You say: “Everything is new to a child!” #ThriversEd says: “First impressions are lasting.”

Everything is new to a child? You bet. Better still, first impressions are lasting. It’s daft to teach bad habits-of-mind to kids by negligent default, but it is very wise to teach them how to thrive instead.Photo by: Chad Hutto

“Everything is new to a child!” That’s something people say all the time, but I’m not sure they really think about what it means.

Here is what I hear in those words: To an Infant/Baby/Toddler/Child, every new thing is all-the-way new – and, accordingly, all-the-way everything. For a while, at least, the new person/place/thing/event/experience has no companions with which to compare it. It is sui generis, ne plus ultra – unique, irreducible and plausibly mesmerizing.

That matters to me, because stuff like that sticks with you. Call it imprinting, call it influence or simply call it a big show on a small stage, first impressions are lasting – and aboriginal impressions can last a lifetime.

Accordingly: If Toddlers and Children learn to go at things the ThriversEd way, they’ll never approach anything any other way, for the rest of their lives.

Simply getting there first does most of the heavy lifting, but we’re getting there first with a strategy, a plan and an ever-growing sheaf of tactics – all aimed at getting children to lead themselves along the D/S DISC axis, instead of being led, with catastrophically-diminishing success over time, toward the C/I alignment.

The “why” of C/I? Was Marx that prescient, that obstinate or did he just get lucky? That’s a question for another day. It remains that C/I education is exactly ass-backwards – completely opposed to everything that has worked in the past and that should work now – but it is remarkably successful at producing lifelong human misery for everyone afflicted by it.

ThriversEd comes at everything the other way – starting simply by impressing the verb “to thrive” on young minds again and again. A mastery of that one idea might be enough for a child to be able to undertake his own upbringing, but there is lots more we can do.

I talked about The Marshmallow Challenge last night, and (more…)

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Can’t wait to find out about The Marshmallow Challenge? Hang in there. It’s worth it.

What do you plan to do when you win The Marshmallow Challenge?Photo by: Jim, the Photographer

The Marshmallow Challenge is a very simple ThriversEd game, the classic psychological experiment turned into a group self-improvement praxis:

Two or more kids compete, head-to-head, sitting across a table from each other, each being stared down by his own treat, to see who can delay gratification for fifteen minutes.

This is a public and sporting-event-like contest, and every Challenger plus the game’s Dutch Uncle can be PEAKed. Fifteen minutes is a long time, so younger kids might play for shorter durations, and other activities can be going on to keep things from getting boring.

I like very small cookies as the treat, rather than marshmallows, but miniatures can work, too. In any case, a little sugar in a Toddler goes a long way.

The game scores like this:

If there are zero successful Challengers, each gets his own treat, by default, at the time of his opting out of the game.

If there are one or more successful Challengers, those who succeed get a second treat as their reward for delaying their gratification.

If all Challengers are successful, each gets the second treat, and each of the PEAK evaluators gets a treat, too, for being a part of such an awesome experience. Why? Say this as a chant: “When everyone wins – EVERYONE wins!”

A note about orientation: C/I education makes rivals, D/S education makes friends.

What the original marshmallow experiment actually measures is the quality of a child’s upbringing – the consistent, habituated expectations his parents have for him from birth. Highly Cautious and Driven parents raise children who are well-practiced in delay-gratification. Incandescent and Sociable parents less so. The Marshmallow Challenge evens up the odds by giving all children regular practice weighing the costs and benefits of delaying rewards.

The kids who are already Driven or Cautious probably won’t improve much – although they will love playing – but the Sociables, in particular, will show huge gains in very short order.

Endurance, patience, tolerance, forbearance – these are not innate qualities but learned virtues. The Marshmallow Challenge – either this formal (more…)

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Wanna make it big as a Hollywood screenwriter? Just take a weed-whacker to every testicle you see.

“Hey, hey, hey! Who’s your daddy?”Photo by: Mike Mozart

Hollywood hates fathers. Who knew?

Just kidding. It’s an evergreen story, one that comes up every 18 months or so: ‘TV dads are dopes, dupes and dumb-asses.’ This trenchant essay is based on eight whole hours of intense TV-watching research, so strap yourself in tight before you click the link.

Meanwhile, for the benefit of anyone who wants to break into show-biz on the ugly-peoples’ side of the table, here are the rules for writing a Hollywood father:

1. A Hollywood dad can be absent, awful, inept or unrelated. Inept is the one that’s decried all the time, but actual screen-time for father-figures is almost always unrelated men – step-dads, boyfriends and especially mom’s own father – who, amazingly enough, is present, conscientious, competent and family-by-blood.

