Dangerous Children need to understand the crucial basics for a large number of fields of science, technology, the trades, and much more. Here, MIT graduate, author, and technical theoretician Eric Drexler suggests ways for anyone to jump into science and technology research, and through steady and painless immersion learn to absorb the important details that will help you fit it all together — at least for the range of fields you are working on.
This “immersion approach” is how young children naturally learn. Each bit and stage of knowledge is used as a scaffolding from which one can reach the next level of knowledge. It is an approach that can be re-discovered by youth and adults for getting a grasp on new fields that may seem too difficult to comprehend at first glance. Here is what Eric recommends:
Tips from Polymath Eric Drexler on Broad-Based Learning
Note that the title above isn’t “how to learn everything”, but “how to learn about everything”. The distinction I have in mind is between knowing the inside of a topic in deep detail — many facts and problem-solving skills — and knowing the structure and context of a topic: essential facts, what problems can be solved by the skilled, and how the topic fits with others…
… Knowing about, in this sense, is crucial to understanding a new problem and what must be learned in more depth in order to solve it. The cross-disciplinary reach of nanotechnology almost demands this as a condition of competence.
Studying to learn about everything
Read and skim journals and textbooks that (at the moment) you only half understand. Include Science and Nature.
Don’t halt, dig a hole, and study a particular subject as if you had to pass a test on it.
Don’t avoid a subject because it seems beyond you — instead, read other half-understandable journals and textbooks to absorb more vocabulary, perspective, and context, then circle back.
Notice that concepts make more sense when you revisit a topic.
Notice which topics link in all directions, and provide keys to many others. Consider taking a class.
Continue until almost everything you encounter in Science and Nature makes sense as a contribution to a field you know something about.
You learned your native language by immersion, not by swallowing and regurgitating spoonfuls of grammar and vocabulary. With comprehension of words and the unstructured curriculum of life came what we call “common sense”.
The aim of what I’ve described is to learn an expanded language and to develop what amounts to common sense, but about an uncommonly broad slice of the world. Immersion and gradual comprehension work, and I don’t know of any other way. __ Eric Drexler in Metamodern
Drexler is the author of several books on nanotechnology, including the free online ebook, Engines of Creation (EOC). EOC is a comprehensible — and visionary — look at some of the future potential of molecular assemblers as applied to nanotechnological manufacture.
Immersion is An Important Form of “Self-Teaching”
As we have said before, self-teaching is a crucial component of The Dangerous Child Method, and an integral ingredient in The Robinson Curriculum and other homeschooling approaches. All effective forms of homeschooling and unschooling will involve some elements of coaching and apprenticeship by mentors and parents. But the child himself is the one who is always present. He is ultimately the responsible party when it comes to life outcomes.
Besides the great advantage of developing good study habits and thinking ability, self—teaching also has immediate practical advantages. Many children should be able, through Advanced Placement examinations, to skip over one or more years of college. The great saving in time and expense from this is self—evident. These and other comparable accomplishments await most children who learn to self—teach and then apply this skill to their home education.
Even children of lesser ability can, by means of self—teaching and good study habits, achieve far more than they otherwise would have accomplished by the more ordinary techniques. __ Teach Them to Teach Themselves
In learning to walk, talk, ride a bike, and participate socially in families and other groups, a child naturally uses observation from an immersed position. Self-teaching in more individual and formal types of learning should naturally follow, if the child is given good pointers at the right stages. By doing so, parents and mentors will liberate the child to shape his own paths to his own goals.
College is a place where young people go to binge, fornicate, receive an academic lobotomy, and become burdened by insurmountable debt — all in the quest for increasingly worthless diplomas. __ Al Fin
Wage Advantage from College Diploma Shrinking
Wages for college graduates across many majors have fallen since the 2007-09 recession, according to an unpublished analysis by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce in Washington using Census bureau figures. Young job-seekers appear to be the biggest losers.
Even in crucial fields such as engineering, physical sciences, health sciences, computer science, and agriculture, wages for college grads have been dropping.
Some majors are bucking the wage-stagnation trend. An experienced petroleum engineering major earned $179,000 a year on average in 2015, up $46,000 from five years prior, according to the Georgetown analysis. Beyond those with special technical skills, philosophy and public policy majors have also seen their earnings rise. __ Bloomberg
Meanwhile, student loan debt across society soars:
The Real World Needs Competent People with Applicable Skills
This doesn’t mean that all young people should be shunted toward blue collar and mid-level jobs and professions. That is not what Dangerous Child training is about. Instead, Dangerous Child training is aimed at training competent and confident young people who are equipped to shape their own futures from the onset of adulthood. Some Dangerous Children will go into the trades, some will choose higher education — some may even choose government work! The goal of Dangerous Child training is to give the ownership of that choice to the child himself, along with plenty of backdoors in case the first choice doesn’t work out. And all of that without a mountain of debt!
Dangerous Children master at least three ways of achieving financial independence by the time they turn 18 yo. Not all of them will earn him $100,000 a year off the bat. But by combining practical competence with business and entrepreneurial skills — that are also learned before turning 18 — Dangerous Children are capable of building businesses that can earn well over a $million a year.
Sure, businesses have to pay taxes, labour, rents, and so forth, but Dangerous Children learn how to economise on such expenses by the age of 12. Most of them get plenty of practise at running a small business by the time they reach 18 years, so they are ready to start building a future out of the gate.
A Dangerous Childhood Depends Upon a Child’s Ability to Teach Himself
Modern society too often looks at children as incompetent nuisances, who must be sheltered from the real world until they turn 18 — at which point they are thrown into a corrupt and undisciplined world completely unprepared for what they will face. The end result of such an approach is a growing herd of sheep-like young people who are still incompetent, and likely to stay that way. By default, these sheep are closely guided in their tastes, interests, and “relevant causes” by faux experts in media, academia, and government and by celebrity figures around the world.
A self-taught person who possesses both self discipline and self confidence will not be swayed by popular appeals to group status or celebrity appeal. He will be a contrarian thinker who works things out for himself, impervious to the herd mentality of a corrupt, groupthinking culture.
Thinking is a set of skills we learned at a very young age, in an automatic and mostly unconscious manner. We cannot remember how we learned to think the way we do, and so we are stuck with a large number of thinking “tics and foibles” that we might be better off without. This is unfortunate for us, and even the most intelligent of us must often struggle to compensate for our sub-optimal set of thinking skills.
If we started at the beginning, we could provide a better path to deep, powerful, and independent thinking for our children — if we only took the time and trouble to discover how. First, we need to learn to think better for ourselves. Then we can do a better job setting the stage for our Dangerous Children, in their adventures in thought and learning.
How Does One Learn How to Think (Better)?
If you do an internet search query: “How to Think,” the search engine response is likely to contain a large number of links to websites telling you how to think in particular ways. “How to think critically,” “How to think creatively,” “How to think logically,” etc. It can be difficult to find information on “how to think” in general. Almost all webpages from such a search are oriented toward adults — whose thinking is already set in concrete by this time.
Even so, some websites provide bits of interesting advice that may help youth and adults to think more effectively, within conventional boundaries. For example:
Thinking is something that happens naturally in each individual, but there are ways to deepen your thinking abilities. It takes time and practice to become a better thinker, but it’s a process you can hone all your life. Being a better thinker and keeping your mind sharp can help your mental and physical health in the long run!
__ More: How to Think
When I applied for my faculty job at the MIT Media Lab, I had to write a teaching statement. One of the things I proposed was to teach a class called “How to Think,” which would focus on how to be creative, thoughtful, and powerful in a world where problems are extremely complex, targets are continuously moving, and our brains often seem like nodes of enormous networks that constantly reconfigure. In the process of thinking about this, I composed 10 rules, which I sometimes share with students. I’ve listed them here, followed by some practical advice on implementation.
The short articles linked above contain some useful tips for improving one’s thinking skills. But even the most unconventional suggestions are still quite conventional. If we are to help to liberate the minds of future generations of Dangerous Children, we will need to unleash our own minds in some radical ways.
Making Radical Improvements in Thinking is Difficult After a Certain Age
De Bono has also written a book on teaching children how to think. The slide presentation below provides a quick introduction to the ideas in Teach Your Child How to Think.
We should keep in mind that thinking is a set of interlocking skills and processes, which work behind the scenes in most adults in an almost wholly unconscious manner. These skills were developed from a very early age, beginning in the womb. They were automatically bootstrapped onto the rapidly developing neural substrate of the developing fetus, neonate, and infant. The process of thinking skills acquisition continues in childhood, is knocked off the tracks in puberty, and settles more or less in place by early adulthood.
If you want your Dangerous Child to have the most powerful and independent mind he can have, certain approaches to child nurturing and child raising will work better than others. If a parent or caretaker waits until college age — or even high school age — to provide an environment conducive to developing thinking skills, it will be much too late.
Teaching a Child to Think is Teaching Him to Be
The Dangerous Child Method is based upon the development of creative skills in movement, language, music, art, and pattern. Because the foundations of these skills are built long before the child can walk, talk, and meaningfully converse — even before birth — the approach to guiding Dangerous Child development in skills competency (including thinking skills) must take a primarily nonverbal form.
By developing the latent patterns of space, time, language, music, and motion, the Dangerous Child is prepared for a fuller range of possible skills when his brain moves through the sensitive periods of development in childhood.
For a very young child, there is no difference between thinking and being. It is only later that he learns to deceive, and create a secret inner life. It is crucial to facilitate the development of powerful thinking skills in the formative years, before the child begins to feel the strong tug of popular, nonsense culture.
Children are Born Creative
It is not necessary to teach a child to be creative. Rather, it is necessary to restrain yourself from destroying the child’s innate creativity. Some discipline is always necessary, since the child’s basic needs must be met in spite of the turbulent impulses and inner demands that most children are prey to.
Give the child a wide range of opportunities to experiment and exercise his creativity. Children begin to reveal their aptitudes and inclinations from an early point in their existence. Look for particular strengths which can be utilised for growth, and look for particular weaknesses which will need to be either eliminated or compensated for.
At each state of development, the process of developing new thinking skills will evolve and take different forms — building on older skills and integrating themselves, new into old.
Coaches Must Understand How New Thinking Skills Fit In
Some skills, such as music, art, motion, and language, seem to progress in a logical fashion. The toddler is not so different from the olympic athlete, in basic neuromuscular function. The development from one to the other is a matter of qualitative refinement and quantitative progression over time — and entirely plausible.
The development of a world class mathematician or theoretical physicist from a babbling infant is a little more difficult to conceive, but the basic ingredients are all there. Most infants who have the latent potential to be productive mathematicians or theoretical physicists will never develop into those professions, for many reasons. One of the reasons for such a failure to evolve is that the necessary early forms of pattern experimentation and exploration were never attempted. And so the tools for personal evolution were not provided at the needed time — usually long before parents even have an inkling that any useful skills of such a nature exist.
Children must be nurtured, but allowed to experiment and fail. They must be supported, but also taught to develop natural skills of hard work and independence. They must be valued, but not be led to see themselves as the centre of the universe.
Eventually the child himself will teach himself to bootstrap his own thinking skill sets. The real world will provide plenty of challenges against which to test himself and his unique approach to thinking.
Fantasy Self of Superpowers vs. Genuine Self of Competence and Growth
Remember when tennis legend Andre Agassi was the poster child for “pretty-boy losers?” No matter how many times he said “Image is Everything,” his perfect image still lost tennis matches. Only after devoting himself to the hard work of becoming a better tennis player was he able to escape the “image trap” and develop the master inside of himself.
Although the popular culture of celebrities is all about the fantasy life, the “image is everything” life, the real world only has room for so many celebrities and artificial role models. For most people, a successful life would be better achieved through facing reality head on.
Genuine Self vs. Fantasy Self
Becoming a Dangerous Child is hard, but playful, work. The art of personal unfolding and self-realisation which all Dangerous Children must undergo leads naturally into a deliberate and self-guided ascent up the mountain to becoming a genuine — as opposed to fantasy — self. Genuine selves are aware that they are fallible, with faults and weaknesses. It is this awareness which allows genuine persons to push themselves to grow.
This is in stark contrast to the “fantasy self”:
Because the main goal [of the fantasy self] is the attainment of glory, he becomes uninterested in the process of learning, of doing, or of gaining step by step — indeed, tends to scorn it. He does not want to climb a mountain; he wants to be on the peak. Hence he loses the sense of what evolution or growth means, even though he may talk about it. Because, finally, the creation of the idealized self is possible only only at the expense of truth about himself, its actualization requires further distortions of the truth, imagination being a willing servant to this end. Thereby, to a greater or lesser extent, he loses in the process his interest in truth, and the sense for what is true and what is not true — a loss that, among others, accounts for his difficulty in distinguishing between genuine feelings, beliefs, strivings and their artificial equivalents (unconscious pretenses) in himself and in others. The emphasis shifts from being to appearing. __ “Human Growth” by Karen Horney
It is easy to recognise the modern perpetual adolescent in Karen Horney’s description above. Today’s university student may spend years exploring college coursework before finding a field of study which does not require too much exertion. Because they had always been told how “special” and “smart” they were, and how they could accomplish anything at all to which they set their minds — and because they had never learned how to work or to discipline themselves — today’s generations of psychological neotenates find themselves at a loss. As they move out of the respective wombs of their childhood homes and the artificial school environments, they become aware that the world that awaits them may not place as high a value on their abilities as they do themselves.
Limit Early Exposure to Supernatural Fantasies
Since very young minds are exquisitely impressionable to all ideas — no matter how unrealistic or absurd — Dangerous Children are not exposed to the concept of superheroes or perfect humans until they have acquired the character and self-discipline they need to teach and guide themselves through the difficult process of self-discovery. They must avoid groupthink and become natural independent contrarians.
In the young years, teaching the child to love working hard to achieve his own goals should take precedence over any religious concepts of “perfection through faith” or other ideas that could easily be taken as magical by very young minds. Children must grow from the stage where everything is done for them to later stages where they are able to do more and more for themselves and eventually for their own families. “Magical solutions to real problems” can become lifelong impediments to a child’s development of personal competence.
For this reason, Dangerous Children spend most of their early years experimenting and discovering their interests and aptitudes, developing grit and character (executive functions), and in establishing footholds for future learning and self-teaching. This is all done in a playful context, allowing for plentiful serendipity, but within a deliberate framework.
Modern Culture is a Cesspool of Mindless Fantasy
And this is why so many college graduates and college dropouts cannot pay their student loans, and are forced to live in their parents’ basements or garage bedrooms. This is why young men who should be working and starting families spend their lives playing video games, watching internet porn, and living in fantasy worlds imagining themselves as superheroes and superstuds.
When the early years are frittered away on television comics and fantasy tales, invaluable time is lost which should have been spent developing basic foundations of competence and character. When children are handed over to institutions run by persons who have no real interest in the child’s development of a genuine self — but prefer instead to mold the child into a groupthinking zombie mind to make things easy on the institution — opportunities for developing personal competence and individual mastery of aptitudes and skills are squandered.
Today’s Youth are Disappointed In Reality, but Helpless to Make Things Better
Because most modern youth have been pampered, sheltered, made to feel special even when they are not, and are never given meaningful foundations for learning, self-teaching, or common sense — they are apt to have trouble finding a place for themselves. Their genuine selves were never developed, so they are left with fantasy selves and overactive imaginations necessarily disconnected from reality.
The modern world is evolving rapidly as a result of disruptive innovations in science and technology. In addition, the foundations of modern societies are being eroded by unwise energy policies (green energy scams), scientific hoaxes perpetrated by political activists (climate apocalypse cult), suicidal debt levels, and a dysgenic undertow that threatens to carry everything away.
Modern youth have never been prepared for such a world of increasingly precarious foundations. They have not even been prepared for a normal world of real-life expectations. But this world? It is an impossible situation for them.
And So the Need for Raising Dangerous, Self-Teaching Children, Who Love Hard Work
The perfect is the enemy of the good. And the perfect — the Platonic ideal — does not exist in the real world. Dangerous Children understand this, and are taught early to learn the shade-tree engineer’s approach of optimising, rather than perfecting.
The real world is where things get done and where there is money to be made — as opposed to government, organised crime, and academia where there is money to be stolen and stripped away from the productive world of work and enterprise.
