Stop Stealing Dreams

Godin NAILED IT!!

Stop-Stealing-Dreams-SethI have been promoting these ideas for the last 20 years. I hated school and was very much against all “education” until Oliver DeMille first introduced me to these concepts in the early 1990’s.

But these aren’t new ideas, they had been talked about for a long time since the 1940’s and 50’s.  Great minds such as Mortimer Adler, Jacque Barzun, Robert Hutchins, Louise Cowan, Neal Flinders, and countless other have been sounding the warning for decades.

So while I strongly encourage you to read the full text of Seth Godin’s STOP STEALING DREAMS, I am giving you a few excerpts here.

This is the best introduction to POST INDUSTRIAL AMERICA AND EDUCATION I have seen so far.  Enjoy!

By the way…this post is 5,000 words. That does not mean you have to read it all.  It means that out of a 40,000 word e-book I am suggesting you read 11% to try it out. It means that if you read this and like it, you should go to Seth’s site and read the rest of his revolutionary book. The future depends on you.

Back to (the wrong) school

A hundred and fifty years ago, adults were incensed about child labor. Low-wage kids were taking jobs away from hard-working adults.

Sure, there was some moral outrage about seven-year-olds losing fingers and being abused at work, but the economic rationale was paramount. Factory owners insisted that losing child workers would be catastrophic to their industries and fought hard to keep the kids at work—they said they couldn’t afford to hire adults. It wasn’t until 1918 that nationwide compulsory education was in place.

Part of the rationale used to sell this major transformation to industrialists was the idea that educated kids would actually become more compliant and produc-tive workers. Our current system of teaching kids to sit in straight rows and obey instructions isn’t a coincidence—it was an investment in our economic future. The plan: trade short-term child-labor wages for longer-term productivity by giving kids a head start in doing what they’re told.

Large-scale education was not developed to motivate kids or to create scholars. It was invented to churn out adults who worked well within the system. Scale was more important than quality, just as it was for most industrialists.

Of course, it worked. Several generations of productive, fully employed workers followed. But now?

Nobel prize–winning economist Michael Spence makes this really clear: there are tradable jobs (doing things that could be done somewhere else, like building cars, designing chairs, and answering the phone) and non-tradable jobs (like mowing the lawn or cooking burgers). Is there any question that the first kind of job is worth keeping in our economy?

Alas, Spence reports that from 1990 to 2008, the U.S. economy added only 600,000 tradable jobs.

If you do a job where someone tells you exactly what to do, he will find someone cheaper than you to do it. And yet our schools are churning out kids who are stuck looking for jobs where the boss tells them exactly what to do.

Do you see the disconnect here? Every year, we churn out millions of workers who are trained to do 1925-style labor.

THE POST INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION IS HERE

THE POST INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION IS HERE

The bargain (take kids out of work so we can teach them to become better factory workers as adults) has set us on a race to the bottom. Some people argue

that we ought to become the cheaper, easier country for sourcing cheap, compliant workers who do what they’re told.

Even if we could win that race, we’d lose. The bottom is not a good place to be, even if you’re capable of getting there.

As we get ready for the ninety-third year of universal public education, here’s the question every parent and taxpayer needs to wrestle with: Are we going to applaud, push, or even permit our schools (including most of the private ones) to continue the safe but ultimately doomed strategy of churning out predictable, testable, and mediocre factory workers?

As long as we embrace (or even accept) standardized testing, fear of science, little attempt at teaching leadership, and most of all, the bureaucratic imperative to turn education into a factory itself, we’re in big trouble.

The post-industrial revolution is here. Do you care enough to teach your kids to take advantage of it?

What is school for?

It seems a question so obvious that it’s hardly worth asking. And yet there are many possible answers. Here are a few (I’m talking about public or widespread private education here, grade K through college):

To create a society that’s culturally coordinated.

To further science and knowledge and pursue information for its own sake.

To enhance civilization while giving people the tools to make informed decisions.

To train people to become productive workers.