2. A man raising children in film or on TV cannot be a father: Masculine, firm, sure-footed, resolute, courtly, wise, fore-sighted, patient, tolerant, wry.

3. In his choices and behaviors, a present-and-ongoing Hollywood dad must simulate either an hysterical woman or a helpless child – or ideally both.

What’s the agenda?

• Much writing, like all Marxism, is patricide-by-proxy, so the kid going one-up one his dumb-ass dad again and again could just be more of the incessant puerile rebellion that makes the “entertainment” “business” possible.

• Arguably, Disney and others are grooming children wholesale for future exploitation. By undermining fatherhood, they weaken moral standards even as they displace morality’s real-world avenger.

• Everything of Marxism requires the elimination of the Hoplite father from the homestead, so continuously undermining fatherhood greases the works of the soul-shredding machinery.

• Best bet: The sleazy selling crazy to the lazy. “Entertainment” media is an habituated evasion – all of which are ‘as addictive as cocaine!!!’ What is being evaded by the “entertainment”? Self-responsible adulthood, including thoroughgoing parenthood. By what means? By ridiculing thoughtful maturity, especially masculine maturity.

There definitely IS a nefarious motive behind that: Rent-seeking. A world of adult-babies promises only catastrophe tomorrow – but look at all the corn chips and beer they’re buying today!

So: Whatever the agenda, it’s working. And the opportunity is ripe: It’s (more…)

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Education can deliver Splendor for all kids, not just a prosperous misery for the “lucky” few.

Life’s a dance. Who knew?Photo by: PICS by MARTY

Only two percent of American children, at best, actually benefit from all the education we throw at them. The rest are flowerboxed, in one way or another, somewhere along the gauntlet we run them though.

Most are left in the state of Squalor they were born into: Illiterate in any way that could make a difference and qualified for zero tasks that require qualifications. Most of the rest are given what amounts to Occupational Therapy: They are taught just enough to be stood in a corner and forgotten for life.

Here’s what’s worse: Even the “lucky” few who are actually allowed to cultivate the mind to some degree are still miserable for life. Having communed with the great minds who came before us, they know that educated people dance in the gardens of reason – but they also know they ain’t dancing.

It’s easy to see why: The values hierarchy of the entire educational establishment is upside down. Instead of praising and rewarding all students for expressing their humanity, we focus only on the very most reptilian strengths of the very most reptilian children, pushing them into high-paying jobs as the next generation of mammal-herders.

Most children are never permitted to grow much beyond the charming mammals they are born as. The “lucky” few are warped into gruesome reptiles – with long-tailed resumés to whip the mammals into line. And everyone is miserable…

This is easy to fix. DISC – human character and personality – is cultivated. Right now, we are bending over backwards to cultivate a very few Ci/INTJ nerds to be our ruling class – and throwing all the other children away. If instead we refocus education to cultivate Ds/Sd virtues and values in all children, then all children will be educated so well that they all will dance in Splendor.

Now: Education for almost none, with lifelong misery for all.

My way: Education for all, misery for none.

And all we have to do is turn around.

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Why would anyone play volleyball without a net? How PEAK performance leads to peak humanity.

Q: What do you get when you play volleyball without a net?A: Better.Photo by: Hanna Norlin

I wrote the other day about ThriversEd as “a wide-open volleyball-without-a-net experience.” If you can imagine playing volleyball without a net, what would be the challenge for the players? Not ending the volley, to score a point, but keeping it alive, to score a victory for everyone involved.

Children are cultivated, to the extent they are, in Cautious and Driven displays, especially Ci catalogings of facts: “What does the cow say?” “What does the owl say?” This serves over time to make them competitive and cruel, and it erects the cautious tyranny by which the promise of education is revoked for 98% of everyone. The PEAK scoring matrix leads kids the other way, over time, toward cooperation and kindness – toward peak humanity, for life, for everyone involved.

First the bad news, me from Shyly’s delight:

So: Why did your daughter tell you every week how much she hated piano lessons until she finally dug in her heels and quit, never playing again? It’s because you and her piano teacher entered into an unwitting conspiracy to penalize her incessantly for failing to produce faithful note-for-note mimicry of desiccated sheet music, instead of helping her learn to love music as Shyly would have, if she could have, by living it from the inside out. Technical mastery requires immense motivation, the motivation you killed before it could even take root by insisting that a tiny green shoot is less than nothing if it cannot instantly tower among ancient oaks. If we trained our dogs like this, their spirits – and their tails – would be down all the time, too.