Dangerous Children Teach Themselves Money Skills and Entrepreneurship and Much More
There are dozens of $billionaire college dropouts and thousands of millionaires who never went to college or dropped out to participate in the real world. They are largely self-taught. Self-Teaching for Ordinary Adults
The Dangerous Child movement is about more than building a strong personal base of operations. It is about building a competent society, one Dangerous Child at a time. Dangerous Children go on to network with other Dangerous Children to form Dangerous Communities, and networked Dangerous Communities. As these networks of competent communities proliferate, they provide a safe redundancy for the larger society in case of disaster or catastrophe. If worse comes to worse, networked Dangerous Communities can provide the nuclei for a more robust, resilient, and anti-fragile society to come.
An abundant and expansive human future of free people is only possible if children grow into their genuine selves, rather than into the fantasy selves which today’s degenerate societies seem to prefer.
Hunting is About Far More than Killing Game Animals
Hunting teaches children lessons that would probably not otherwise be learned for decades — if ever. While hunting, children are exposed to real world realities of predators and prey, planning and self discipline, and human to human teamwork.
Not every child will have the temperament to kill game animals. But they can learn most of the lessons of the hunt from observing and learning the painstaking preparations and hunting/stalking techniques which good hunters utilise.
Here is a short list of benefits from teaching children to hunt, for both family and child:
One of the best things about teaching your child to hunt is the bonding time it gives the two of you. In today’s world where parents and children are often going in two different directions and have little time together, hunting gives you something to do together that can leave lasting memories.
You taking your son or daughter into the woods with you carries on that family tradition, as you teach them the same skills that were taught to you, your parents or your grandparents.
Teach them about harvesting only what they need and the balance of taking and giving. Explain the role of hunters in conservation and what we can do to ensure land and animals will still be available for their children when the time comes.
By taking them hunting and getting them involved, you’ll not only be teaching them skills and sport, but you’ll help keep hunting alive.
In a world where everything moves so fast and needs to be done so quickly, teaching your child to hunt can help them connect to the outdoors and teach them to slow down and enjoy simple moments in nature.
By taking your children with you hunting, you can help promote a physically fit lifestyle and show them alternatives to simply hitting the gym.
From discipline, to patience, to endurance, to learning to deal with disappointment, hunting helps develop skills in your children that will turn them into well-rounded adults.
By teaching them proper hunting skills and sportsmen etiquette, you’ll be teaching them responsibility that can spread into other aspects of their lives.
Watching the glee and excitement on your child’s face, knowing the work, patience and skill that all had to come together for that moment [first successful hunt] is priceless.
Without proper knowledge, people panic and react quickly with a gun in their hand, not knowing what to do. By teaching your children to hunt, you’ll be teaching them skills that will teach them to respect guns, not fear them.
Children learn much more than is printed on the above list, simply by spending time in the safe company of parents and mentors, in the wild. But much of what children learn is nonverbal. Building strength of character under a range of challenges, is one of many nonverbal skills that pays large dividends later in life.
My daughter has been going with me since she was 7. Just this past deer season, she took her first deer. Up until then she just went and sat with me, and we would talk about everything under the moon. Teaching her about the outdoors and the importance of hunting are and were very special times, and the memories will last a lifetime. Just her being there with me was satisfying, but when she said she actually wanted to hunt, that took it to a whole new level of enjoyment. __ How to Teach Kids Hunting
Not Every Child is Cut Out for Hunting
Respect for the Wild and Wildlife is Crucial for a Budding Hunter
Nature is neither cruel nor benign. It simply is, and it doesn’t care what we think about it.
If your boy shouts, “Wow, I killed him!” or something like that, there is nothing wrong with him–he is just a boy. But he should understand that what he just killed wanted to live as badly as he does, and that he should feel sorrow as well as triumph. Other children will not relish death. If they kill, they will likely be saddened by it. This is natural too. Some youngsters are horrified by death and by the prospect of causing it. They are not meant to be hunters.
Make it clear to your kids that if they are not willing to give their all to becoming competent with gun or bow, they have no business afield. Explain to them also that if they hunt enough, they are eventually going to wound something, and it is going to escape to suffer. It may take two seasons for this to happen, or 50, but it is going to happen. All they can do is work at becoming as skilled as possible and hope it doesn’t. __ Teaching Your Child to Kill
Learning the Skills Without Killing
Just as a master fisherman can practise “catch and release” methods without killing the fish, so can skilled hunters be satisfied with nothing more than great wildlife photos taken inside the natural range of his chosen prey. In the same manner, very skilled birders must learn all the skills of a good hunter to catch his most elusive prey on film or video.
Dangerous Children will need to learn to kill as part of their training. If the child can not actually bring himself to make the kill, he will have chosen a different branch in the road of Dangerous Child training — which will probably involve less training in the violent arts than most DCs obtain.
Here is another list of benefits to youth learning to hunt:
Self-reliance: When children know how to hunt, they’ll always have a way to feed themselves, even if the unthinkable happens. They will not be stuck, relying on others to obtain food. Food cycle: When kids learn to hunt, they gain an understanding of the food cycle. Without hunting, many children never connect the meat on their dinner plate to a living, breathing animal. Love of the outdoors: If hunting does anything for a child, it instills a love of outdoors and a wonder at the majesty of nature. It teaches them to respect and appreciate the woods, water, and fields. Rite of passage: For many hunting families, learning to hunt is a rite of passage. It may be the first time a child’s allowed at hunting camp during rifle season or that he has his own hunting gear. It’s an easy way to show a child you recognize he’s growing up and ready for more responsibility. Cost savings: Although there’s a start-up cost and a yearly license fee, eating meat you harvest through hunting is an affordable way to eat healthier and save money. Bonding: When you’re teaching children to hunt, it’s more about being together than hunting. You’re building memories, enjoying days spent together, and having experiences that can’t be found within city limits. Health benefits: Hunting gets you outdoors and spending time in nature does great things for both your body and mind. It’s known to reduce stress, decrease blood pressure, and lead to more mindfulness. Fitness and exercise: While you don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to enjoy hunting, you do have to be relatively physically fit. You have to walk distances, climb through brush and up mountains, and drag large game with nothing but a rope. Getting children involved in hunting shows them the importance of staying fit and creates a fun way to exercise. Food safety: When it comes to what’s in commercial meat, it’s scary. Artificial preservatives, hormones, and antibiotics just top the list. But when children provide themselves with meat from a hunting harvest, they’re getting nothing but naturally fed meat. Life skills: Hunting is more than sport; it’s a lesson in life. It helps youth develop character strengths such as discipline, patience, confidence, and endurance. It also teaches children how to deal with disappointment and move on to try again. Unplugged: In this high-tech world, children are constantly plugged in. At school, they read on tablets. At home, it’s virtual reality games, and at the mall, it’s smart phones and iPods. Hunting gives children an escape from electronics and having to be in the know every minute of every day. It allows kids to unplug and just be.
The art of stalking and making a kill requires a heightened awareness of yourself and the environment around you. A hunter that is unaware of his surrounding may end up being the prey of a more deadly predator than himself. Or he may suffer a serious accident that was completely unnecessary.
As the child grows older, he learns that the world holds a lot more dangers than he might have been told about as a child. Recent vicious attacks by leftists against peaceful political rallies and public speakers reveals a hidden hostility and violence that dwells covertly inside persons of all societies and all classes. Journalists within the news and entertainment medias are beginning to display much of this previously hidden viciousness when pushed out of their ideological comfort zones.
It is not enough these days to simply avoid known danger zones and “no-go” areas. Trouble can follow you to your own front door, and beyond. Situational awareness, mastery of hunting skills, and physical fitness combined with quick reaction training are indispensible.
The US Government School System is Designed to Ruin Young Lives
But if some of the fatal bureaucracy can be dismantled long enough to insert some opportunity-boosting knowledge systems in place of the mind-destroying indoctrination centres, at least a few islands of competence may well spring up in unexpected places.
The Utica Shale Academy provides a unique and vigorous learning environment through a specialized academic program which responds to employers’ and industries’ current and emerging and changing global workforce needs and expectations through business/school partnerships.
The school’s overall goal is for students to develop work habits that foster independence, self-awareness, and commitment to personal growth, as well as achieve competency in industry and academic standards. USA’s mission statement is backed by their oil and gas industry centered curriculum. The following is an example of a course in the program:
Introduction to Well Control. This self-paced interactive multimedia program takes a rig hand through the basic concepts of well control in an easy to understand, straight-forward manner. Course objectives include: Well Control Equipment, Units of Measure, Hydrostatic Pressure, Pressure Balance, Causes of Kicks, Controlling the Well, and Restoring the Well.
Other sample courses, each with unique objectives, are:
IADC Rig Pass: A basic orientation of rig operations and safe work practices. (IADC RigPass certificate available).
Introduction to Petroleum Industry DIT: This course is designed for individuals that are interested in a comprehensive understanding of the upstream and downstream operations of the petroleum industry.
Introduction to Petroleum Industry DIT Drilling Focus: This course is designed for individuals that are interested in a comprehensive understanding of the upstream operations of the petroleum industry with a focus on drilling.
Introduction to Petroleum Industry DIT Production Focus: This course is designed for individuals that are interested in a comprehensive understanding of the downstream operations of the petroleum industry with a focus on production.
USA students graduate with a high school diploma, but the school’s specialized and other related courses lead students to a number of certifications necessary to enter the oil and gas marketplace. The photo at the top of the article shows USA students visiting a well site.
USA opened its doors in 2014 with an initial enrollment of 43 students; by its second year, 71 students had enrolled. The oil and gas industry is taking note of USA’s program, which was recently recognized by the trade publication, Pipelines Connection Magazine. More information on the Utica Shale Academy can be found on its website.
Another Ohio charter school, the Ohio Valley Energy Technology Academy (OVETA) in Jefferson County, is a year younger than USA, but has a similar education program tied to the oil and gas industry. In its 2015-2016 annual report, OVETA explains how it meets its educational challenges:
The structure of OVETA is very student driven and provides a blended learning atmosphere that incorporates core courses with added education to prepare students for the workforce…. Students punch a time clock and learn the importance of knowing and keeping a schedule just like on a job site.
OVETA held its first graduation ceremony in May 2016, when five seniors were awarded diplomas.
Practical Skills Training Prepares Youth for Immediate Substantive Income
Most US youth are subjected to a “college prep” curriculum, although only roughly 25% of them are suited for a rigorous 4 year college degree. We have revealed how well trained, competent 18 year old welders can make well over $100,000 a year from his 18th birthday onward. But welding is only one of the much-in-demand skills which do not require an expensive 4-year college degree, and which pay a high enough salary for a smart youth to begin investing for the future in earnest, from a relatively young age. Contrast such a positive start to adult life with the more common decades of debt that confront the average youth who attempts to complete a (worthless) 4 year degree for which he is not suited.
This Type of Program Should be the Rule, Not the Exception:
Jason Gresham has been shaping the lives and careers of high school students in DeSoto County for 15 years. Gresham averages between 30 and 40 high school students every school year. The students range in age from 16 to 18, with the majority of his class members either juniors or seniors looking for a career in industry-rich Mississippi.
He teaches the basics, starting students with stick welding and cutting torches because he believes a good foundation is the start to a career in welding. As the semester continues, the students progress into MIG and then TIG processes.
But in today’s multi-faceted world, his class does not end with welding alone. To ensure his students are sought-after prospects in the real world, Gresham’s high school class is a revamped collection of disciplines that include machine shop, sheet metal work and welding.
“We focus on these high school students to give them a real sense for what type of skills are marketable, what they must have in the workplace,” says Gresham. “Metal fabrication calls for more than one skill today, unlike what it used to be. We teach these kids how to do it all inside the Career Tech Center Metal Fabrication shop.” __ Source
Young people need to be given a foundation of competence as they set out to live their lives, not a foundation of debt and indoctrination. Government schools in the US destroy more lives than they help. This tragedy results from a corrupt ideological system of educational bureaucracy that has been badly in need of overhaul for the past 55 years. Perhaps a President Trump can “drain the swamp,” kill the bureaucratic zombies and lobbyists of DC, and begin to build a system that instills competence and earned confidence.
And now we have Trump. He was elected to drain the swamp. He may be our last hope to tip the Big Club over a cliff. __ Canadian Radical Press
Big Government Stifles Opportunity and Destroys the Future
The fear of big government is near a record high in the US, despite the election of populist presidential candidate Donald Trump.
As businessman Donald Trump prepares to become the nation’s 45th president, Americans continue to express more concern about the threat big government poses to the U.S. than big business or big labor. Two in three Americans (67%) identify big government as the country’s biggest threat. That is below the record high of 72% in 2013 but still on the higher end of the range since the mid-1960s. __ Mish
Big government siphons capital and talent out of the innovative and productive sectors into the stagnant quagmire of corrupt rent-seeking. This can only create long-term decay from massive debt and a decline of demographic quality — which is exactly what the US has been seeing under the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama cabal.
After many years of living under an overbearing nanny government system, populations become dependent — with many of their natural competencies atrophying and diminishing to mere vestiges. Eventually, these lifelong adolescents cannot live without the things big government supplies them.
Dangerous Children Can Live Without Big Government
From the earliest age, Dangerous Children are exposed to situations and environments which help them build their natural competencies. Beginning with the most basic and fundamental of skills, then branching into more sophisticated and powerful capacities to act, Dangerous Children learn to make their way in a world of their own devising.
Here are a Few Basic Skills Dangerous Children Must Learn Before the Age of 15 Years:
Some of the skills below involve interacting with other people, and others involve the mastery of the self. These are basic skills which must be mastered before the final three years of formal Dangerous Child training, which prepare youth for financial, intellectual, and emotional independence.
1. How to tell the truth
Be honest about your own mistakes and learn from them.
2. How to receive criticism
Accept criticism from your mentors humbly, even when you may feel there are mitigating circumstances. Grow beyond the defensive stage where you feel you must justify sub-par performance.
3. How to break the ice in unfamiliar situations
When asking “open-ended questions,” make sure not to be patronising or to feign simple-mindedness. Think first. Know when to be direct and when to take a more roundabout approach.
4. How to ask for something you want
If you don’t muster up the courage to request an opportunity, special training, or a spot on an expedition, you have no chance of getting it.
“The more you put yourself in uncomfortable situations, the more likely you’ll decide they’re not that uncomfortable after all.”
5. How to keep your promises
Maybe you told a friend you’d show up to his birthday party, or maybe you agreed to finish an extra assignment for your coach/mentor. Whatever the situation, you should make good on your word.
“Break [your promise] and people lose trust and faith in you, which, over time, is very hard to mend,” Hoffman says.
6. How to communicate effectively
No matter your career field is to be, you can always improve the way you speak and write.
“Think about ways to challenge yourself and tweak how you write an email or behave in a meeting,” the anonymous user suggests.
Here’s an example: “During your next team meeting, resist talking about your idea or opinion right off the bat. Instead, count to five, and if you still feel like you have something relevant to contribute, speak up. On the flip side, if you’re shy, challenge yourself to say what you’re thinking, instead of remaining silent.”
7. How to be resilient
The rest of your life is bound to include setbacks, sadness, and frustration (in addition to joy and excitement!). Carolyn Cho says you should use your early adulthood to figure out how to recover from mishaps:
9. How to live within your means
Youth and young adults must think carefully about all their expenditures:
“Luxuries are a wonderful thing only if you can truly afford them. Don’t be a slave to funding a lifestyle that will not last. Learn to live modestly and save up, and then you will have earned the right to purchase yourself some treats, in moderation.”
10. How to deal with rejection
Life is full of challenges. Not every venture will work out. The only way to avoid rejection is to avoid risk, and that is not an option for Dangerous Children.
11. How to learn without a textbook
Studying shouldn’t be limited to your time in school. It “can be anywhere, anytime, and with anyone,” writes Lenny Kho. “Keep your mind wide open.”
You should always be seeking out new ways to expand your mind. Read books, practice speaking foreign languages, or take music lessons — whatever excites you most.
12. How to accept the possibility of change
Research by psychologist Dan Gilbert suggests that we have a hard time imagining how much we’ll change in the future.
So it makes sense that Choi says, “It’s near impossible to plan where you’ll be a few years from now.”
