on her own to grow up and figure out how to be a good person. The only examples she could come up with was to use one of these two characters. This was long before Reality shows had taken over the airwaves but I think her question reflects the why Reality shows have become so dominant. People are lost and watching a Reality show is about watching others who are lost and confused too. And if the producers of the show are good---the 'real people' on the shows will be more lost and confused than the viewer so the viewer can vicariously feel good that 'at least I'm not as messed up as X". Lost meets lost and everyone feels fine because people don't realize there's an alternative. But there is and that's why I created the Life Puzzle so long ago.

Life Puzzle is about being real and building your own whole and dynamic life. It's the anti-Reality show. It's about spending your time learning to love your SELF, discovering your own way of creating your life and at the end of each day, the wonderful satisfaction of the on-going and growing journey of living fully. Now, how do we get everyone to turn off Reality shows and turn on getting real and making their Life Puzzle?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

We’ll have a great economy if we would all just get sick…

Health care is the number one growing industry in our country. So, if you’re looking for a career change or dealing with unemployment due to being kicked out of the auto industry, airline industry, manufacturing industries etc., you should become a nurse. The Bureau of Labor statistics shows it to be the number one job for the future economy.

And it is a great career field that is both financially and intrinsically rewarding. Helping people who are sick to get better is a wonderful thing. But of course as we employ more and more in the health care field, they’ll only be busy if there are a lot of sick people. And that’s the tricky thing about a growth sector of the economy being tied to health care—it’s got a very curious feedback loop. In order to make it a growth industry that pays for all the doctors, nurses, specialized equipment, drugs etc., it requires customers who are sick and continuing to be sick. And that creates a secondary feedback loop that we need to examine—a lot of sick people results in a country that is no longer thriving on personal or economic levels.

You can already see the early signs of this as the obesity rates of our country have sky-rocketed and with it a serious rise in diabetes and heart disease throughout the entire population. Chronically ill people work less productively and/or for those who are working, they spend more and more of their income on health care instead of housing, healthy food, technology, and other areas where people might be employed instead of the health care system. You can see over a decade or two this is going to result in a United States that isn’t thriving at all.

But there’s another option that would shift us from being a nation of sick people with an economy dependent on health care as the largest employment sector. Let’s shift the dollars out of the health care system and into the household enterprise system.

Now, bear with me because I’m going to suggest a whole new way of building our economy from the ground up. It starts at home by finally recognizing that the work done in our homes provides the cornerstone setting for a new, vibrant economy. From the raising of our children through to the caring of our elderly, the inclusion of the household as a business enterprise and employment sector that is part of the measured and monetized economy will enable us to build a much stronger economy overall.

I’m not talking about welfare or paying people to stay home and do nothing, I’m suggesting that we need to ‘professionalize’ the work done in our homes to the level that we expect of other industries like health care, business, law, education, or technology. And in doing so, we include it into our economic measurements and monetize it. This would provide a massive new employment sector for our economy. It would also produce far greater outcomes for so many children and families—which ultimately produces far better outcomes for the entire country. As you’ll see, to continue to exclude this work as part of the measured and monetized economy is literally to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Here’s why—the future belongs to the highly educated and that means we will need humans who are operating at full human capacity. How do we best achieve this? It starts with recognizing that ‘human development’ doesn’t just happen—it has to be fostered from pre-natal care through birth and early childhood years to its highest levels. Humans are an interesting species in that they have the longest childhoods of any species on the planet and to be fully capable of being on their own and building optimal lives—they must be taught how to do this. In the 21st century, our childhoods have extended out to almost 24 years because the sheer volume of data and skills that one must learn in order to negotiate life to its utmost. Five thousand years ago the time and energy spent to raise a child to adulthood required significantly less accumulation of data and skill sets by the caregiver to complete the work necessary to enable that child to walk into adulthood ready to take on the world. But today, the knowledge and skills sets that a child must acquire in order to be fully functioning into adulthood requires the adult who is raising the child to have a much higher level of accumulated data and skill sets too. In fact, to achieve this level of data and skill accumulation—we must provide training, schooling etc., equivalent to that which we expect of other professions such as technology, health care and/or financial management.

