August 31, 2009

Why Leadership Education?

In a Deseret News article that was published August 25, 2009 by Irene Maher, stated that “Starting or returning to school can be stressful and trigger emotions and anxiety in children that even the most attentive parents may miss.”

The article continues: “School can put (children) over the top. It has nothing to do with school, actually. That’s just the place the child brings his emotional baggage, says Dr. Peter Gorski, (a University of South Florida pediatrician who specializes in developmental and behavioral medicine).

Colette Parker of Tampa thought her youngest son, Xavier Williams, would handle kindergarten without much fuss, just as his older brothers did.

But two weeks into his first school year she started getting calls from his teacher. Five-year-old Xavier was throwing things, blowing up emotionally, running out of the classroom, acting aggressively and physically fighting with other children. The teacher couldn’t handle him.

Parker, 33, says her son had a difficult time making the adjustment from the familiar friends and caregivers at day care to the more structured environment of kindergarten. Day care was all about play. ‘In school he had to sit down and do work,’ says Parker.

‘We see a lot of families who never had issues with their kids until school started,’ says John Mayo, a licensed child therapist and deputy executive director of Success 4 Kids & Families.”

What is wrong with this picture?? For most of my life I would have said that some kids are going to have a harder time leaving home and adjusting going to kindergarten than other kids, but it’s a fact of life. Your child “has” to leave you at age five, and like it or not he or she has to start making his or her own way in the world.

I remember very well how I stood in a line of mothers and their kindergartners waiting for the bell to ring, signaling the first day of school. This was my last biological child and I knew I wouldn’t be able to have any more children. My heart was breaking and tears were willfully held back as I attempted to put on a brave face for my little girl. I look back at this experience with much regret and realize there is nothing I can do now to change what happened then. But I have the knowledge and power to change the outcome for the adopted children I have in my home now. The single greatest paradigm shift of my life has occurred because of discovering “Leadership Education.” I would like to share some my favorite parts in the book by Oliver and Rachel DeMille entitled Leadership Education - The Phases of Learning, that contributed to my transformation.

(Page 18) “Leadership Education recognizes the need for freedom in education and encourages self-motivation and personal mission accomplishment that result in feelings of inherent self-worth, leadership and compassion for others. The conveyor belt enforces sameness and aims to foster feelings of societal interdependence, based upon feelings of personal inadequacy and dependency on experts as the norm.”

(Page 23) “The greatest irony in modern education is that we will not let children play when that is practically all our teenagers do. What if children played and worked with their parents more and were lovingly taught about good and bad, right and wrong and true and false? What if youth worked very hard and put in long hours getting a great education and preparing for their life mission? What amazing results could come of making such a reversal in our society!”

(Page 45) “The increasing intellectual demands of the child in Love of Learning Phase upon the parent require that the home life and family’s time be kept as uncomplicated possible. Too many outside activities, no matter how valuable or interesting, can be over-stimulating for the child and draw him much too soon away from the ties that bind him to the nest. Too much “stuff,” either as clutter in the home or as entertainments and possessions that rob time from the necessary “right kind of vacuum” (that space of discomfort/boredom that impels a young person to exert himself to accomplish something worthwhile) can derail a family’s education... It is okay to stay home! It is okay to just play sometimes! We need to take responsibility to fill our homes with wholesomeness, warmth, light and learning and provide the time for family members to benefit from this ideal environment.

(Page 86) “The two biggest complaints are that Scholar Phase is too hard and the Love of Learning Phase is too easy.... There is nothing more challenging in the entire educational world than an excellent Love of Learning Phase. Day in and day out, week after week and year after year, the parent-teacher’s role is to inspire the child to happily, consistently and unswervingly study, learn, search, discover, enlighten, know and apply. The sad reason that people think Love of Learning is ‘easy’ is that they have been brainwashed by the conveyor belt. When they hear ‘Inspire, not Require,’ their brains are so conditioned against combining ‘inspire’ with ‘education’ that they actually go home remembering something very much like ‘ignore, not require.’”

(Page 127) “There are two proven ways to create a teenager: 1) force and push children academically and 2) let them do whatever they want in their personal life. In contrast, young adults are raised by parents who: 1) have firm disciplinary standards and 2) a high quality freedom-oriented educational system. The two components of creating youth are natural and excellent complements.”

(Page 135) “It is interesting that some modern feminists have described the stay-at-home mom or homemaker as caught in a life of boredom, subjugation and sad mediocrity. But true feminine ambition focused on the training of future leaders who fully understand and can accomplish their missions is the greatest challenge and opportunity of our time or any time. It is not enough to train up one’s own children. The true mother must also train and properly raise the whole community in which her children grow up, looking ahead three or four generations and acting accordingly. This is not a government village raising the child, but a mother raising her own children, her future sons- and daughters-in-law, and communities of great and good leaders who will ensure the liberty of their grandchildren. Not, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’ but, ‘It takes a mother to raise a village.’”

(Page 135 - con’t) “The greatest educators are fathers and mother - from Eve, Mary, the mothers of Moses , Washington , Jefferson and Lincoln, to the women who embrace and magnify their roles and responsibilities as mothers in your neighborhood and your own family. These are statemen and stateswomen engaged in the work of building the family-the basic unit of society. A stateswoman puts her relationship with God and spouse in their proper place of preeminence, leads an inspirational life, is actively progressing through the phases herself, runs a Mom School, has her home arranged as a leadership home, says ‘no’ and ‘yes’ in the Leadership way, and mentors through the Phases of a Leadership Education. She is a powerful example of a woman living a life of challenging, fulfilling, exciting feminine ambition and expertise that is literally world-changing. It takes a mother to raise a nation.”

(Page 283) “A life spent making the world better for your future grandchildren is a life of service, leadership, and greatness. It takes a full lifetime to really make change. This is the message and purpose of life and the most important thing any of us can ever do. It is the reason for our lives. We better get started on it early, or as soon as we realize what it is all about.”

I didn’t understand “what it is (really) all about” until I was already a grandmother. Nevertheless, it is not too late for me to transform myself and become a scholar and provide leadership education in my home and community. When we open our hearts and souls and become receptive to what blessings God has in store for us, He will lead and guide us to where we need to be so that we can accomplish our missions and true purposes for being here on this earth. It is through applying the principles taught in Leadership Education that we can accomplish our life’s mission by guiding and preparing the future leaders of the world in our own homes and inspiring others to do the same.

No longer do I believe the myth that compulsory education is a fact of life and that there is no other choice but a conveyor belt education that enforces sameness and “feelings of personal inadequacy and dependency on experts as the norm.” I wish I could let all the “Colette Parkers” of the world know about Leadership Education and that there is a much better and more joyful way to nurture and educate your children and be the change you wish to see in the world. Little five year-old Xavier wouldn’t be carrying emotional baggage to school because he would be able to stay home with his mother who would teach him basic core principles and allow him to be a child and not worry about scholarly pursuits until he had a great core phase and loved to learn. Imagine how different Colette and Xavier’s lives would be with Leadership Education.