Choi uses his own trajectory as an example. During college he studied engineering, and he never imagined he’d move to rural Eastern Europe to harvest corn afterward — but he did. While living in Europe, he never thought he’d later move to a fancy building in New York City — but that’s exactly what happened.
Expect to be surprised by the future.
13. How to make a decision
Pretend somone’s holding a gun up to your head and giving you 15 seconds to make a decision. You’ll definitely be able to choose something — and it will release a lot of pressure.
14. How to sell yourself
This skill isn’t just for professional salespeople.
“Being able to sell yourself to others is a vital skill in any area of life,” writes Lukas Schwekendiek. “In the working business you have to sell yourself to clients and potential employers. In finding a partner you must sell yourself to the person and your potential benefit to their life.”
Try telling a story about yourself, since it will be easier for people to remember. And make sure that story sparks conversation among your listeners.
15. How to negotiate
One strategy is getting people to say “no” when you want them to ultimately say “yes.” For example, when you’re negotiating the terms of a job and not getting your way, you can ask the hiring manager, “Do you want me to fail?” The answer is, obviously, no — and from there, you can start pushing for what you need.
16. How to listen without speaking
M. Malhan writes: ‘By training yourself to be a better and ACTIVE LISTENER, you will be able to communicate more effectively and develop better relationships in life.”
As Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Local, previously told Business Insider, listening is the most important — and most underrated skill — in business and in life.
If you want to develop your own active listening skills, try “mindful conversation.” Two people pair up and one person speaks for a set time period while the other is completely silent. Then, the second person reflects on what the first person said until the first person feels satisfied. Finally, the two people switch roles.
The goal of mindful conversation is to have less superficial interactions, to instead have interactions that leave you feeling like you and your conversation partner really understood each other.
17. How to be patient
Take a tip from Steve Kobrin: “Good things simply do not happen overnight. They take time to nurture and cultivate. They take a lot of work. A lot of thought. A lot of trial and error, and learning from your mistakes.”
Note that the article excerpted and paraphrased above was written for young adults in their 20s. But as we never tire of saying, if you wait until a person is a young adult before teaching them to be generally and broadly competent, you have waited too late. Instead of a competent society, you will harvest a society of perpetual adolescents, psychological neotenates, academic lobotomates, and a general mass of people eternally lost at sea.
And with that kind of population, the best kind of government you can ever hope for is a corrupt and stifling nanny state, that will eventually collapse of its own incompetence — in other words, something like what the US was rapidly becoming under Obama, and would certainly have become under Ms. Hillary P. Clinton.
Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood.
Life is inherently unpredictable. We must constantly act in the face of imperfect information, which means that we are always at risk of betting wrong — and failing. This is simply the nature of the universe, and the human condition. It is a reality that courageous humans learn to face head-on — but which cowardly rent-seekers attempt to evade by using the coercion of governments, gangs, and mobs.
Normal risk-taking ranges from the financial to the existential, and can be quite stressful unless a child is raised to carry a core of stability within himself. The development of such inner competencies are an essential part of Dangerous Child training.
Emotional Balance and the Sentic Cycles
Normal human emotions range across a broad and deep spectrum, and are experienced automatically in response to both internal and external events. These emotions can be pleasant, neutral, or unpleasant. In the Dangerous Child Method for training risk-takers, none of these normal emotions are denied or blocked. Instead, they are recognised and incorporated into everyday experience.
One of the most useful methods for utilising the broad range of emotions is called “Sentic Cycles,” developed by Dr. Manfred Clynes — a musician and neuroscientist. The Sentic Cycles are integrated into emotional exercises which persons regularly perform on their own, in order to better integrate and calibrate their emotions into their daily lives. More:
Sentic Cycles lets you generate and express your emotions in a series, as a spectrum, your emotion ‘symphony’, so you tend to become free from emotional rut – being stuck in one emotion
– and be in touch with your real self – not overwhelmed by single emotion (yet able to savour them all as in music).
It takes only 10 minutes to learn to do it – and then you may benefit from doing it anytime the rest of your life – as long as human nature does not change! Anyone can do it.
… We all tend to be prisoners of emotion more than we may wish to be. Emotions make life enjoyable and meaningful, but not if you are in an emotional rut, where a particular, most often negative, emotion takes over, and makes it hard to get out of, even temporarily. Often such negative emotions are suppressed, but still interfere with function and freedom of experience.
Sentic Cycles allow you to experience and express all such emotions more constructively, without being overwhelmed by them. Like music, like an artistic experience, the emotion becomes an example of your own humanity: it allows you to savour that emotion as one that is shared by humanity. At the end of the Sentic Cycle you may feel a sense of belonging, a sense of being glad to be alive.
It takes about 25 minutes to go through the entire cycle, if done according to the standard procedure developed by Dr. Clynes. As described on the website above, the Sentic Cycles are immensely useful for virtually everyone.
What is not always readily apprehended however, is that the cycles can be adapted for specific uses that are customised for each individual. This adaptibility to the individual is immensely useful for Dangerous Child training, since no two children are exactly alike, and no two trainings are precisely the same.
Here is an intriguing comment from Don O’Brien, a former trainer of Sentic Cycles, referring to the use of Sentic Cycles to treat addictions:
What causes any psychological addiction is unimportant. Perform Sentic Cycles at least five times. During the Hate phase hate every aspect about whatever addiction you want to stop. You will soon no longer have the urges, and will actually notice the absence of urges. As you continue to do cycles regularly, your mixed up emotions, often caused by lying to yourself, will sort themselves out very soon, too.
I worked for Manfred Clynes in Sydney in the eighties, and over the decades have taught dozens how to cure their own addiction quickly…without a relapse. While performing sentic cycles, you become your own best therapist, because you cannot lie to yourself comfortably while doing one.
Each phase is experienced on its own, in its own particular way. The phases are placed in their specific order for a purpose, which is better understood after one has practised the cycles over a period of weeks or longer.
By calibrating and integrating these human emotions into a Dangerous Child’s everyday experience, he learns how to utilise them in the course of performing essential tasks — including risk-taking activities which might otherwise prove overwhelming for most untrained children.
The Dangerous Child Method integrates a few more emotions than the basic list above — depending upon the child — but maintains the basic order of experience, which has proven extremely useful. As mentioned in Don O’Brien’s comment, each phase can be modified to achieve specific goals within that particular emotion’s domain.
Entrepreneurs are Universal Risk Takers
All Dangerous Children are trained in the entrepreneurial skills. Entrepreneurship is best considered as a behaviour: “judgmental decision making under uncertainty.” (Source Peter Klein Chapt 9)
Since virtually all decision-making is necessarily done under conditions of some uncertainty, virtually the whole of meaningful life involves entrepreneurial risk, with some emotional overtones. And thus the importance of training Dangerous Children in the experience of the wide range of emotions at a very young age — to insert a core of emotional stability within the Child’s heart, well before it would generally be considered necessary by conventional child psychologists or early childhood educators.
For children before the onset of puberty, the “sexual desire” emotion is replaced by a “physical excitement” emotion such as what is experienced on a roller coaster, a zip line, an elevated rope swing, etc. This substitution reflects the malleable nature of the sentic cycles, which allows them to be customised to suit particular needs and goals.
Skip forward to around 6:10 in the video above to the start of Adam Gazzaley’s (MD, PhD) talk on his quest to optimise the human mind using advanced tools of cognitive neuroscience.
Gazzaley’s lab at UCSF is working to enhance brain function using sophisticated technologies capable of observing the brain at work, and of helping individuals to achieve more with their brains than they currently can do.
The lab designs video games that are based upon real-time neurofeedback. The player’s brain reacts instantly to events in the game — and the game reacts to what is happening in the brain. Gazzaley describes this videogame neurofeedback learning process as a “closed loop system” (see image below).
Much of the experimentation with these neurofeedback videogames has focused on combat-oriented training, being funded by the US Pentagon. But a moment’s reflection suggests that this “closed loop neurofeedback videogame” approach to brain training could be readily applied — with appropriate adaptation — to humans at almost any age, for multiple purposes of enhanced development, enhanced performance, rehabilitation after injury or disease, or for mitigation of the effects of ageing and neurodegeneration.
Gazzaley’s published efforts are so far still quite primitive, but the possibilities for the future are impressive on many fronts.
Modern societies have grown stagnant and corrupted by a widespread philosophy of rent-seeking, of minimising risk for the sake of long-term security. This philosophy is the opposite of what we at the Dangerous Child Institutes train and teach. We train contrarian thinkers to develop a broad range of skills and competencies which build self-confidence. This self-confidence fuels innovative thinking and risk taking — which are what drives societies to be great.
We are on record as opposing passive popular entertainments for children such as mainstream television and cinema. The developing mind has enough to do without being stuffed full of the low-quality nonsense that movie and television producers crank out for popular consumption.
We are also not enthusiastic about most popular video games and the modern obsession with electronic social media, which takes away from time that would be better spent developing competence in movement, music, language, pattern, and practical skills of all kinds. Electronic gadgets also tend to alienate children from their immediate environments, which can be a deadly failing in many situations.
But real-time EEG and MRI neurofeedback — particularly when combined with sophisticated virtual reality — is different, and holds the potential for enhancing brain function for general learning and for perfecting specific types of tasks.
The brains of children are naturally attracted to play and games of all kinds. The danger that the child will become lost in some types of game-playing is quite real, in the modern age of abusive commercial and ideological child baiting. But if game-playing is used to drive learning and competence-building, the natural child’s drive to play can be used to motivate him to build parts of his brain that can bootstrap later learning which might have otherwise been very difficult to achieve.
Again, even videogames that are used in training skills and competencies should be used sparingly, so as not to create barriers between the child and the real world around him. The competence and confidence for working within the real world is what Dangerous Child training is meant to build.
Teachers, parents, mentors, and coaches cannot ignore developments in advanced applied cognitive neuroscience. Every child runs up against barriers to some subject area of learning or another. Clever and timely use of closed-loop videogame training can help move a child from one learning plateau to a higher plateau — enabling a new and higher world of competence on the road to mastery.
The children themselves are as cunning and good as possible. Ted is nearly as tall as I am and as tough and wiry as you can imagine. He is a really good rider and can hold his own in walking, running, swimming, shooting, wrestling, and boxing. Kermit is as cunning as ever and has developed greatly. He and his inseparable Philip started out for a night’s camping in their best the other day. A driving storm came up and they had to put back, really showing both pluck, skill and judgment. They reached home, after having been out twelve hours, at nine in the evening. Archie continues devoted to Algonquin and to Nicholas. Ted’s playmates are George and Jack, Aleck Russell, who is in Princeton, and Ensign Hamner of the Sylph. They wrestle, shoot, swim, play tennis, and go off on long expeditions in the boats. Quenty-quee has cast off the trammels of the nursery and become a most active and fearless though very good-tempered little boy.
The Roosevelt children learned to swim, shoot, wrestle, box, boat, rough camp, and go on tough outdoor expeditions on their own at quite an early age.
The Roosevelt household was famously rambunctious…
All the Roosevelt boys learned to shoot from a relatively early age, and they became better shots than their big-game hunting father…
The Roosevelts were literary as well as outdoorsy. Father and all his children, if they were not gripping reins or a rifle, hiking or running, swimming or boxing, were probably reading…
… with the US declaration of war in April 1917… Roosevelt himself tried to [join the army] … every one of his sons took a commission. __ The Yanks are Coming
Two of the Roosevelt boys were seriously wounded in WWI, and the youngest, Quentin, was shot down and killed in an aerial dogfight, receiving the Croix de Guerre posthumously. Quentin had been fearless from his earliest childhood, and retained great courage and flair to his death at age 20.
The Cspan video below goes into more detail about Quentin and the Roosevelt children:
The three surviving Roosevelt sons also fought in WWII, with only Archibald surviving to see the final defeat of the Axis.
Alice Roosevelt Longworth was an ambassador for her father and later in life, a colorful Washington, D.C. doyenne who earned the moniker, “The Other Washington Monument”; Theodore “Ted” Roosevelt, Jr., born in 1887, was a noted political and business leader who fought in both the World Wars and posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his actions on Utah Beach during the D-Day landings in World War II; Kermit Roosevelt, born in 1889, was an explorer, soldier, writer and businessman who joined his father on African safari and on the fateful River of Doubt expedition in Brazil; Ethel Roosevelt Derby, born in 1891, was a pioneering World War I nurse and Red Cross volunteer who later led the successful campaign to preserve Sagamore Hill; Archibald Roosevelt, born in 1893, was a distinguished Army officer who was seriously wounded in battle during both World Wars and also was a successful businessman; Quentin Roosevelt, born in 1897, said to be the child most like Roosevelt, dropped out of Harvard to volunteer as a pilot during World War I, and died heroically in battle at age 20. __ The Dangerous Family Man
The Dangerous Roosevelt Children died young and died old, happy and sad — just as the masses of humans die. But during their lifetimes they packed their time full of accomplishment and principled risk.
Were the Roosevelt Children Really Dangerous Children?
Perhaps it would be better to think of them as Dangerous Child prototypes, much like the real world heroic figures such as Davy Crockett, Ernest Shackleton, Sir Richard Burton, or Roald Amundsen. Such men lived in different times and faced different sets of challenges than will face the modern Dangerous Child. But they were made of similar grit, wit, and resilient toughness.
A thorough study of the lives of such men is an integral part of Dangerous Child training, from before the time the child takes his first step or his first leap off into the deep water. Such early immersion in real world courage will serve the child far better in the quest to find his own inner strength than the farcical “superhero” characters and magical mentors of childhood fiction that lead the delicate snowflakes into an extended “make believe world of perpetual childhood.”
Throughout the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, the type of child-raising described above was rather common in Canada, the US, Australia, and other parts of the Anglosphere among almost all economic classes. Despite a growing prosperity, the pioneering spirit was still strong throughout most of these societies. From the lowest to the highest in society, a rough and ready — while also literate — upbringing was not considered out of the ordinary.
That is one reason why German military and political leaders were so surprised at the aggressiveness and effectiveness of the soldiers and marines from the Anglospheric diaspora, when they attacked German positions in large numbers in 1917. Although these youngsters had not been raised in the regimented Prussian manner of the German troops, they took to battle quite naturally and surprised the well-entrenched enemy with their fearlessness and deadly accuracy of aim.
The modern Dangerous Child requires more than the physical toughness, sharp mental independence, and broad range of knowledge and competence displayed by the Roosevelt children. He must know how things work at the deepest levels, and how to reach into the workings so as to make crucial changes at the proper times. The election of Donald Trump as US president-elect gives the rational world a bit more time and several less drastic options than would otherwise have been the case. But some difficult choices are coming for those with the will and the way to open pathways to a more abundant and expansive human future.
If you are young and not Dangerous, your dreams and passions are almost certainly pathetic shite. If you are not Dangerous, you have probably never been exposed to the full-spectrum world out there. So, here’s a word of advice: Don’t follow your passion. Discover the real world first, then you can start to work out how you might fit in that world.
Mike Rowe is a TV personality who championed the concept of “dirty jobs” — jobs that frighten or repel most people, need to be done, typically pay well, and are very low down on the list of most persons’ “dream jobs.”
Mike Rowe has a foundation, the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting “skills jobs,” work that doesn’t require a 4 year college diploma — but instead requires real world competence and skills.
* A trillion dollars in student loans.
* Record high unemployment.
* Three million good jobs that no one seems to want.
The mikeroweWORKS Foundation started the Profoundly Disconnected® campaign to challenge the absurd belief that a four-year degree is the only path to success. The Skills Gap is here, and if we don’t close it, it’ll swallow us all. Which is a long way of saying, we could use your help… __ MikeRowWORKS Foundation
Skilled workers are growing closer to retirement age. Farmers, welders, skilled construction workers, skilled maintenance workers, and a host of other pivotal “dirty jobs” requiring competence and expertise are growing older and retiring. They are not being replaced fast enough with good enough young replacements.
… the hardest segment of the workforce for employers to staff with skilled talent hasn’t been registered nurses or engineers or even web developers. It’s been the skilled trades – the welders, electricians, machinists, etc. that are so prevalent in manufacturing and construction.
But if these skilled-trades workers are difficult to find now, as Manpower MAN +2.25%’s survey indicates, just wait a few years. The skills gap is likely to become more acute.