Over the last three generations, the amount of school we’ve delivered to the public has gone way up—more people are spending more hours being schooled than ever before. And the cost of that schooling is going up even faster, with trillions of dollars being spent on delivering school on a massive scale.

Until recently, school did a fabulous job on just one of these four societal goals. First, the other three:

A culturally coordinated society: School isn’t nearly as good at this as television is. There’s a huge gulf between the cultural experience in an under-funded, over-crowded city school and the cultural experience in a well-funded school in the suburbs. There’s a significant cultural distinction between a high school drop-out and a Yale graduate. There are significant chasms in something as simple as whether you think the scientific method is useful—where you went to school says a lot about what you were taught. If school’s goal is to create a foundation for a common culture, it hasn’t delivered at nearly the level it is capable of.

The pursuit of knowledge for its own sake: We spend a fortune teaching trigonome-try to kids who don’t understand it, won’t use it, and will spend no more of their lives studying math. We invest thousands of hours exposing millions of students to fiction and literature, but end up training most of them to never again read for fun (one study found that 58 percent of all Americans never read for pleasure after they graduate from school). As soon as we associate reading a book with taking a test, we’ve missed the point.

We continually raise the bar on what it means to be a college professor, but churn out Ph.D.s who don’t actually teach and aren’t particularly productive at research, either. We teach facts, but the amount of knowledge truly absorbed is miniscule.

The tools to make smart decisions: Even though just about everyone in the West has been through years of compulsory schooling, we see ever more belief in un-founded theories, bad financial decisions, and poor community and family planning. People’s connection with science and the arts is tenuous at best, and the financial acumen of the typical consumer is pitiful. If the goal was to raise the standards for rational thought, skeptical investigation, and useful decision making, we’ve failed for most of our citizens.

No, I think it’s clear that school was designed with a particular function in mind, and it’s one that school has delivered on for a hundred years.

Our grandfathers and great-grandfathers built school to train people to have a lifetime of productive labor as part of the industrialized economy. And it worked.

All the rest is a byproduct, a side effect (sometimes a happy one) of the schooling system that we built to train the workforce we needed for the industrialized economy.

If school’s function is to create the workers we need to fuel our economy, we need to change school, because the workers we need have changed as well.

The mission used to be to create homogenized, obedient, satisfied workers and pliant, eager consumers.

No longer.

Changing school doesn’t involve sharpening the pencil we’ve already got. School reform cannot succeed if it focuses on getting schools to do a better job of what we previously asked them to do. We don’t need more of what schools produce when they’re working as designed. The challenge, then, is to change the very output of the school before we start spending even more time and money improving the performance of the school.

The goal of this manifesto is to create a new set of questions and demands that parents, taxpayers, and kids can bring to the people they’ve chosen, the institu-tion we’ve built and invested our time and money into. The goal is to change what we get when we send citizens to school.

Mass production desires to produce mass

"Rather than protect jobs or increase the minimum wage, we should consider improving our antiquated education system", says Ryan Feit, CEO of SeedInvest

“Rather than protect jobs or increase the minimum wage, we should consider improving our antiquated education system”, says Ryan Feit, CEO of SeedInvest

That statement seems obvious, yet it surprises us that schools are oriented around the notion of uniformity. Even though the workplace and civil society demand variety, the industrialized school system works to stamp it out.

The industrialized mass nature of school goes back to the very beginning, to the common school and the normal school and the idea of universal schooling. All of which were invented at precisely the same time we were perfecting mass production and interchangeable parts and then mass marketing.

Some quick background:

The common school (now called a public school) was a brand new concept, created shortly after the Civil War. “Common” because it was for everyone, for the kids of the farmer, the kids of the potter, and the kids of the local shopkeeper. Horace Mann is generally regarded as the father of the institution, but he didn’t have to fight nearly as hard as you would imagine—because industrialists were on his side. The two biggest challenges of a newly industrial economy were finding enough compliant workers and finding enough eager customers. The common school solved both problems.