Find the love for life your dog never lives a day without at Amazon.com:Shyly’s delight: Work, play and love like a Labrador.

And this is all of education, of course. The Cautious students excel academically. Why wouldn’t they? They read all the material, do all the assignments and follow all the rules. They are the perfect pets for a Cautious tyranny. And the Incandescents shine (more…)

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A big-picture picture of ThriversEd: A talk-show for toddlers, stone soup with marshmallows.

What is ThriversEd? It’s a new way to play. Toddlers who master it will play better at everything – for life.Photo by: yorkd

I wrote this morning about the PEAK scoring matrix, which is a critical piece of the ThriversEd idea. In that post, I discussed but did not name the game Stone Soup, for which PEAK evaluations are to be deployed. All of that amounts to describing the components of the transmission with no clear picture of the car, so please permit me to amend that deficit.

So: What is ThriversEd?

It’s a way of playing with Toddlers that might look an awful lot like a talk show to an afternoon TV watcher: Lots of music and dancing, recurring structured activities (including Stone Soup), regular audience interaction.

At its most basic, ThriversEd is an activities program for a playground or day-care center: Busking with busy-ness. Picture a doofus who looks a lot like me with an acoustic guitar and a quick wit. Rock ’n’ Roll to induce dancing to a temporary torpor, Stone Soup, The Marshmallow Challenge or some other game, chat, rinse and repeat.

That is the indispensable essence of ThriversEd, beyond which everything else is a frill: A cyclic structured EduPlay by way of BuskerTainment. As a curriculum, it is actively and overtly didactic, but it is ecumenical except for the explicit doctrinal strategy: Cultivating Ds/Sd habits of mind in Toddlers, all as the means of teaching them to thrive by habituated thriving. And every bit of this will look like very fun play to kids.

Accordingly, ThriversEd is broadly horizontal: Appropriate authority is earned and fungible (as with The Dutch Uncle Game), and evaluations can move in all directions, regardless of age or status. Meanwhile, the content is understood to be emergent, organic and crowd-sourced: Except for the guitar and the quick wit, most of the fun will be created by the kids themselves, in the moment. That is: Not a top-down, artist/teacher-aims-at-audience structure, but rather a wide-open volleyball-without-a-net experience, where many people contribute to make a satisfying whole.

Note that I consistently refer to Toddlers as people. That matters (more…)

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Habituating peak performance: A quick peek at the PEAK scoring matrix.

How do you learn how to thrive?Photo by: Anne Berit Heggem

I’m juggling a whole bunch of ideas I call ThriversEd, a sort of pre-pre-school curriculum for very young children – say 18 through 72 months, with the sweet spot being the Toddler years, ages 2 to 5.

How can anyone do a curriculum for people who can’t talk yet? Hide and watch.

Here’s a piece of it, a scoring matrix, and this can apply to any sort of evaluation, not just kid stuff.

I call it PEAK, which is acronymic for Proficient, Efficient, Appealing and Kind.

In ThriversEd, anyone can do a PEAK scoring of any work of the mind, with the goal being to provide feedback, thus to goad improvement over time.

Hence, each evaluation matters, as does the aggregate of all of the evaluations, but the score that will matter most, over time, will be the relative change in evaluations. By doing many presentations, over time, each Thriver will be able to coach his own growth.

The PEAK score is broken down in these proportions:

Proficient = 10% of the final score
Efficient = 20% of the final score
Appealing = 30% of the final score
Kind = 40% of the final score

The DISC strategy behind that could not be more bald: We are scoring, every time, for Doing, Showing, Sharing and Scrupling. The fact of getting the whole job done will promote Driven and Cautious virtues, but working hard for the Incandescent and Sociable values will repay effort. Each individual is induced, over time, to work harder where he is weakest, with everyone being gently and gradually moved toward the Ds/Sd DISC alignment.

Here’s a way of evaluating the evaluation categories:

A work is proficient when it does what it sets about to do. It is efficient when it does that job in a way that seems most logical and direct – maximal payoff with minimal waste. It is appealing when it delights the senses and the mind. And it is kind when it deepens human connections.

I anticipate kids doing presentations and demonstrations – like Toastmasters For Toddlers, one minute per each year of age – (more…)

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