In 2012, 53 percent of skilled-trade workers in the U.S. were 45 years and older, according to EMSI, and 18.6 percent were between the ages of 55 and 64. (We are using the Virginia Manufacturers Association’s definition of skilled trades, which encompasses 21 particular occupations.) __ Joshua Wright
Too many young people cannot focus on one thing long enough to develop competent expertise, cannot go long enough without using drugs to pass either a scheduled or a random urine test, and cannot be trusted with hazardous machinery, materials, or tools. But if young people were exposed to the real world of responsibilities and consequences early enough to understand what it takes to earn, save, and go independent — their attitudes might well undergo a significant adjustment for the better.
A lot of the “dirty-jobs” people that Rowe highlighted on his TV show were multi-millionaires. The money goes to where needs are filled, and glamour often doesn’t enter into it.
Rowe is an advocate for blue-collar workers and is the CEO of the MikeRoweWorks Foundation, which he started in 2008 to help connect people with skilled jobs. Rowe also uses it to challenge, what he calls, America’s “dysfunctional relationship with work.” __ Source
Mike Rowe has some unconventional ideas which could contribute to the improvement and prosperity of virtually any country’s educational policies. And he offers these ideas freely to every US president — whether Democrat or Republican.
“When the dust settles, and The White House gets a new tenant, I’ll make the same offer to President Trump that I did to President Obama — to assist as best I can in any attempt to reinvigorate the skilled trades, and shine a light on millions of good jobs that no one seems excited about pursuing,” he said. __ Variety
Mike Rowe wants to match people with jobs. But he also wants to improve skills training in the US, starting at the high school age level. Because of this and many of his other ideas, Rowe is light years ahead of most of his contemporaries in television and the entertainment media when it comes to contributing to useful change.
Mike Rowe goes beyond the surface fluff of politics, media, academia, and activism, and gets down and dirty in the real world. He is opening minds one by one. Perhaps if President-Elect Trump decides to give him a louder voice, he can open more minds and empower more people to develop practical skills and find ways of using them profitably. Still, there are a lot of things that Mike Rowe knows which he cannot easily communicate to modern youth and workers, raised as they have been in a milieu of short-attention-span frivolity and superficiality. But he does us all a service by continuing in what he is doing.
Dangerous Children Start Earlier and Go Much Farther
Dangerous Children know more than just blue collar skills, of course, although they cannot achieve their fullest potential without developing a wide range of practical skills and competencies — regardless of what careers, professions, vocations, and working pathways they may choose. And Dangerous Children have the utmost respect for other people who master practical skills, do dirty jobs, run their own businesses, and personally keep communities and societies running through their own competence.
But somebody needs to go beyond the way things are and how they could be better. Someone must understand how the larger workings might break and how to build the parallel infrastructures and disruptive intermeshing technologies that would allow societies to re-form and self-organise along more practical and self-sustaining and self-reforming avenues of development.
This is a higher level of the “dirty job” concept, but sooner or later it will be needed.
Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late (or early) to have a Dangerous Childhood.
Whales and dolphins live underwater but must come to the surface periodically to breathe. They cannot allow both hemispheres of their brains to drop into deep sleep, else they may not wake to surface in time. Similarly, many birds undergo long migrations and other flights of long duration when they are unable to fall into deep sleep for long periods of time. Their brains are adapted to allow one hemisphere to stay awake while the other hemisphere gets much needed rest.
Can Humans Sleep With Half Their Brain Open?
The human brain, it turns out, is endowed with a less dramatic form of the unihemispheric sleep found in birds and some mammals. For humans, familiarity with a place breeds a deep night’s sleep.
When humans are sleeping in a strange environment — which happens very regularly to people who travel as a matter of course — it seems the left hemisphere is more vigilant to the environment, allowing the right hemisphere to snooze more deeply. More
The sleep scientists who discovered this unilateral phenomenon used advanced brain scanners, which allowed subjects to sleep inside them all night long.
… they found that the sleeping brains showed asymmetrical patterns of sleep activity, with one hemisphere humming along while the other slept. And while the sprightly hemisphere wasn’t fully awake, it was much more active than the other—even responsive to external stimuli. Subjects in the study experiencing FNE, for example, were jolted awake by “deviant” sounds. A creaking door perhaps. Or a shrieking animal. For most of the subjects, the night watchman hemisphere of their brain was the left side, for inexplicable reasons. __ PopSci
Even during their awake time, animals — and humans — often move through the world “half asleep.” The image of dolphins above shows how the brain allots its sleep/wake time according to three general hemispheric states: L awake/R asleep, R awake/L asleep, and both L and R awake. As mentioned above, as a matter of survival for dolphins, both L and R cannot sleep simultaneously, except for very short time periods. This means that casual observers may not notice whether a dolphin is half awake, or fully awake.
You might think that humans do not have this problem, since humans can usually sleep with both hemispheres at specific, designated times, leaving both hemispheres fully awake to deal with the world at the proper time. Except, it doesn’t always work that way. Individual (left or right) human hemispheres can exhibit signs of sleep while a person is nominally awake, for short times. Most people — even those who have not been forced to stay alert for very long stretches, or for odd hours — will be able to recall brain misfires and somnambulations while awake which are very difficult to explain.
Is Anyone Ever Completely Awake?
The video clip above from the movie “Limitless” is entirely fictional, and yet . . . anyone who is curious and pays just a little attention to the world will have experienced epiphanies — startling moments of exceptional awareness that emerge unsolicited from the depths. How can we seem awake, and then suddenly find ourselves watching our worlds from one or more levels higher up?
These states never seem to last very long, but they suggest the existence of a higher and deeper ocean of experience, in which most of us have only managed to dip our toes.
It is easy to imagine unihemispheric sleep in humans when the two hemispheres have been surgically disconnected from each other — as in “split brain patients.” Patients with uncontrollable epilepsy were sometimes “cured” of global seizures by severing the corpus callosum. Once disconnected, the two hemispheres will often go in different directions, attending to different things.
After the right and left brain are separated, each hemisphere will have its own separate perception, concepts, and impulses to act. Having two “brains” in one body can create some interesting dilemmas. When one split-brain patient dressed himself, he sometimes pulled his pants up with one hand (that side of his brain wanted to get dressed) and down with the other (this side didn’t). Also, once he grabbed his wife with his left hand and shook her violently, so his right hand came to her aid and grabbed the aggressive left hand. However, such conflicts are actually rare. If a conflict arises, one hemisphere usually overrides the other. __ Wikipedia Split Brain
A fascinating topic to be sure, but something similar can take place even when all anatomical connections within the brain remain intact. Such interhemispheric asynchrony has been observed in hypnosis — and anything that happens under formal hypnosis may also tend to happen spontaneously in ordinary life.
The Corpus Callosum is Larger in Women than Men
The more strongly the two hemispheres are connected to each other, the less likely that they will act independently of each other. It has been found that the two brain hemispheres not as strongly connected in men as they are in women.
In the entire sample (n= 316), controlling for brain size and age, the average CCA [corpus callosum cross sectional area] was significantly (P< 0.03) larger in females. The difference favoring females was more pronounced in the young adults cohort (P< 0.0005). These results provide strong additional evidence that the CCA is larger in females after correcting for the confounding effect of brain size. ___ http://cercor.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/08/09/cercor.bhs253.full
More, persons who are easily hypnotised — and can readily block pain perception under hypnosis — have been found to have larger corpus callosi, at least in the anterior portion.
Only the highly hypnotizable subjects (HHs) who eliminated pain perception were included in the present study. These HHs, who demonstrated more effective attentional and inhibitory capabilities, had a significantly (P < 0.003) larger (31.8%) rostrum, a corpus callosum area involved in the allocation of attention and transfer of information between prefrontal cortices, than low hypnotizable subjects (LHs). These results provide support to the neuropsychophysiological model that HHs have more effective frontal attentional systems implementing control, monitoring performance and inhibiting unwanted stimuli from conscious awareness, than LHs. __ http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/127/8/1741
Although superficial similarities between hypnosis and meditation are readily apparent, we should be aware of the important differences between the two things. Hypnosis can be thought of as a highly focused “spotlight,” while meditation more closely resembles a broadbeam “floodlight.” A hypnotic trance blanks out peripheral phenomena, including ordinary sensations such as pain, discomfort, or embarassment. Meditation — particularly mindfulness meditation — opens the portals of awareness to allow an “eagle’s eye view” of one’s internal and external setting.
Using hypnosis, one can “disconnect” different circuits of brain activity from each other, functionally, on a subconscious level. Mindfulness meditation enlarges the borders of consciousness to allow normally suppressed stimuli to reach mental awareness. At that point, the conscious mind can often sort the relevant from the irrelevant, and alter subsequent consciousness.
Who Wants to Bother with All This Hocus Pocus?
Very few people indeed. Most would rather pop a pill, swallow a draught, lose themselves in a social setting, or otherwise avoid the question of whether they are entirely sleepwalking through their lives — or only doing so halfway. But shouldn’t we want to train our children differently, to be less slaves of our trance states and more aware of their own decision making and life choices?
Fortunately, for the Tech-Oriented Parent, There is Neurofeedback
Neurofeedback uses brainwave and other neurofunctional real-time metrics to allow a person to shape the workings of his own brain. Neurofeedback has proven exceptionally effective for treating ADHD and for brain rehabilitation after injury. The technique has also been useful for treating addictions, depression, autism, migraines, and a range of other dysfunctional states.
And although there has not been much written on the use of neurofeedback for enlarging conscious awareness, a number of neuroresearchers are doing work on that very project. Although this is not exactly what I am referring to, consider:
A recent development in the field is a conceptual approach called the Coordinated Allocation of Resource Model (CAR) of brain functioning which states that specific cognitive abilities are a function of specific electrophysiological variables which can overlap across different cognitive tasks. The activation database guided EEG biofeedback approach initially involves evaluating the subject on a number of academically relevant cognitive tasks and compares the subject’s values on the QEEG measures to a normative database, in particular on the variables that are related to success at that task. __ Wikipedia Neurofeedback
Neurofeedback has also been used to improve the performances of musicians, dancers, actors, athletes, and other persons who make a living from highly focused skills.
Neurofeedback is readily distinguished from ordinary hypnosis and meditation by neurofeedback’s ability to monitor real-time brain activity in particular brain circuits and anatomical centres. “Conscious” influence on normally unconscious brain processes can then be observed and modified to suit the goals of clients and their parents.
The Objective is to Learn to Achieve States of Highly Functional Awareness
Dangerous Children learn to achieve heightened situational awareness (and mindfulness) as part of their training. This allows them to anticipate and deal with problems before they happen. The parents of many Dangerous Children in training may also opt for neurofeedback training, where it may be helpful.
The neurological signs of “sleeping while awake” can be too subtle for most available intruments used in everyday neurofeedback training. They also tend to be too fleeting and unpredictable to be easily addressed in most conventional programmes of neurofeedback.
But a careful human observer can usually catch another person who is falling into a trance, in most situations. That is where “life coaches,” parents, and mentors who have some training in Ericksonian hypnosis and similar trance-aware disciplines can make their mark on a Dangerous Child’s future ability to choose his own path on multiple time scales.
Parents of Dangerous Children Must Learn to Pay Attention
Raising a Dangerous Child is an exhausting prospect. Fortunately, Dangerous Children begin to take up the slack of their own training at a surprisingly early age. Even so, parents, coaches, mentors, and helpers need to keep their eyes open so as to be able to intervene at key developmental bifurcation points.
Some readers question whether very young children can truly learn simple rudiments of The Dangerous Child Method well before they are able to talk or form verbal concepts. This betrays a society-wide “tyranny of language” which has held human societies back for so long. Today we will begin to scrape the surface of concepts in pre-verbal, unconscious learning.
In Lower Animals, All Learning is Unconscious
The same is true of most learning in infants and toddlers. Children are born with instincts and rudimentary mental mechanisms, but these are unconscious. Before conscious awareness can develop, a scaffolding of unconscious learning must be built, at the same time as the brain itself is going through critical and sensitive periods of development. Young humans must undergo similar forms of early learning as animals — such as lab rats or pigeons — experience. This type of early unconscious learning is often referred to as “conditioning.”
Behaviourist Psychology dominated the field of psychological research and theory during the first half of the 20th century. Behaviourists felt that animals — including even adult humans — were largely unconscious, and their minds a jumble of conditioned reflexes and automatic responses. Two different — but related — types of conditioning were devised by Ivan Pavlov and BF Skinner.
Importantly, classical conditioning creates a paired link between an artificial stimulus and a preexisting innate response — bypassing the original natural stimulus. A good example of classical conditioning is Pavlov’s experiment pairing the ringing of a bell with the exposure of a dog to appetizing food. Soon, only the ring of the bell was necessary to make the dog salivate.
Operant conditioning seizes upon a particular behaviour (such as an animal exploring part of a maze), and either rewards or punishes the behaviour, depending upon the response the experimenter desires.
Consider “The Little Albert Experiment” and decide which type of unconscious conditioning is involved:
The Little Albert Experiment
Before the experiment, Albert was given a battery of baseline emotional tests: the infant was exposed, briefly and for the first time, to a white rat, a rabbit, a dog, a monkey, masks (with and without hair), cotton, wool, burning newspapers, and other stimuli. Albert showed no fear of any of these items during the baseline tests.
For the experiment proper, Albert was put on a mattress on a table in the middle of a room. A white laboratory rat was placed near Albert and he was allowed to play with it. At this point, Watson and Rayner made a loud sound behind Albert’s back by striking a suspended steel bar with a hammer each time the baby touched the rat. Albert responded to the noise by crying and showing fear. After several such pairings of the two stimuli, Albert was presented with only the rat. Upon seeing the rat, Albert got very distressed, crying and crawling away… In further experiments, Little Albert seemed to generalize his response to the white rat. He became distressed at the sight of several other furry objects, such as a rabbit, a furry dog, and a seal-skin coat, and even a Santa Claus mask with white cotton balls in the beard
… Albert’s conditioned fear was never extinguished. Although he probably continued to fear various furry objects for a time, he would likely have been desensitized by his natural environments later in life… __ Wikipedia “Little Albert Experiment“
Cognitive scientists at the Al Fin Institutes assert confidently that Little Albert is actually an example of operant conditioning, with the loud clanging used as an aversive stimulus or a form of punishment used to influence behaviour. The logic behind this claim is much cleaner and simpler than the convoluted argument in the link above.
Enough About Conditioning
Unconscious learning is far deeper and more complex than the elementary forms of conditioning introduced by Pavlov, Skinner, and Watson. Conditioning is about programming reflexive and involuntary behaviours in animals. But unconscious learning goes far beyond, involving complex cognitive mechanisms that the behaviourists could not have imagined. Example:
Here is a typical experiment that supports Reber’s theory of implicit learning. It comes from Dr. Pawel Lewicki of the University of Tulsa. He had volunteers try to predict where an X would appear on a computer screen, selecting one of four quadrants. The subjects pushed a button corresponding to the quarter of the screen where they predicted the X would appear next. The X followed a pattern determined by 10 simultaneous rules.
Lewicki offered $100 to anybody who could report the rules (after the experiment was over) but nobody could specify them. However, the volunteers became more and more successful with their predictions as the experiment went on. They sensed the pattern, whatever it was. Their predictions became more accurate until Lewicki suspended the rules and moved the X randomly, whereupon their performance dropped to pre-learning levels again (Goleman, 1992).
How did brain scans change as people practiced a simple motor skill?
At some point a person may grasp a pattern or make it conscious. This process can be traced in brain scans. Pascual-Leone, Grafman, and Hallett (1994) used a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to study this. They used a motor (movement) task and looked for changes in the motor cortex as subjects practiced.