The normal school (now called a teacher’s college) was developed to indoctrinate teachers into the system of the common school, ensuring that there would be a coherent approach to the processing of students. If this sounds parallel to the notion of factories producing items in bulk, of interchangeable parts, of the notion of measurement and quality, it’s not an accident.

The world has changed, of course. It has changed into a culture fueled by a market that knows how to mass-customize, to find the edges and the weird, and to cater to what the individual demands instead of insisting on conformity.

Mass customization of school isn’t easy. Do we have any choice, though? If mass production and mass markets are falling apart, we really don’t have the right to insist that the schools we designed for a different era will function well now.

Those who worry about the nature of schools face a few choices, but it’s clear that one of them is not business as usual. One option is smaller units within schools, less industrial in outlook, with each unit creating its own varieties of leaders and citizens. The other is an organization that understands that size can be an asset, but only if the organization values customization instead of fighting it.

The current structure, which seeks low-cost uniformity that meets minimum standards, is killing our economy, our culture, and us.

Frederick J. Kelly and your nightmares

In 1914, a professor in Kansas invented the multiple-choice test. Yes, it’s less than a hundred years old.

There was an emergency on. World War I was ramping up, hundreds of thou-sands of new immigrants needed to be processed and educated, and factories were hungry for workers. The government had just made two years of high school mandatory, and we needed a temporary, high-efficiency way to sort students and quickly assign them to appropriate slots.

In the words of Professor Kelly, “This is a test of lower order thinking for the lower orders.”

“This is a test of lower order thinking for the lower orders.” Frederick J. Kelly

“This is a test of lower order thinking for the lower orders.” Frederick J. Kelly

A few years later, as President of the University of Idaho, Kelly disowned the idea, pointing out that it was an appropriate method to test only a tiny portion of what is actually taught and should be abandoned. The industrialists and the mass educators revolted and he was fired.

The SAT, the single most important filtering device used to measure the effect of school on each individual, is based (almost without change) on Kelly’s lower-order thinking test. Still.

The reason is simple. Not because it works. No, we do it because it’s the easy and efficient way to keep the mass production of students moving forward.

To efficiently run a school, amplify fear (and destroy passion)

School’s industrial, scaled-up, measurable structure means that fear must be used to keep the masses in line. There’s no other way to get hundreds or thousands of kids to comply, to process that many bodies, en masse, without simultaneous coordination.

And the flip side of this fear and conformity must be that passion will be destroyed. There’s no room for someone who wants to go faster, or someone who wants to do something else, or someone who cares about a particular issue. Move on. Write it in your notes; there will be a test later. A multiple-choice test.

Do we need more fear?

Less passion?

Is it possible to teach attitudes?

The notion that an organization could teach anything at all is a relatively new one.

Traditionally, society assumed that artists, singers, artisans, writers, scientists, and alchemists would find their calling, then find a mentor, and then learn their craft. It was absurd to think that you’d take people off the street and teach them

to do science or to sing, and persist at that teaching long enough for them to get excited about it.

Now that we’ve built an industrial solution to teaching in bulk, we’ve seduced ourselves into believing that the only thing that can be taught is the way to get high SAT scores.

We shouldn’t be buying this.

We can teach people to make commitments, to overcome fear, to deal transparently, to initiate, and to plan a course.

We can teach people to desire lifelong learning, to express themselves, and to innovate.

And just as important, it’s vital we acknowledge that we can unteach bravery and creativity and initiative. And that we have been doing just that.

School has become an industrialized system, working on a huge scale, that has significant byproducts, including the destruction of many of the attitudes and emotions we’d like to build our culture around.

In order to efficiently jam as much testable data into a generation of kids, we push to make those children compliant, competitive zombies.

Reinventing school

Monticello College meets every one of these criteria

Monticello College meets every one of these criteria

If the new goal of school is to create something different from what we have now, and if new technologies and new connections are changing the way school can deliver its lessons, it’s time for a change.