Because we have not recognized this and raised the bar for the household enterprise to be viewed as a ‘profession’ we’ve missed out on one of the most important employment sectors available to us to build a thriving economy. To continue to perpetuate this travesty results in a lose-lose for us all and at its worst, it results in the sicker and sicker population that now fuels the ever-growing health care sector of our economy.

We can get sick…or we can get well—it’s a choice.

If we reframed the economy to include the household sector, we could employ millions of people—though not only in the household enterprise itself. Even more importantly, it would foster a B2B ripple effect out into the greater economy. The market sectors of technology, education, home building, and entertainment to name just a few would all be direct beneficiaries. Dollars will circulate through the household enterprises and spread out into these other areas that are needed in order for the household enterprises to achieve the high level outcomes expected through this new professional sector.

It isn’t that difficult for us to come to the conclusion that we need to raise the bar and add the household enterprise to the professional ranks and pay for high quality output. Why is the raising of our children any less a profession than an engineer? We expect an engineer to have advanced training and skill development in order to be capable to produce a set of drawings for a bridge that are engineered correctly and that we would feel confident to drive over. If we want the same level of confidence that our children will achieve full human capacity and be ready to be a part of our economy as they reach adulthood, the household enterprise needs to be given the equivalent professional respect and that will only happen if it is included in our economic measurements and monetization.

As we enter the 21st century’s second decade, it is clearly a very different world. We know education is a vital part of every child’s potential success and yet we only professionalize this when they leave the home and go to day care and/or enter the school system. As a result, millions of children receive less than optimal care-giving simply because the adult(parent) is either not trained in this work as a professional and/ or forced to be outside the home seeking employment in another area in order to have the funds necessary to live life.

Going to work in the household enterprise sector could be the equivalent of going to work for Hewlett Packard or the Red Cross. Imagine the rise of thousands of small, medium and large non-profit businesses who will be the centers for hiring, training and managing teams of employees who work in this new professional field. Just as a professional at Hewlett Packard works out of their home office yet has virtual connection with team members in their community or across the world, so too could going to work for a Household enterprise business result in an employee who works at home but has connections to a team of other equivalent household professionals. What a great career field—and the outcomes—vibrant children who have, from day one, had the opportunity to engage with a professional whose knowledge and skills ensure optimal human development for this child.

Once you begin to wrap your head around this new way of seeing the work done in the home from the perspective of the household enterprise, it is easy to see how many terrific benefits are created for our children, our communities, our economy and the world. Taking this step now provides the opportunity for a new employment sector to arise just as many of the consumer industries of the past begin to retract. The future looks bright in this employment sector as we redirect the economy to pay for this now vital work.

We will of course, always need health care. But there’s a difference between needing health care as a small portion of an economy that supports a generally thriving population of healthy people vs. it being the major sector of the economy that supports a generally marginal population of sick people. We know already that we are on this sick path, but we could turn this around in one generation by adding the household enterprise sector into the measured and monetized professional economy.

Immediately people will ask how this can be funded but this is less an issue of money than an issue of where we want to put our money. Briefly addressing this issue (a subsequent article will go into more detail) some funds will come as we redirect out of health care into household enterprises. Current grant funders may direct their funding for this new sector—seeing that it produces far better outcomes and higher employment than even the current social service system. The rise of local currencies would enable another source of funding since obviously household enterprise businesses are locally centered (finally an employment sector you can’t outsource to China!). Another option would be a State bank as a source for long term funding. The money is there—we need only to determine that we want the household enterprise to be included in the economic measurement system—once that happens, the money can flow in, out and around the economy just as it does in any other sector such as health care, engineering or buying a new Smart phone!