The transition from unconscious knowledge to conscious knowledge and then automaticity showed up as a progression of changes in the brain scans. Initially, while subjects tried to figure out what they were supposed to do, cortical areas devoted to the task grew larger. The enlargement of these “output maps” increased until subjects achieved explicit knowledge of the task, becoming conscious of the pattern. After this, their reactions became more automatic, and the areas of brain activity shrank so that only a smaller area of cortex was active. __ http://www.intropsych.com/ch03_states/unconscious_learning.html
The more common term used for unconscious learning is “implicit learning.” Learning to speak one’s native language — at least in the early years — is an example of mostly implicit learning, as the basic “rules” of language are internalised without conscious intent by very young children. More:
Examples from daily life, like learning how to ride a bicycle or how to swim, are cited as demonstrations of the nature of implicit learning and its mechanism. It has been claimed that implicit learning differs from explicit learning by the absence of consciously accessible knowledge. Evidence supports a clear distinction between implicit and explicit learning; for instance, research on amnesia often shows intact implicit learning but impaired explicit learning. Another difference is that brain areas involved in working memory and attention are often more active during explicit than implicit learning. __ Wikipedia Implicit Learning
Note: The distinction between “consciously accessible knowledge” and “unconsciously accessible knowledge” is not always so clearcut, leading to intense but often meaningless arguments between psychological researchers.
Modern educational systems tend to focus on verbal learning styles, at the expense of visuo-spatial, musical, physical kinetic, pattern maths, and other forms of learning that can often lead to more innovative and disruptive destinations. It is no accident that female humans tend to — on average — do better at verbal tasks than do the masses of male humans. This is not true at the very highest levels of accomplishment, but that is another story that goes beyond the simple statistics used in modern educational research.
Dangerous Child Training Focuses on Pre-Verbal and Non-Verbal Forms of Learning
Much of the difficulty in explaining The Dangerous Child Method consists in the challenge of using words to describe non-verbal phenomena. Each child is unique from the outset, requiring much variety, careful trial and error, and close personal observation in the training of Dangerous Child foundations and skills at different levels of development.
Dangerous Children master at least three ways of supporting themselves financially by age eighteen. They are expert with a variety of methods of self and group defence. They speak at least three languages fluently, play multiple musical instruments, understand basic banking / investment / finance / trade / taxation, and will be able to make their own way through life and higher education without outside assistance.
Getting To That Point is Difficult, Since Parents Must Learn to Improvise
There is no single curriculum which will serve to educate every Dangerous Child. Nor is there any one single approach to child-rearing, discipline, or talent development that will serve everyone. This means that if parents decide to raise multiple Dangerous Children, they will need to adapt the method to each child as he reveals himself in development.
Parents must be prepared to offer a large number and variety of experiences, experiments, and projects to each child. And they must also be prepared to follow up on particularly promising experiments. Some experiences will cause the child to come alive and want to do nothing else. Such “golden” experiences can be very useful for motivating the child to do other experiments and projects which may not move the child nearly so well, at first.
Young children do not always see the need for variety, particularly when they have discovered something they already know that they like. Using “preferred activities” as rewards for doing more exploratory activities — or for delving into projects whose early stages are a bit tedious — will accomplish multiple ends.
First, using one skill-building activity to motivate another skill-building activity helps reveal to the parent more about how the child’s mind works. This will be useful for future structured explorations into skills training.
Second, piggy-backing on a pre-existing enthusiasm, children discover that new experiments that seemed unexciting at first can turn into experiences that generate a new enthusiasm.
Third, while diverted from the initial preferred activity, the child’s subconscious mind is devising better and more skillful ways to perform the preferred activity, while at the same time learning a new skill consciously.
The early years are quite tricky, since what is very exciting to a two year old can become old hat to a three or four year old. The skills and competencies that are being developed before the age of six or eight tend to be foundational skills. But they are critically important all the same.
Very few Mozarts, Nureyevs, or Michaelangelos reveal themselves before the age of six or eight. Albert Einstein was labled a “slow learner” in grammar school. Several fine symphony orchestra musicians began playing one instrument (often the piano) then switched to another instrument that made them famous. But the musical appreciation, movement training, practise in thinking things through, and the early musical instrument are all critical foundations to later development.
Early enthusiasms should be treated as foundational learning and as motivation for further development. If there is a long-term future in that early gold strike, it should become obvious as the child develops many additional skills, but keeps coming back to the mother lode.
When the child reaches the age of six to eight he will begin to select his own experiments
The prefrontal executive functions do not begin to develop and function well until around the age of seven or eight, for most children. They are not fully developed until adulthood, but by age eight the basic pattern has typically been set for that child.
The executive system is thought to be heavily involved in handling novel situations outside the domain of some of our ‘automatic’ psychological processes that could be explained by the reproduction of learned schemas or set behaviors. Psychologists Don Norman and Tim Shallice have outlined five types of situations in which routine activation of behavior would not be sufficient for optimal performance:[page needed]
Those that involve planning or decision making
Those that involve error correction or troubleshooting
Situations where responses are not well-rehearsed or contain novel sequences of actions
Dangerous or technically difficult situations
Situations that require the overcoming of a strong habitual response or resisting temptation.
Overcoming innate impulses can be almost impossible in children whose prefrontal executive functions are not well developed. In some research, executive function is up to 90% heritable. Compare that to IQ which is up to 80% heritable in mature adults.
Another perspective on the brain’s executive functions:
In the Harvard working group, executive functions primarily consist of working memory, inhibitory control, and mental flexibility.
So You Can See Why Parenting Very Young Dangerous Children is Such an Arduous Task
Parents of Dangerous Children must provide the executive function for the very young child, while exposing the child to the formative experiences and skill-building experiments/projects that will assist in the robust development of the child’s own executive functions. For most reasonably bright, healthy, and balanced children, all of this takes place almost automatically, within an environment of love and playfulness — for the very young child.
Most of a Dangerous Child’s schooling after the age of eight or ten is self-monitored and self-supervised (to a point), development of executive functions within the critical window of ages five to eight is crucial. But just as crucial is the development of basic skills and competencies which facilitate executive function training during the sensitive period.
In The Robinson Curriculum, students are taught to teach themselves
While the subject matter, can be mastered with or without a teacher, the student who masters it without a teacher learns something more. He learns to teach himself. Then, when he continues into physics, chemistry, and biology—which are studied in their own special language, the language of mathematics—he is able to teach these subjects to himself regardless of whether or not a teacher with the necessary specialized knowledge is present. Also, he is able to make use of much higher—quality texts — texts written for adults. __ Teach Them to Teach Themselves
From that “sink or swim” experience, it became very clear that the children could indeed swim very well. They learned early to teach themselves.
For Most Bright Children of Disciplined Parents, Executive Function Develops Almost Automatically
But that is no reason to ignore the process. Before the age of four or five, one does not attempt to teach executive functions directly — not before the sensitive period has had time to truly begin. But foundational skills can be taught. More on that later.
For many parents there can seem to be a divide between them and their kids’ lives – where their kids want to spend more and more time alternating between phone, tablet, Xbox, Wii, DSi and for some kids the usage of technology either borders on addiction or has tipped over into addiction. __ http://www.digitalparenting.ie/technology-addiction.html
There’s a reason that the most tech-cautious parents are tech designers and engineers. Steve Jobs was a notoriously low-tech parent. Silicon Valley tech executives and engineers enroll their kids in no-tech Waldorf Schools. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page went to no-tech Montessori Schools, as did Amazon creator Jeff Bezos and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
Many parents intuitively understand that ubiquitous glowing screens are having a negative effect on kids. We see the aggressive temper tantrums when the devices are taken away and the wandering attention spans when children are not perpetually stimulated by their hyper-arousing devices. Worse, we see children who become bored, apathetic, uninteresting and uninterested when not plugged in.
Arthur Robinson — creator of the Robinson Curriculum — has some simple and firm rules concerning electronic gadgets and devices:
There is no television in our home. We do have a VCR that was donated to the civil defense project. As a family we watch a video tape approximately once every six months. Television wastes time, promotes passive, vicarious brain development rather than active thought, and is a source of pernicious social contamination.
No child is allowed to use a computer until after he or she has completed mathematics all the way through calculus. (At one point Saxon calls for a little use of the hand-held calculator. I permit this, but only on a very few occasions.)
… People who can think do so with their brains. Surely their thoughts often lead to problems that require experimental test, and often computers are essential equipment in those experiments. The thinking, however, is done with the brain. The arithmetic ability involved in that thinking must also be in the brain during the thought process.
Needless to say, there were no videogames, no smartphones, no social media.
Researchers have linked social-media use with a host of typical teenage woes, including low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. The pressure of responding to texts and instant messages causes sleeplessness in teens. It’s hard to ace an exam when you’ve been up all night staring at a screen, wondering why your friends aren’t writing you back. __ http://www.city-journal.org/html/back-school-still-offline-14715.html
The rapid brain development that takes place in the formative years is too important to be wasted on frivolous pursuits that block opportunities for necessary foundational learning, and turn the child into passive receptacles for the use of societal puppet-masters. (Like their parents have become.)
We now know that those iPads, smartphones and Xboxes are a form of digital drug. Recent brain imaging research is showing that they affect the brain’s frontal cortex — which controls executive functioning, including impulse control — in exactly the same way that cocaine does. Technology is so hyper-arousing that it raises dopamine levels — the feel-good neurotransmitter most involved in the addiction dynamic — as much as sex.
These are good reasons for limiting — or prohibiting — the use of electronic gadgets and exposure to television and the internet for children whose brains are still in rapid development. This type of control is easier for home-schooled children who mainly socialise with other home-schooled children, but within the home it is possible for any parents who take the trouble to know and influence what is actually happening under their own roofs.
For Dangerous Children, the Stakes are Higher
Dangerous Children have very intense — but playful — upbringings. There are not many idle moments when the child is not either actively learning, or actively reflecting upon and applying things that he has learnt. Television, videogames, and social media often begin as ways of “killing time” and filling the idle minutes and hours. But soon they exert more and more control over one’s schedule and actually create more idle hours, afternoons and evenings, and entire weekends to be “killed.”
Many modern parents are okay with the use of electronic gadgets as “baby-sitters” and time-fillers for the developing minds of their young children. They will reap the result, and are unlikely to be happy with it.
Parents of Dangerous Children know better, because they want to make as close to optimal use of their child’s “growing brain time” as possible. That is why they choose to be parents of Dangerous Children in the first place.
Most children are not expected to play three musical instruments well, speak three foreign languages fluently, master a wide range of dangerous and potentially lethal skills and competencies, or master at least three means of achieving financial independence by age 18.
If you are contemplating Dangerous Child training for yourself or your child, it is best to understand the nature of the commitment before you begin. The brain — like the body — is shaped by its environments and its habits. Dangerous Children have to use this shaping to their long-term advantage.
The elitist “Masters of the Universe” in government, media, academia, big corporations, and other powerful cultural and societal institutions, simply want to stay in control. To them, your future and the future of your children have always been secondary to that goal, at best.
… if a historically vibrant portion of the population doesn’t feel as much desire to work, this could harm the economy’s future and the ability of government to use policy to create jobs. “That’s a big chunk of labor that could be used for something, and we’re not using it,” said Greg Kaplan, an economist at the University of Chicago who was not involved with the new research.
Boys and young men have been subjected to an education and child-raising that prepares them for nothing so much as a life of useless obsolescence. Everyone is complicit in this travesty, including parents, teachers, government bureaucracies, news & popular media, and a generally decadent culture.
Executive functions are typically developed before the age of 8, and are the foundation of mental and emotional development, and vitally important to life success.
Many observers of The Dangerous Child phenomenon focus on the lethal skills that Dangerous Children learn in the course of their training. But more important than the lethal (or even financial) skills are the character, emotional, and interactive skills. Here are a few:
Persistence and grit
The pre-frontal executive functions are more important to life success than IQ. Persistence and grit are foundational traits within the executive functions.
Another executive function, conscientiousness is a matter of honest character and integrity, of staying the course. An expansive and abundant human future can not be built on anything less.
Mastering your thoughts
This involves self-discipline and impulse control, another executive function. It is a necessary skill for the mastery of self-teaching, something that every Dangerous Child must learn to do early.
Finding answers on your own
This is a crucial aspect of self-teaching. Most questions are relatively trivial, with readily accessible answers to those who learn where to look.
Asking for help
Everyone runs into a wall from time to time. Knowing when to swallow one’s pride and ask for assistance can make the difference between stalling out, and moving forward stronger than ever.
A well-tuned and well-prepared mind knows how to watch and listen. This is where most ideas and opportunities are found
Knowing when to shut up
Talking too much blocks important observations and repels thoughtful persons around you.
Knowing when to speak up
Every Dangerous Child is a unique node of observation and thought. Potentially important ideas and observations need to be brought to the attention of others to whom they may be relevant.
Being present in the now
There is a time for daydreaming and a time for paying close attention. Dangerous Children will often place themselves in hazardous situations, where extreme vigilance is crucial
Minding your business
While being open to new ideas and observations, The Dangerous Child also knows how to ignore the extraneous
Say what you mean and mean what you say
Honest and succinct communication is priceless, particularly in tight situations
Positive self talk
The Dangerous Child must learn to understand and befriend himself, providing emotional support and recalibration on a regular basis
Learn time budgeting
The limiting nature of time is a difficult concept for most children. But for Dangerous Children in particular, the mastery of time is crucial to the development of multiple skills, competencies, and talents
Learn the value of sleep, exercise, a playful attitude, love of challenge, and good nutrition
Childhood learning is best done in an atmosphere of increasingly serious play. This involves an emotional balancing and mental focus that requires regular mental and physical re-charging and a healthful stressing.
These are just a taste of the important skills that pre-tween children must learn in order to prepare themselves for later skills learning. Demonstration of the pre-frontal executive functions are crucially important for later Dangerous Child training. If the child cannot be trusted with his hands, feet, or mouth, he cannot be trusted with a firearm or other lethal weapons or skills.
Note that the source article linked above is referring to skills that should be mastered by adults of all ages. While such skills may be helpful to learn in adulthood, if one waits that long to learn them he will have missed many priceless opportunities to learn, grow, and build. Dangerous Children have no need to suffer through a modern dysfunctional schooling and upbringing, only to be forced to unlearn all the indoctrination in adulthood.
The age of 12 is a magical time of life. Balanced on the pivot between childhood and the furious transition to adulthood often referred to as “adolescence,” a 12 year old requires skills that will help carry him through a transition like no other.
Here are a handful of vital skills that young transitional tweens will need to catapult-assist them along their formative ways:
Know how to clean up after yourself
Know how to grow and catch food, and prepare your own meals
Learn to easily move in and out of your comfort zones
Learn to promote yourself
Achieve mastery in a handful of unique skills that set you apart
Learn to easily network with mentors and like-thinking peers
Master the skills of creativity, from drawing to writing to tinkering to computer coding
Become comfortable inside your own skin — make friends with all of your emotions
Find a peaceful, solid place inside of you
Master skills of traveling by land, air, and sea
Become competent in managing money
Know from experience how to start and run a business
Learn advanced first aid, resuscitation, and rescue
Learn the safe handling, operation, and maintenance of firearms and other weapons
Master the skills of basic combat, evasion, and escape
Know how to set and meet a wide range of personal goals
Learn to get along in at least 3 languages besides your native tongue
Learn to find the answers to anything you need to know on your own
Be able to safely navigate any terrain, from the meanest inner city to the most inhospitable wilderness
Know how to get your ideas across in writing, speaking, and multi-media formats
Be in control of your own education in every sense of the word
Exceed the academic attainments of most modern high school graduates
These are a few things that all 12 year olds should perhaps know and be able to do. But they are only guidelines, and actually apply to an age range between 12 and 14. Dangerous Children learn a much deeper and broader set of skills, of course, but not everyone can be a Dangerous Child.
As we have mentioned many times, a Dangerous Child will have mastered at least three means to financial independence by the age of 18. The list of 12 year old skills above should help most readers better comprehend the trajectory of childhood learning that allows an 18 year old to reach the point of multiple independence.
Imagine a society where each young man and woman is competent to face life on his own terms. That is the world of the Dangerous Child.
Government functionaries live in fear of such a society. But you can live in it, if you choose.
Notice that the sources above refer to skills that “every 24 year old” should learn. Here at the Al Fin Institutes, we believe that if you wait until age 24 to learn these skills, you are more than half-way to a lifetime of perpetual adolescent incompetence.
Children deserve better than the half-assed approach to child-raising and education that most modern societies have settled for.
11 Micah gets going at 06:30, when most classmates are still sleeping off a late night of video games and social media.
Micah Amezquita is not like most sixth graders.
The 11-year-old recently started his own trash-can-toting business to make money so that he can start saving for college and become an aeronautical engineer.