Here are a dozen ways school can be rethought:

Homework during the day, lectures at night

Open book, open note, all the time

Access to any course, anywhere in the world

Precise, focused instruction instead of mass, generalized instruction

The end of multiple-choice exams

Experience instead of test scores as a measure of achievement

The end of compliance as an outcome

Cooperation instead of isolation

Amplification of outlying students, teachers, and ideas

Transformation of the role of the teacher

Lifelong learning, earlier work

Death of the nearly famous college

It’s easier than ever to open a school, to bring new technology into school, and to change how we teach. But if all we do with these tools is teach compliance and consumption, that’s all we’re going to get. School can and must do more than train the factory workers of tomorrow.

Fast, flexible, and focused

It’s clear that the economy has changed. What we want and expect from our best citizens has changed. Not only in what we do when we go to our jobs, but also in the doors that have been opened for people who want to make an impact on our culture.

At the very same time, the acquisition of knowledge has been forever transformed by the Internet. Often overlooked in the rush to waste time at Facebook and YouTube is the fact that the Internet is the most efficient and powerful information delivery system ever developed.

The change in the economy and the delivery of information online combine to amplify the speed of change. These rapid cycles are overwhelming the ability of the industrialized system of education to keep up.

As a result, the education-industrial system, the one that worked very well in creating a century’s worth of factory workers, lawyers, nurses, and soldiers, is now obsolete.

We can prop it up or we can fix it.

I don’t think it’s practical to say, “We want what we’ve been getting, but cheaper and better.” That’s not going to happen, and I’m not sure we want it to, anyway.

We need school to produce something different, and the only way for that to happen is for us to ask new questions and make new demands on every element of the educational system we’ve built. Whenever teachers, administrators, or board members respond with an answer that refers to a world before the rules changed, they must stop and start their answer again.

No, we do not need you to create compliance.

No, we do not need you to cause meaningless memorization.

And no, we do not need you to teach students to embrace the status quo.

Anything a school does to advance those three agenda items is not just a waste of money, but actually works against what we do need. The real shortage we face is dreams, and the wherewithal and the will to make them come true.

No tweaks. A revolution.

Dreams are difficult to build and easy to destroy

By their nature, dreams are evanescent. They flicker long before they shine brightly. And when they’re flickering, it’s not particularly difficult for a parent or a teacher or a gang of peers to snuff them out.

Creating dreams is more difficult. They’re often related to where we grow up, who our parents are, and whether or not the right person enters our life.

Settling for the not-particularly uplifting dream of a boring, steady job isn’t helpful. Dreaming of being picked—picked to be on TV or picked to play on a team or picked to be lucky—isn’t helpful either. We waste our time and the time of our students when we set them up with pipe dreams that don’t empower them to adapt (or better yet, lead) when the world doesn’t work out as they hope.

The dreams we need are self-reliant dreams. We need dreams based not on what is but on what might be. We need students who can learn how to learn, who can discover how to push themselves and are generous enough and honest enough to engage with the outside world to make those dreams happen.

I think we’re doing a great job of destroying dreams at the very same time the dreams we do hold onto aren’t nearly bold enough.

The connection revolution is upon us

downloadIt sells the moment short to call this the Internet revolution. In fact, the era that marks the end of the industrial age and the beginning of something new is ultimately about connection.

The industrial revolution wasn’t about inventing manufacturing, it was about amplifying it to the point where it changed everything. And the connection revolution doesn’t invent connection, of course, but it amplifies it to become the dominant force in our economy.

Connecting people to one another.

Connecting seekers to data.

Connecting businesses to each other.

Connecting tribes of similarly minded individuals into larger, more effective organizations.

Connecting machines to each other and creating value as a result.

In the connection revolution, value is not created by increasing the productivity of those manufacturing a good or a service. Value is created by connecting buyers to sellers, producers to consumers, and the passionate to each other.

This meta-level of value creation is hard to embrace if you’re used to measuring sales per square foot or units produced per hour. In fact, though, connection leads to an extraordinary boost in productivity, efficiency, and impact.