His fledgling business, Curb Cans, provides the service of taking garbage and recycling bins to the curb and back again on trash day. Every Tuesday morning, Amezquita heads out in his neighborhood between 6:30 and 8 to take care of business before school.
Like most small businesses, Micah’s operation started slowly, and is building gradually. He is hard-working and positive, and is not afraid to set goals and follow through on them. These are qualities that most successful businessmen share.
Traits that Parents Should Encourage
1. Early Maturation — Early maturation puts people in the position to socialize with older, more established people. From mentorship to business dealings, a young mature person has more potential of being welcomed by successful people, resulting in exposure to real world dilemmas and an aspirational lifestyle early on.
2. Perseverance — Perseverance. Persistence. Tenacity. Whatever word you want to use, this trait is the most important to have if you’re going to be a successful entrepreneur. It doesn’t matter who you are or what company you started, I can guarantee that you’re going to face some low points and have days when you feel alone. When those days come, it’s the determination to reach a high point again that will get you to achieve your goals.
3. The Ability to Put Things in Perspective — Childhood adversity helps entrepreneurs keep things in perspective. When you think about it, experiencing real-life hardship makes all the other problems in life seem minute in comparison. Well, when running a startup you always need to keep things in perspective. From missing your target sales numbers to having key employees leave, problems will always arise and require you to put them in perspective not only for yourself, but your team as well.
4. Having Self Control — Playing off the ability to put things in perspective, childhood adversity most likely drummed up some extreme internal emotions that may never be provoked again. Although too much childhood adversity has correlation to opposite traits of these, most of the entrepreneurs that I know who faced something early on are able to express an incredible level of self-control. Making sacrifices, having difficult conversations, and locking in on your goal are all aspects that I’ve seen exemplified by successful entrepreneurs first hand. Source
Successful Small Business Ideas Vary With Time and Place
For many years, children could make extra money with a newspaper route, babysitting, a lemonade or cupcake stand, or other such modest and traditional endeavours. Times have changed, governments are more intrusive, and successful childhood entrepreneurs need to learn to work around the obstacles and red tape.
But sometimes it helps to look back at the money-making niches that earlier generations utilised:
To earn money, people:
1. Caught and sold fish, clams, and crabs
2. Made homemade fudge and sold it
3. Sold newspapers on the corner. Kids earned a little extra if they were promoted to “Corner Captain”, a sort of Great Depression multi-level marketing program where a kid brought in other kids to sell papers and earned a bit extra himself.
4. Started a lunch truck/wagon
5. Grew, picked, and sold berries
6. Road work
7. Shoveled snow on roads
8. Multiple part-time jobs, including housecleaning
9. Chopped wood or harvested driftwood
10. Made and sold handwoven baskets
11. Mowed lawns and other kinds of yard work
12. Door to door sales of things like shoes or sewing notions
13. Made deliveries for stores
14. Made and sold quilts
15. Sold homemade baked goods, like bread or pies
16. Sold eggs for 25 cents a dozen
18. Rented out rooms
19. Mended or altered clothes
20. Washed windows
21. Would purchase produce and re-sell door-to-door
22. Sold apples
23. Loaded coal
24. Piecework sewing
25. Sold homegrown produce
In every case it was a simple matter of looking around to see what people needed, what they wanted, what made them feel good about themselves and about life.
If people could coax money out of cash-strapped people in a depression, teaching a child to start and run a business in today’s perpetual Obama recession should be a snap!
Kids Need to Build Skills and Competencies to be Successful Child Entrepreneurs
Learning the skills of business is something that takes place both before and after the business is underway. All kinds of practical skills should be learned and mastered before the child even begins to sort through business ideas. Budgeting and money management come before starting a business. But the more practical skills a child instinctively knows, the more versatile his entrepreneurial ventures can be.
There is no need to re-invent the wheel here. Groups and organisations exist for teaching practical and useful skills to children:
Clothing & Textile Science – Learn basic sewing skills, personalize clothing, make clothing from patterns and more. Projects range from first-time beginners to advanced clothing design and construction masters.
Cooking Projects – Beginner to Advanced levels. Learn about cooking, nutrition, food safety information and get creative with recipes of all kinds, including baking breads, meal planning and grilling.
Gardening & Plant Science – Learn how to grow your own vegetables and preserve your own food through canning and freezing methods.
The Natural World – Learn how to explore the outdoors by learning about plants, trees and insects that live in the woods, streams and fields. Learn trapping, fishing and beekeeping.
Shooting Sports – Learn safe use of guns and basic archery.
Mechanics – Learn about small engines, tractors and machinery operations.
Woodworking – Learn how to use various woodworking tools along with basic tools to build wood projects.
Here is useful list of helpful life skills for kids from Survival Mom:
create a shopping list
find the best deals
use a microwave
read nutrition labels and know what’s good and what’s not
prepare, serve and store food to avoid spoilage
cook a well-balanced meal
know which kitchen tools and equipment to use for which tasks
make a weekly or monthly budget and stick to it
use an ATM
open, use and balance a checking account
apply for a credit card and use it responsibly
save up to buy a desired item
set aside money for charity
keep track of important papers
how to use a debit card
pay monthly bills, including utilities
complete simple repairs when needed
sew on a button
mend a seam
fold and put away clothing
follow fabric-care labels
do laundry, including treating simple stains
wash and dry items by hand
pack a suitcase
able to clean the house
find the circuit breaker and use it
locate and use water and furnace shutoffs
use a fire extinguisher
perform basic first aid
fix a running toilet
do laundry, including treating simple stains
use all household appliances, like loading the dishwasher the right way
basic auto maintenance
check tire pressure
check oil level and add oil if needed
check washer fluid and add more if necessary
arrange routine maintenance
add air to tires
produce documents if stopped by police
know what to look for in buying their first car
Other Life Skills
change a mailing address
register to vote
how to vote
who to call and what to do in emergency situations
basic first aid or CPR
how to apply for a job
how to select proper clothing for an interview
what to look for in a first apartment
who to contact to turn on utilities
where to have a document notarized
how to use public transportation
A large number of quasi-functioning adults have not mastered these skills. And many others may be able to do the tasks, but cannot be bothered for the most part. This natural ignorance or laziness on the part of much of the population opens up huge niches for child entrepreneurs to meet unmet needs and desires.
The lists above barely scrape the surface, but parents can begin to get the idea. Humans have an infinite number of unmet needs and wishes. The person who can supply those things economically in a timely fashion is apt to get more business than they can handle. At that point, the child entrepreneur will learn to delegate, utilise independent contractors, or learn to deal with “employees.”
Sure, parents and child-entrepreneurs will need to learn to jump any governmental hoops that they cannot avoid altogether. But there is no need to dump the bodies of over-zealous government functionaries in abandoned coal mines in order to co-exist with absurd government rules and regulations. A bit of forethought and cooperation between child entrepreneurs, their parents, and sympathetic businesspersons should provide the working space needed to survive in an age of government over-reach.
Dangerous Children Master at Least 3 Ways to Support Themselves Financially by Age 18
Most of the niche business ideas mentioned above will not provide reliable and consistent financial support for an independent adult over time. But they will provide invaluable experience in budgeting, handling money, devising business plans, dealing with people, and developing resilience in business.
At the same time as they are building their business skills-experiences-reputations, they are also learning needed academic lessons, developing Dangerous Skills and Competencies, acquiring helpful credentials, developing emotional resilience, and making a range of plans on different time scales for their futures.
After age 18 Dangerous Children will use their financial independence to build their base of operations, to further their education in the professions and other highly skilled sectors, to travel and learn new cultures – languages – ways of life, to raise families and new generations of Dangerous Children, to liaise with other Dangerous Children to form Dangerous Communities, and to otherwise work toward an abundant and expansive human future.
We are living in an age of impractical and perpetually incompetent adolescents of all ages. Children typically go through school and graduate from high school or college with no practical skills or experiences. Whatever parents may be thinking when they send their children off to be abused by institutions, the results are turning out very badly.
Here at the Dangerous Child Institute, we are merely seeking to provide an alternative approach to education and child-raising that provides children and youth with a lifetime confidence based upon stacked competencies — beginning very early in childhood. Most people are not ready for us. All the more reason to get started.
Resilience is the virtue that enables people to move through hardship and become better. No one escapes pain, fear, and suffering. Yet from pain can come wisdom, from fear can come courage, from suffering can come strength — if we have the virtue of resilience.
… To master a skill, to build an enterprise, to pursue any worthy endeavour — simply to live a good life — requires that we confront pain, hardship, and fear. What is the difference between those who are defeated by hardship and those who are sharpened by it? Between those who are broken by pain and those who are made wiser by it?
To move through pain to wisdom, through fear to courage, through suffering to strength, requires resilience.
__ Eric Greitens
Greitens’ book is one of the sourcebooks for the course, “The Psychology of the Dangerous Child,” and is mandatory reading for prospective parents of Dangerous Children, and for Dangerous Children in training. From time to time we will publish short excerpts from the book to illustrate important concepts for use in assisting the blooming of the Dangerous Child’s mental and emotional habits.
A quotation that Greitens uses in his book comes from an Anonymous source, but illustrates the importance of “habit-formation” in child raising:
We sow a thought and reap an act;
We sow an act and reap a habit;
We sow a habit and reap a character;
We sow a character and reap a destiny.
The human brain is shaped on a day-by-day basis, from the moment of its fetal formation to the moment of death. The most rapid brain development and plastic change takes place in the first and middle trimesters, in infancy and early childhood, and in adolescence and early adulthood. But the brain never stops shaping itself on the basis of brain activity — sensations, thoughts, emotions, actions. That is why we say “It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood.” Because you can always move toward the state of being a Dangerous Child, with the right thinking and action.
More from Eric Greitens:
Every time you act, your actions create feelings — pleasure or pain, pride or shame — that reinforce habits. With each repetition, what was once novel becomes familiar. If you are cruel every day, you become a cruel person. If you are kind every day, you become a kind person. It is easier to be compassionate the tenth time than the first time… it is also easier to be cruel the tenth time than the first time.
When a habit has become so engrained that actions begin to flow from you without conscious thought or effort, then you have changed your character __ Resilience“Habits” Eric Greitens
The same processes of brain-shaping and habit formation take place every day, with repeated choices that we make on what to do, what to think, how to feel/react, and which doors we choose to open or close to the future.
If we avoid strenuous effort, hard work, all potential pain, we close off many of our most promising avenues into the future. If we go further and blame all of our problems and weaknesses on others, we make it almost impossible to achieve any kind of resilience — much less the graceful and ultimately near-effortless resilience that comes from constant practise and intentional habit formation.
We will continue to provide short excerpts from Eric Greitens’ book to help illustrate many of the foundational concepts that underpin the Dangerous Child Method. As mentioned above, the book is mandatory reading for parents of prospective Dangerous Children, and for Dangerous Children in training. But you can read it too, if you are interested in that sort of thing.
Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood.
A child is born with innate reflexes, instincts, predispositions, aptitudes, and limitations. When confronted with the outside world, the child begins to assimilate experiences of the world into his internal milieu — and he is permanently changed, every single day.
What Does That Have to Do With Dangerous Children and Politics?
Consider how a child’s experiences combine with his innate dispositions to create knowledge, science, and wisdom — leading to philosophy:
Experience is the first and basic level of knowledge. The Greeks called experience empeiria, which is at the basis of such English philosophical terms as:
empirical: which means based on the data of the senses, especially if that data can be presented in a quantifiable manner.
empiricism: the philosophical doctrine that knowledge consists primarily (or only) in sensations, and that ideas are sophisticated combinations of sensations stored in memory. The most radical and thorough empiricist was probably David Hume (1711-1776)
empeiria or empiria: sometimes used to mean sense experience in general…
Science is the next level of knowledge. This is a knowledge that does not consist in a store of facts, but in general principles of cause and effect…
Wisdom, which the Greeks call sophia is a knowledge of causes and principles as is science, but it differs from science. Science looks for general principles in a certain defined domain. Every new law that a science is able to understand in turn is treated like a principle (a starting point in explanation). However, the scientist is a specialist. His expert knowledge of principles applies within a certain domain. One reason for this is that different sciences apply different methods, and the same methods cannot be used to answer every sort of question. Wisdom is as knowledge of first principles of all being…
Philosophy is the search for wisdom, the discipline that cultivates wisdom, as the knowledge of first principles known by the natural light of the intellect… __ Philosophy and Wisdom
Politics Falls in the Realm of Ideology, Which is Quite Different from Philosophy
The difference between philosophy and ideology is a crucial distinction, for anyone who wishes to understand the world and the best way for him to live in the world.
There are very fundamental differences between philosophy and ideology. Ideology refers to a set of beliefs, doctrines that back a certain social institution or a particular organization. Philosophy refers to looking at life in a pragmatic manner and attempting to understand why life is as it is and the principles governing behind it.
Philosophy tries to understand the world, and to find good ways of living in the world.
Ideology underlies the construction and propagation of organisations for change, such as religions, political movements, and all types of activist organisations. Look for instances of war, genocide, terrorism, enslavement, and mass murder, and you are likely to find an ideology behind them — for purposes of justification if nothing else.
Not all ideologies are put to bad purpose, of course. But because ideological organisations are put to the use of a small number of controlling elites, they can be easily turned to corrupt and cruel ends.
The Dangerous Child Method is Applied in Unique Fashion to Each Child
The purpose of Dangerous Child training is to facilitate the unfolding of the potential of each child according to his aptitudes, inclinations, and the wisdom he is able to develop. Each Dangerous Child will “go his own way,” according to a unique combination of several individual factors. Networking and cooperation with other Dangerous Children and with Dangerous Communities, will usually be ad hoc in nature, for purposes of establishing critical infrastructure which suppports the building of an abundant and expansive human future.
This is quite different from “saving the world,” which is the oft-stated aim of many ideologies. When an ideologue talks about “saving the world,” he is talking about forcing the world to conform to the strictures of his own ideology.
Each Dangerous Child Builds His Own Unique Ideology
The Dangerous Child “philosophy” can branch and morph to take many forms. But when appled to the world in the form of “ideology,” the philosophy builds a unique ideology of action suited specifically to the one child.
Dangerous Children are contrarian in nature when it comes to established modes of thinking. They are allergic to pre-fabricated thinking systems such as established ideologies, and reject them out of hand. Any attempt to indoctrinate, brainwash, or “consciousness raise” a Dangerous Child is apt to be met with polite dismissal, at first. Continued attempts at programming a Dangerous Child are likely to be met with progressively firmer signs of rejection — and any would-be indoctrinator would be wise to desist before the attempt reaches a certain level.
Dangerous Children Do Practise an Ideology, But it is Unique to Themselves
Because they have so much energy, competence, and aptitude, Dangerous Children are moved to act in the world in such a way as to change it in ways that they see as “better” — creating a more abundant and expansive human future while at the same time building a successful base of operations. Each Dangerous Child has his own ideas for going about this task in a peaceful and generally non-confrontational manner.
Remember, by age 18, each Dangerous Child will have mastered at least three ways of supporting himself financially, and will be more than prepared to face the world on his own psychologically and emotionally. And he never stops learning and developing new skills and competencies. This type of independence inevitably generates a certain attitude toward life, an attitude of confidence built upon multiple strong competencies.
And so, other than for purposes of building critical infrastructure of independent living, Dangerous Children do not often bind themselves together for purposes of “change action.” They will cooperate in enterprises of business, research, exploration, and innovation. But they tend to move and grow far too quickly for any currently known political, religious, or activist organisations and ideologies.
The Life of A Dangerous Child Involves a Unique Lifelong Packing and Unpacking of Knowledge, Wisdom, and Philosophy
Think of it as being analogous to the way that DNA is constantly being packed and unpacked in the cell nucleus, to support all the functions of living. Each tissue type enlists different sets of DNA “competencies,” depending upon whether it is liver, brain, heart, bone, etc. In the same way, each Dangerous Child will combine a unique set of competencies, inclinations, and wisdoms to generate his own way of acting in the world — his own unique ideology.
It is not the same, of course. We are born with our DNA and it functions more or less independently of our conscious control. But a wise parent will begin packing a Dangerous Child’s experience and inclination from before birth — even before conception. And the work begins in earnest at birth. But it is happy work — although intense and unrelenting — because each Dangerous Child is learning to pack and unpack his own experience, knowledge, and wisdom in order to find his own best way of living in the world. And that is something that no one else can do for him.