In the connected world, reputation is worth more than test scores. Access to data means that data isn’t the valuable part; the processing is what matters. Most of all, the connected world rewards those with an uncontrollable itch to make and lead and matter.

In the pre-connected world, information was scarce, and hoarding it was smart. Information needed to be processed in isolation, by individuals. After school, you were on your own.

In the connected world, all of that scarcity is replaced by abundance—an abundance of information, networks, and interactions.

What if we told students the truth?

Transparency in the traditional school might destroy it. If we told the truth about the irrelevance of various courses, about the relative quality of some teachers, about the power of choice and free speech—could the school as we know it survive?

What happens when the connection revolution collides with the school?

Unlike just about every other institution and product line in our economy, transparency is missing from education. Students are lied to and so are parents. At some point, teenagers realize that most of school is a game, but the system never acknowledges it. In search of power, control and independence, administrators hide information from teachers, and vice versa.

Because school was invented to control students and give power to the state, it’s not surprising that the relationships are fraught with mistrust.

The very texture of the traditional school matches the organization and culture of the industrial economy. The bottom of the pyramid stores the students, with teachers (middle managers) following instructions from their bosses.

As in the traditional industrial organization, the folks at the bottom of the school are ignored, mistreated, and lied to. They are kept in the dark about anything outside of what they need to know to do their job (being a student), and put to work to satisfy the needs of the people in charge. Us and them.

The connection economy destroys the illusion of control. Students have the ability to find out which colleges are a good value, which courses make no sense,

and how people in the real world are actually making a living. They have the ability to easily do outside research, even in fifth grade, and to discover that the teacher (or her textbook) is just plain wrong.

When students can take entire courses outside of the traditional school, how does the school prevent that? When passionate students can start their own political movements, profitable companies, or worthwhile community projects without the aegis of a school, how are obedience and fealty enforced?

It’s impossible to lie and manipulate when you have no power.

The decision

We don’t ask students to decide to participate. We assume the contract of adhesion, and relentlessly put information in front of them, with homework to do and tests to take.

Entirely skipped: commitment. Do you want to learn this? Will you decide to become good at this?

The universal truth is beyond question—the only people who excel are those who have decided to do so. Great doctors or speakers or skiers or writers or musicians are great because somewhere along the way, they made the choice.

Why have we completely denied the importance of this choice?

Exploiting the instinct to hide

Human beings have, like all animals, a great ability to hide from the things they fear.

In the name of comportment and compliance and the processing of millions, school uses that instinct to its advantage. At the heart of the industrial system is power—the power of bosses over workers, the power of buyers over suppliers, and the power of marketers over consumers.

intrapreneurs_diagrma1Given the assignment of indoctrinating a thousand kids at a time, the embattled school administrator reaches for the most effective tool available. Given that the assigned output of school is compliant citizens, the shortcut for achieving this output was fear.

The amygdala, sometimes called the lizard brain, is the fear center of the brain. It is on high alert during moments of stress. It is afraid of snakes. It causes our heart to race during a scary movie and our eyes to avoid direct contact with someone in authority.

The shortcut to compliance, then, isn’t to reason with someone, to outline the options, and to sell a solution. No, the shortcut is to induce fear, to activate the amygdala. Do this or we’ll laugh at you, expel you, tell your parents, make you sit in the corner. Do this or you will get a bad grade, be suspended, never amount to anything. Do this or you are in trouble.

Once the fear transaction is made clear, it can get ever more subtle. A fearsome teacher might need no more than a glance to quiet down his classroom.

But that’s not enough for the industrial school. It goes further than merely ensuring classroom comportment. Fear is used to ensure that no one stretches too far, questions the status quo, or makes a ruckus. Fear is reinforced in career planning, in academics, and even in interpersonal interactions. Fear lives in the guidance office, too.

The message is simple: better fit in or you won’t get into a good school. If you get into a good school and do what they say, you’ll get a good job, and you’ll be fine. But if you don’t—it’ll go on your permanent record.