US High School Students Bomb on International Comparison Testing in Maths and Sciences
Some of The Scores Deficit Might be Correctible
American high schools are politically protected from meaningful reform by ideologues within the US Department of Education and by other ideologues in US university schools of education, thinktanks, and nonprofit foundations. But real-world market forces have brought about certain experiments in US secondary education which demonstrate that an American high school education need not be third-rate.
In 2015, six Basis charter schools met the criteria that permitted their students to take the PISA test. The Basis pupils scored higher than students in Shanghai, Korea, Germany or Singapore, not to mention U.S. private and public schools. In math, the average Basis student performs better than the top 10 percent of U.S. public schoolers.
Basis students also stand out when it comes to the one U.S. test that is more closely tethered to reality, the College Board’s challenging Advanced Placement exam, designed to measure whether students have so mastered a subject that colleges will give them academic credit for it.
Basis charter schools were co-founded by Czech immigrant Olga Block, who was shocked at how abysmally bad many American high schools actually were. By designing Basic charter schools, Block and her co-founders meant to give American high school students “a basis” for competency within today’s STEM-oriented employment and business worlds.
Founded in Arizona almost two decades ago, this network of publicly financed charters has grown to number 21 in the U.S. Basis Schools admit students on a first-come, first-served basis or, when demand is high, by lottery, meaning that not all the kids are born top performers. __ Amity Schlaes
What does any of this have to do with Dangerous Child training? The fact is that not all parents can supervise a home “unschooling” for their high school aged children. The best learning is “self-taught” learning, but the skills of self-teaching can be taught very early, and should be actually mastered between the ages of 7 and 10 for most children.
For parents of Dangerous Children who send their children to public or conventional private schools, such schooling often serves as “day care” supervision rather than as a meaningful education. The parent still has to make sure the child learns — but in a more compressed after-school and evening time framework. If the child has learned “self-teaching” from parents, he should be able to compensate for the flakiness and ideological bias of most public and private education.
But wouldn’t it be better if the schools themselves actually served to prepare students to face at least some of the challenges the youth will face in the future? Truly, as long as the child will be spending time there anyway, why not make that time profitable at least in part?
The US public educational system has been dumbed down and corrupted over several decades for many reasons, most of them of a political nature. It is good to know that at least some of the decline can be “rolled back” for at least a small percentage of students.
But on the Whole, the Best Approach for Dangerous Children is Home Self-Taught Learning
The home-educated typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests. (The public school average is the 50th percentile; scores range from 1 to 99.) A 2015 study found Black homeschool students to be scoring 23 to 42 percentile points above Black public school students (Ray, 2015).
Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income.
Among homeschooling methods, The Robinson Curriculum is one of the shining stars.
The Robinson Curriculum is specially designed to prepare students for the SAT – a standardized nationwide test administered by the College Board (not to be mistaken with the SAT Achievement test which does not give you any credit). The Saxon Math and the RC Vocabulary section do an excellent job for SAT prep. For further credit they can take the Adanced Placement Exams for the college they are attending in order to test out of credit courses. This reduces the time and money required to get their degree. 3 of the Robinson children have done all this with great results. They only need a GED if they are going into something that does not require college but does need a “High School” diploma. A transcript generally does you no good. It is the SAT scores that matter. Any other paper is not important except in unusual cases.
Self-teaching is an integral part of the Robinson Curriculum. In fact, teaching the child to teach himself — from the earliest ages — is a key part to overall life success. This is true whether you are raising a Dangerous Child or a more conventional superior child.
Dangerous Child training is about far more than success in conventional schooling or conventional careers, of course. But when so many cultural institutions — including schools — are so terribly misguided and mismanaged, conventional success can seem a great victory to most of us.
The fact that there is so much more to be mastered and attained should be a powerful impetus for grander achievement and success. Dangerous Child training is about packing that “will to mastery” inside the child from his earliest moments of consciousness — and before. It is that “internal driving force” that will propel the Dangerous Child to embark on a lifetime of mastery and discovery.
Author Mark Twain suggested that people should not let their schooling get in the way of their education. That distinction between “schooling” and “education” is crucial for lifelong success. Schooling is only a small part of a person’s education. Still, whatever time is to be spent on schooling, should be spent profitably.
Modern societies in the west tend to value girls much more highly than boys. This preferential treatment is reflected in government policies and spending, as well as much content bias in the media. All of that is in spite of the fact the prosperity and relative ease of living in modern societies are largely the result of of male invention, exploration, industry, discovery, and risk-taking.
It’s been well established that men perform better than women when it comes to specific spatial tasks. But how much of that is linked to sex hormones versus cultural conditioning and other factors? __ SD
Testosterone Helps One to Quickly Find His Way
Scientists at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology compared the route finding abilities of men vs. women on a 3D maze skills test. The men were faster and solved 50% more of the tasks set out for them. Men used their hippocampi more, while women used their prefrontal cortices. __ Source
Overall, men in the test group had significantly better senses of direction than the women in the test group.
The scientists went on to compare two different groups of women on “wayfinding tasks.” One group received a drop of testosterone solution under the tongue. The other group received placebo. Not surprisingly, the women who received testosterone performed better than the women who received placebo. Interestingly, the women who received testosterone also utilised their hippocampi more than the placebo women. __ Source
What About Testosterone and Male-Female Differences in Language Skills?
When women (undergoing sex change) are given high doses of testosterone, the parts of their brain most used in language tasks are altered.
The researchers, from Vienna and Amsterdam, worked with 18
female-to-male subjects (27.6 ± 6.4 years), before and during testosterone treatment. The subjects underwent MRI brain scans before and after 4 weeks of the testosterone administration. The results showed that with testosterone treatment the volume of grey matter decreased in two specific regions of the brain, the Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas, which are mainly responsible for language processing. At the same time, the neuronal pathway (white matter) connecting these two regions via the extreme capsule got stronger. __ https://www.ecnp.eu/~/media/Files/ecnp/About%20ECNP/Press/AMS2015/Hahn%20PR%20FINAL.pdf?la=en
So, when women are given a single dose of sublingual testosterone, their spatial abilities are temporarily improved — although not to the point of equaling spatial abilities in males. And when females are given even larger doses of testosterone over time, the parts of their brain used in language processing lose grey matter volume.
Testosterone and Behaviour
Testosterone appears to influence the typical superiority of males in spatial processing and math, and the superiority of females in language processing and emotional empathy.
Most of the published literature agrees on the fact that testosterone is anxiolytic, anti-depressant and improves spatial abilities. But this picture is oversimplified.
There are too many factors involved in the production, utilisation, and metabolism / excretion of testosterone to recommend testosterone supplementation for persons with normal levels. But for persons with distinctly low testosterone levels — men or women — there are some good indications for testosterone supplementation.
Why are there More Male Geniuses?
… at a super-elite University such as Oxford, where we are looking at a tiny proportion of the brightest students, we would expect there to be more males achieving 1st class degrees. It is not fair but it is also not a mystery. It is a consequence of the male genome (particularly the short Y chromosome), which causes greater genetic variations in men, leading to both good and bad extremes of male behaviour.
There are more male geniuses and more male morons. Presumably this is somehow a consequence of the male genome vis a vis the female genome. And presumably it also has something to do with testosterone.
More On Testosterone
We started off with about 500 of these babies, that’s the cohort, where their testosterone levels are known [from amniocentesis], and we’ve been following them and they’re now about 12 years old. So it’s a story that’s been unfolding whilst we’ve been able to measure the behavior as they grow, and see whether it has anything to do with their testosterone prenatally.
At their first birthday, we looked at eye contact. And I was particularly interested in this, because my main area of research is autism, and children with autism make very little eye contact. Their eye contact is at the extreme, showing very little interest in faces. But we’d already heard from that newborn baby study that there seems to be, on average, a sex difference in how interested people are in faces, and making eye contact, with girls being, on average, more interested in faces than boys, but there’s a whole spectrum of individual differences. And what we found was that the higher the baby’s prenatal testosterone, the less eye contact they made at their first birthday. That was simply measured by inviting the toddler into our lab, videotaping them and then later coding those videotapes for how many times the baby looked up at their mother’s face. That was at the first birthday.
At the second birthday we looked at language development. We got parents to fill in a checklist of how many words does your child know, and how many words can your child produce. We were looking at the size of children’s vocabularies. What we found, which was quite striking to us, was that by two years old, there were some children who had very small vocabularies, only about ten or 20 words, they were kind of at the low edge of normal development; and there were some kids who were really chatty and had 600 words. So the size of the differences in vocabulary was immense. And then we could look back at their testosterone levels.And once again, we found a significant correlation: that the higher the child’s prenatal testosterone, the smaller their vocabulary at two years old. So this same hormone seemed to be related not only to patterns of social interest, whether you look at faces, but also to communication, how talkative you are and your rate of language development.
I don’t want to go through all the steps, but we’ve also looked, when they were four years old, at empathy, finding that prenatal testosterone is negatively correlated with empathy. So again, it’s the same pattern we were just hearing about: that if you were higher in testosterone during the pregnancy, it meant that you were slower to develop empathy as a four year old. And again, there are different ways that you can measure that. You can ask parents to fill in questionnaires about their child’s empathy. You can actually get the child to take various empathy tests, or you can also get information about how easily the child mixes in school with other children. But the hormone, once again, was showing relationships with social behavior at school age.
We were also interested in that concept of systemizing, how strong a child’s interest was in systems of different kinds. Was this a child who liked to collect things, to have the complete set, for example, that makes up a system? Was this a child who loved to take things apart and put them back together again? So, very much interested in construction and assembly and figuring out how things work? Was this a child who spotted the small differences between different makes of cars, or little toy cars, and could tell you the differences between different varieties of system? Again, what we found, but this time the correlation was flipped over, was a positive correlation with prenatal testosterone. The higher the child’s prenatal testosterone the more interested they were in systems of one kind or another.
When they were about eight years old, we figured it was time to invite these kids into the MRI scanner, so that we could look directly at the question of whether testosterone is actually changing the way the brain is developing. Up until now we’d only done what’s called behavioral studies, where we could find relationships between testosterone and behavior. But by eight years old a child is old enough to stay still, which is essential in a brain scan, because if the child squirms and moves around too much, then you can’t interpret the results. These children, by eight, were able to tolerate having an MRI scan and we were able to look at the structure of the brain and see if it had any relationship to prenatal testosterone. And in fact, there are lots of interesting relationships.
As I mentioned, one region of the brain that differs between males and females is that region called the planum temporale, a language area, and that’s related to prenatal testosterone. The hormone is having an effect on the way the brain is growing, just looking at the volume of different regions in the brain. __ Simon Baron-Cohen
So you see that brain differences between males and females are at least partially mediated by testosterone levels — but particularly testosterone levels during the fetal period, when the brain is being most actively shaped.
The radical feminists who rule over modern universities, much of modern media, and much of mid-level bureaucratic organisations such as governments, foundations, government lobbies, inter-governmental and non-governmental bodies, etc., will deny that testosterone levels during pre-natal periods, early childhood, or adolescence, have anything to do with male-female differences in genius, IQ distribution, spatial / math abilities, or anything else.
And yet, these same feminists — when they start to wither and age — are among the first to clamour for testosterone treatments. And testosterone is very popular among the middle aged and older female set:
These treatments can be helpful for the middle-aged and elderly of either sex. But such therapies for women cannot erase the male-female achievement gaps across a broad range of disciplines — from physicists to neurosurgeons to inventors to ace pilots to world class athletes, and more.
Perhaps if testosterone were administered at strategic points in fetal development, early childhood, and in adolescence, such gaps might be partially narrowed. But that would not be wise.
I suggest that we should let girls be girls, boys be boys, and give them both the best chances we can to grow up strong, independent, and competent.
Decline of Russian Testosterone and Sperm Count is Devastating
Both the quantity and quality of Russian men seem to be on a downward turn. Plummeting sperm counts and testosterone levels with falling levels of academic attainment are reducing the Soviet hero of old into an ever more effete and infertile figure, who now can’t even drink properly.
In fact, the Russian man is dying out. Only the UK flounder, North Sea cod and Florida cane toad are losing males faster, and the unhappy conclusions of scientists show that falling numbers of males in these species has led to irreversible cuts in the population.
… The Russian man is subsequently withering before our eyes. He has worse health than women and his educational attainment is worse. Worldwide, suicide rates peak in men in old age. In Russia it peaks twice, in the mid-life crisis years of 45-55 years and the second for the long-lived, at 70-80. __ Importance of Testosterone to National Survival
Decline in male Russian testosterone levels parallels Russia’s overall decline in international strength and vitality.
…in the countries of the former Soviet Union… [they] are experiencing a huge deficit of single, decent, non-drinking, not abusive, marriage minded, family oriented men. There is a large number of Russian women who have absolutely no chance of ever getting married and having a family of their own unless they significantly lower their standards… __ quoted in “Few Good Men Left in Dying Russia”
The same mechanisms that are bedeviling Russian males are also at work in much of the rest of the world’s male populations. Guard your testosterone levels and sperm quality carefully. You never know when you will need them.
Intense Late Adolescent Psychological Re-Orientation Takes Many Forms
Why Is Boot Camp So Intense?
You have to train 18-year-olds to run to the sound of gunfire and perform under fire and the threat of death.
This act defies all logic, goes against all human instinct, and takes one of the most intensive acts of psychological reprogramming to overcome.
… There will always be the need for young men and women who are willing and able to run to the sound of imminent danger and many, to their death. Nations need this. You need this. It is a horrible thing, but the sanctity and security of every nation on Earth requires young men and women capable of doing this.
To do this, however, we need a form of psychological training that is able to forge individuals who can do this. That is why boot camp has evolved to become such a potent tool in today’s military machine.
__ Jon Davis, Marine Sergeant
Sergeant Davis does not mince words. In order to create marines out of raw recruits, an intense form of psychological re-orientation (or reprogramming) is required. Why? Because most raw recruits arrive at basic training fresh from an extended childhood. They have been pampered, sheltered, told they were special, provided with their every need — and often their every whim — just like a child. But real adult life is not childhood in a productive society. “Children” need to undergo some form of transformation before they are able to understand the distinction.
Not Every Form of Rite of Passage Need to be So Intense as US Marine Boot Camp
Throughout the church’s history, over one million missionaries have been sent on missions. __ Wikipedia
Missionaries intentionally go after people in desperate situations. On my mission, we’d go into the worst parts of town to talk to the meth addicts and crackheads. Sure, they need help and attention more than anybody, but most of my colleagues were distinctly upper middle class white Mormons. Short of bursting out into an impromptu rap about how “drugs are for thugs,” there’s no way they could have been more conspicuous.
Training for “missionhood” is regimented, with long hours.
The whole thing is divided up like the underclass in some dystopian sci-fi world — we’re separated into wards, zones, and then six-man districts. You don’t associate with anyone outside your zone while you’re training. Every missionary has to be in sight of their companion at all times. For two solid years, our only alone time was in the bathroom. Do not, under any circumstances, picture the state of that bathroom.
… It’s pretty much like The Hunger Games…
Mormon Missionaries are given this intense programming so that they can get results for the church. They must be committed before they begin — because they pay for their training in hard cash and precious time. And on top of all that commitment ant training fees, the church expects a larger return.
Among other things, you’re not allowed to use a computer if a companion can’t see the screen, and you’re never supposed to be out of their earshot. The logic is that you can’t break the rules if you’re never, ever alone…
… We log everyone who shows interest — or even talks with us — and follow up on a regular basis. That’s because the whole “converting souls” thing is very much a competition. The higher ups in the church are obsessed with numbers. They want people baptized, inactive members brought back to the fold, etc. __ Time as Mormon Missionary
The fatality rates among Mormon Missionaries are lower than among combat marines, during wartime. But Mormon Missionaries are always at war against the dark forces of human nature, so there is never any letup.
Much Beyond Religious Conversions Often Emerges From the Mormon Missionary Experience
Being thrown into strange and dangerous settings and experiences forces the young Mormon to think on his feet, to sink or swim. Many missionaries develop robust resilience in the field, which they bring back with them to their subsequent lives.
The notion of the Mormon mission as a crucible is a common one, and the benefits gained from going through it have been used to help explain the prominence of LDS Church members in business and civic life. Mission experience has also helped prepare RMs for later engaging and prospering in non-Mormon environments. __ Wikipedia
Other Common and Usually Constructive Rites of Passage for Late Adolescents
Any intense extended experience — either solo or group — can serve as a rite of passage from childhood into adulthood. Immersing oneself into particular occupations can serve the “passage” purpose quite well. Examples may include training as EMT / Paramedic, Search and Rescue, Police or Fire Department training, Commercial Deep Sea Diving, Wild Fire Jumpers …
Not all of the 20 Deadliest Jobs in America would qualify as rites of passage, but one can get a sense of which jobs may be more intense — and transforming — than others.
A Dangerous Child Will Have Mastered Multiple Dangerous Skills Before Age 18
Dangerous Child training is different from the run of the mill “rite of passage” discussed above. Dangerous Child training begins before birth and continues throughout the lifetime. Multiple rites of passage succeed each other, as mastery is applied to mastery, and complementary skills are added to complementary skills.
The point of it all is to help build a more abundant and expansive human future, using networked Dangerous Communities as pivot points and backup systems for larger societies that are too often subject to failure from dysgenic and ideologic Idiocracy.
Faux Rites of Passage
In lieu of meaningful rites of passage, modern children and youth are typically trusted to educational institutions and other institutions of culture and society at large, throughout their formative years. When youth are shunted off to college and university without having faced significant passage rites, they typically undergo what is known as “academic lobotomy,” or a brainwashing / reprogramming process carried out by idologues among university faculty and staff.
Instead of preparing youngsters for productive, creative, and fulfilling lives, such indoctrination only introduces and deepens broadly-held delusions and misconceptions about the underlying mechanisms of the natural and the human universes. Such academically lobotomised persons will find it an uphill battle to see through their brainwashing to the solid world beneath.
Other false rites of passage include a young woman having a child out of wedlock and going on welfare, or a young man joining a criminal gang that brainwashes him and limits his future just as surely as any academic lobotomy.
Rites of Passage Open Doors into Multiple Futures
There is a reason why military-trained persons are considered prime recruits for several types of occupation. The skills and mature attitudes that can be learned in military service prepare a young person for several avenues of productivity.
As noted above, the same is considered true for returned Mormon Missionaries. As a result of being forced to innovate and think outside the box, the returned missionary is of more value to prospective employers, and more capable as an entrepreneur.
Any process that teaches a young person to utilise his knowledge, skills, and resourcefulness under unforeseen and unpredictable circumstances — over a significant period of time — can serve as a rite of passage, if empowering lessons are learned.
But if “lessons of disempowerment and futility” are learned, any passage that occurs is likely to be in a backward direction.
Best to begin the process of serial rites of passage at an early age, and build upon it in a solid and progressive manner.
To Become a Master, Only the Right Type of Practise Will Do
…think about the future of a world that applies deliberate practice on a regular basis and its impact on education, medicine, health, and relationships. Imagine a world where performance in every area of life gets better and better. __ C
Deliberate Practise, to be Specific
Deliberate practice is when you work on a skill that requires 1 to 3 practice sessions to master. If it takes longer than that, then you are working on something that is too complex.
Once you master this tiny behavior, you can move on to practicing the next small task that will take 1 to 3 sessions to master. Repeat this process for 10,000 hours. That is deliberate practice. __ Kathy Sierra (2012) as quoted by James Clear
There is a lot more to “deliberate practise” than breaking complex tasks into masterable pieces. But any coach, tutor, or instructor must understand how to “break things down” for each individual learner — who will usually put them together himself, once having mastered the pieces in the proper way, in good order. More complex skills are built upon the simpler skills that preceded them.
Is Mastery Innate or Acquired?
Some level of talent and ability must be present to give the learner a starting foundation. And the more natural talent, the more quickly the student can progress — at least in particular phases of the training. The mistake that is too often made is attempting to train so quickly that crucial fundamental skills and competencies are left out of the process. This mistake is most often made in training those who appear most talented in the beginning, who then expect everything that comes afterward to be easy.
… when scientists began measuring the experts’ supposedly superior powers of speed, memory and intelligence with psychometric tests, no general superiority was found — the demonstrated superiority was domain specific. For example, the superiority of the chess experts’ memory was constrained to regular chess positions and did not generalize to other types of materials (Djakow, Petrowski & Rudik, 1927). Not even IQ could distinguish the best among chessplayers (Doll & Mayr, 1987) nor the most successful and creative among artists and scientists (Taylor, 1975). In a recent review, Ericsson and Lehmann (1996) found that (1) measures of general basic capacities do not predict success in a domain, (2) the superior performance of experts is often very domain specific and transfer outside their narrow area of expertise is surprisingly limited and (3) systematic differences between experts and less proficient individuals nearly always reflect attributes acquired by the experts during their lengthy training. __ K. Anders Ericsson
Of course we would not expect IQ to be the deciding factor in distinguishing among elite chess players, artists or scientists. If one is looking exclusively at elite levels, several other factors come into play that are more likely to distinguish the best of the best other than a score on an IQ test. Ambition, persistence, sustained energy levels and reserves, smart practise, ego strength to break out of consensual groupthink, conscientiousness, emotional stability and control, and many other qualities that augment and reinforce simple cognitive skills when moving from simple mastery to innovative mastery.
More on deliberate practise:
Deliberate practice is different from work, play and simple repetition of a task. It requires effort, it has no monetary reward, and it is not inherently enjoyable.
When you engage in deliberate practice, improving your performance over time is your goal and motivation. __ Source
Whether deliberate practise is inherently enjoyable or not, is likely to depend upon the person and how his deliberate practise is designed and carried out.
The recent advances in our understanding of the complex representations, knowledge and skills that mediate the superior performance of experts derive primarily from studies where experts are instructed to think aloud while completing representative tasks in their domains, such as chess, music, physics, sports and medicine (Chi, Glaser & Farr, 1988; Ericsson & Smith, 1991; Starkes & Allard, 1993). For appropriate challenging problems experts don’t just automatically extract patterns and retrieve their response directly from memory. Instead they select the relevant information and encode it in special representations in working memory that allow planning, evaluation and reasoning about alternative courses of action (Ericsson & Lehmann, 1996). Hence, the difference between experts and less skilled subjects is not merely a matter of the amount and complexity of the accumulated knowledge; it also reflects qualitative differences in the organization of knowledge and its representation (Chi, Glaser & Rees, 1982). Experts’ knowledge is encoded around key domain-related concepts and solution procedures that allow rapid and reliable retrieval whenever stored information is relevant. Less skilled subjects’ knowledge, in contrast, is encoded using everyday concepts that make the retrieval of even their limited relevant knowledge difficult and unreliable. Furthermore, experts have acquired domain-specific memory skills that allow them to rely on long-term memory (Long-Term Working Memory, Ericsson & Kintsch, 1995) to dramatically expand the amount of information that can be kept accessible during planning and during reasoning about alternative courses of action. The superior quality of the experts’ mental representations allow them to adapt rapidly to changing circumstances and anticipate future events in advance. The same acquired representations appear to be essential for experts’ ability to monitor and evaluate their own performance (Ericsson, 1996; Glaser, 1996) so they can keep improving their own performance by designing their own training and assimilating new knowledge.
The opening question “Why are some people so amazingly good at what they do?” sets the stage for the whole book. Ever since I was in third grade I’ve read biographies and autobiographies to understand how people achieved great success. I was always more interested in learning about the journey than to know what it was like on the mountaintop. This book explains in detail the journey that expert performers go on to reach the mountaintop.
This chapter explains the value of purposeful practice.in expanding your physical and mental capacity for generating greater achievements in the future. It emphasizes the importance of taking small steps on a regular basis and gathering feedback on what you are doing effectively and ineffectively.
Here you will learn how to specifically harness your mental adaptability to develop new skills and move beyond the status quo way of doing things. It also explains how your potential is not fixed, but rather is something that can be continually expanded.
You learn the importance of mental representations, of actually seeing the level of performance that you are aspiring to reach. By visualizing the details of what needs to happen, you are able to see the pieces and patterns that are necessary for a great performance.
This chapter explains in great detail the steps involved in deliberate practice, which is the absolute best way to improve your performance in any type of activity. I would try to explain my interpretation of deliberate practice here, but I think you would benefit a great deal more by really studying this chapter and learning the insights that Anders Ericsson developed over a lifetime of studying deliberate practice.
A great explanation of how deliberate practice can be used in actual job situations regardless of the type of work that you do. I’ve found in my executive coaching sessions that guiding people through the steps of deliberate practice and showing how the principles of deliberate practice connect with their work situations helps them to move forward in a more intentional and effective way.
This chapter shows how deliberate practice can be applied in everyday life situations whether you’re exercising, parenting, or enjoying a hobby. Literally anything you do you can learn to do it better the next time.
If you were ever wondering what it takes for a young person to go on to be world-class in any activity, this chapter explains what is involved. And it’s not for the faint of heart. Literally thousands and thousands of hours of deliberate practice over many years are required to become the best of the best at what you do. But if you’re goal is to be world-class, then this chapter explains how to do it.
This chapter explodes the myth of natural talent. It shows in detail that great performers always got there through extraordinary practice.
In this closing chapter, Ericsson and Pool guide the reader to think about the future of a world that applies deliberate practice on a regular basis and its impact on education, medicine, health, and relationships. Imagine a world where performance in every area of life gets better and better. They close their book with a new concept, Homo exercens rather than Homo sapiens. They wrote, “Perhaps a better to see ourselves would be as Homo exercens, or ‘practicing man,’ the species that takes control of its life through practice and makes of itself what it will.”
Chapter 9 of Ericsson and Pool’s book suggests that a world that applies deliberate practise regularly, would be a better world in many ways. That is probably true. But in the modern world where virtually every institution of government, education, media, foundations, and other cultural institutions are irredeemably corrupt and self-serving, how can productive disruptive change be implemented on a broad scale?
The answer is, it probably cannot be implemented on a broad scale in any meaningful sense — without dumbing it down to impotence.
Sure, if a billionaire such as Sergey Brin, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Tom Steyer, Richard Branson, or one of the other “usual suspects” would stop squandering resources on delusional green boondoggles, and begin to invest on the future minds and competencies of new generations, things would likely change. But such billionaires — and virtually all men of power and influence — are corrupted by the taint of groupthink and government rent-seeking. Institutional rot exists not only in large institutions, but also infects all products and forms of output from such institutions.
What is to be done, then? What indeed.
Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood. Best to start the formation of networked Dangerous Communities as soon as practicable.
… grit is hardly distinguishable from conscientiousness, one of the classic Big Five traits in psychology. The study, which included a representative sample of U.K. students, measured grit against conscientiousness. Grit, researchers discovered, accounts for only an additional 0.5% of variation in test scores when compared with conscientiousness. IQ, on the other hand, accounts for nearly 40%, according to Plomin.
Schools in the Anglosphere are spending a lot of money in an attempt to increase the level of “grit” in children. But what is it that needs to be bolstered, and what part does a child’s genes play in “grit?”
Grit is Persistence, Motivation, Conscientiousness, Focus, Impulse Control, and more
The author of a best-selling book on grit, Angela Duckworth, is stepping back from some of the hype that has been propagated in her name.
The consequences of hasty applications of grit in an educational context are not yet clear, but Duckworth can imagine them. To be sure, it’s not that she faults these educators — in many ways, she says, these are the best in the field, the ones who are most excited about trying innovative new ways of helping their students succeed. But by placing too much emphasis on grit, the danger is “that grit becomes a scapegoat — another reason to blame kids for not doing well…
… Grit, as Duckworth has defined it in her research, is a combination of perseverance and passion — it’s just that the former tends to get all the attention, while the latter is overlooked. “I think the misunderstanding — or, at least, one of them — is that it’s only the perseverance part that matters,” Duckworth told Science of Us. “But I think that the passion piece is at least as important. I mean, if you are really, really tenacious and dogged about a goal that’s not meaningful to you, and not interesting to you — then that’s just drudgery. It’s not just determination — it’s having a direction that you care about.” __ Questioning Grit
Duckworth is the recipient of a 2013 MacArthur genius grant. She gives TED Talks, has written a bestseller on grit, and has made a good career from promoting “grit” in all its ambivalence.
But it is time to “deconstruct” grit so that we know what we are talking about, and can apply the relevant concepts to helping children develop their potential as individuals and members of various work, social, and civic groups. We know that executive function and personality play as large a role in success as IQ, and that all are strongly influenced by gene expression.
Previous research has shown that a child’s personality can predict a significant, although modest, proportion of the differences between children’s grades at school. For example, a link between conscientiousness and school achievement can explain around 4% of the differences in children’s grades.
… whether or not a person has more or less grit is substantially influenced by their DNA – and explains around a third of the differences between people’s level of grit. We showed that grit is highly similar to other personality traits, showing substantial genetic influence and no influence of shared environmental factors.
… the big Five personality traits – mainly conscientiousness – explained 6% of the differences between exam results of the 16-year-olds in our study. But after controlling for these personality traits, grit on its own did little to influence academic achievement, explaining only an additional 0.5% in people’s GCSE results. __ Conversation
The above comments and research results help somewhat in untangling grit. We know that IQ is up to 80% heritable and executive function (including conscientiousness) is up to 90% heritable. Twin studies suggest that personality is 40% to 50% heritable in the early years, and more so as a person ages.
Grit is usually seen as a combination of self-discipline and persistence / determination. But as Angela Duckworth herself points out, “passion” when seen correctly is a vital part of “grit.” Humans are not robots. They are driven — and drive themselves — by emotion. On top of passion, a sense of purpose is often overlooked when discussing “grit.” For grit to mean anything at all, a person must be “gritty” about something, some purpose.
So if the purpose is unclear, and the passion is weak and opaque, what good is grit?
Additionally, grit can be counter-productive when it fails to adapt to the nuances of particular situations. Persistence, determination, purpose, and passion are important, but they all must be modified somewhat at times by self-discipline, another pre-frontal executive function that is up to 90% heritable. And self-discipline must be informed by wisdom, which is a combination of cognitive aptitude and the ability to learn from one’s own and others’ experience.
The Dangers of Jumping on Popular Bandwagons
Dangerous Children are taught contrarianism, which helps them to avoid the oft-fatal error of bandwagon riding. For example, the mainstream was carried away by Angela Duckworth’s book, Ted Talks, and other contributions to the grit crusade. But since every concept contains multiple errors and pitfalls, carrying any monolithic theme too far without examining all of its components and ramifications, is certain to lead one to overstep himself into a quagmire.
Dangerous Children take grit for what it is, a useful — although ambivalent — trait that parsimoniously incorporates several important aspects of ultimate success.
Grit: Nature vs. Nurture
As mentioned above, IQ is up to 80% heritable, executive function is up to 90% heritable, personality is roughly 50% heritable early in life, and so on. Passion is part of personality, and persistence and conscientiousness are part of executive function. All of them are shaped by intelligence as influenced by experience.
Purpose is the vision, or the guiding light. Purpose utilises all of the above, but contains something extra — something that comes from the turbulent currents and possibilities within the “real world” as the child’s mind sees it. This is where the “community IQ” and “community executive function” influences the child’s intelligence, character, personality, and sense of purpose — via experience, and via genetic and epigenetic mechanisms.
It is impossible to untangle nature from nurture, and neither should be denied its role in the weaving of the character, personality, and life trajectory of the child.
Dangerous Children Do Not Care for Ideology or Crusades
To the extent that “grit” has become a crusade in education and pop psychology, the idea is ignored here at the Institute. But to the extent that the word can be used as a trigger to release a child’s unique orchestra of purpose-supporting strengths, it is invaluable.
The human mind drifts from state to state, from intention to chaos to intention again. The self-management of most intelligent minds can be very difficult unless the flexibly tough integrity is built in from the earliest age. Genes and gene expression will vary between individuals, but all minds can be reinforced and empowered to some degree of increased self-discipline, purpose, strong character, success-promoting personality, and enhanced aptitude across a wide range of competencies.
Modern education and psychology have missed the boat, largely out of a sense of political correctness and groupthink. But there is no reason why you or your children should ride the same bandwagon over the abyss.