Years ago, five friends and a I were put in charge of a 150 rowdy fifth-graders for a long weekend up in Canada. It was almost impossible to be heard over the din—until I stumbled onto the solution. All we had to say was, “points will be deducted,” and compliance appeared. There weren’t any points and there wasn’t any prize, but merely the threat of lost points was sufficient.

Instead of creating a social marketplace where people engage and grow, school is a maelstrom, a whirlpool that pushes for sameness and dumbs down the individual while it attempts to raise the average.

The other side of fear is passion

There really are only two tools available to the educator. The easy one is fear. Fear is easy to awake, easy to maintain, but ultimately toxic.

The other tool is passion. A kid in love with dinosaurs or baseball or earth science is going to learn it on her own. She’s going to push hard for ever more information, and better still, master the thinking behind it.

Passion can overcome fear—the fear of losing, of failing, of being ridiculed.

The problem is that individual passion is hard to scale—hard to fit into the industrial model. It’s not reliably ignited. It’s certainly harder to create for large masses of people. Sure, it’s easy to get a convention center filled with delegates to chant for a candidate, and easier still to engage the masses at Wembley Stadium, but the passion that fuels dreams and creates change must come from the individual, not from a demigod.

The industrial age pervaded all of our culture

There has been no bigger change in ten thousand years of recorded human history than the overwhelming transformation of society and commerce and health and civilization that was enabled (or caused) by industrialization.

We’re so surrounded by it that it seems normal and permanent and preordained, but we need to lay it out in stark relief to see how it has created the world we live in.

In just a few generations, society went from agrarian and distributed to corporatized and centralized. In order to overhaul the planet, a bunch of things had to work in concert:

Infrastructure changes, including paving the earth, laying pipe, building cities, wiring countries for communication, etc.

Government changes, which meant permitting corporations to engage with the king, to lobby, and to receive the benefits of infrastructure and policy investments. “Corporations are people, friend.”

Education changes, including universal literacy, an expectation of widespread commerce, and most of all, the practice of instilling the instinct to obey civil (as opposed to government) authority.

None of this could have happened if there had been widespread objections from individuals. It turns out, though, that it was relatively easy to enforce and then teach corporate and educational obedience. It turns out that industrializing the schooling of billions of people was a natural fit, a process that quickly turned into a virtuous cycle: obedient students were turned into obedient teachers, who were then able to create even more obedient students. We’re wired for this stuff.

The system churned out productivity and money from the start. This result encouraged all the parties involved to amplify what they were doing—more lobbying, more infrastructure, more obedience. It took only a hundred and fifty years, but the industrial age remade the entire population of the planet, from Detroit to Kibera.

The cornerstone of the entire process was how well the notion of obedience fit into the need for education. We needed educated workers, and teaching them to

be obedient helped us educate them. And we needed obedient workers, and the work of educating them reinforced the desired behavior.

As the industrial age peters out, as the growth fades away, the challenge is this: training creative, independent, and innovative artists is new to us. We can’t use the old tools, because resorting to obedience to teach passion just isn’t going to work. Our instinct, the easy go-to tool of activating the amygdala, isn’t going to work this time.

Strongbrook Mentoring Network It’s Free

famous

If free is not enough, I don’t know what it will take to get you to check this out…seriously, if you have any desire for self improvement (boy, I do) I strongly encourage you to spend a few minutes to see just what this is.

Just opt-in at the upper right hand corner of this blog and follow the instructions.
Mentors

NO credits cards!

NO commitments!

NO sales gimmicks!!

NO bait and switch!!!

Just an honest effort to share with you the most revolutionary concept in mentoring and personal or self development EVER!

These are some of the hottest mentors available. And outside of the network their  fees run from $200 to $50,000.

 

 

 

 

CoursesThere are currently over 50 mentors and over 100 courses available to choose from. While our freemium (free content) is not yet available, anyone can review the mentors and the courses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And for those who opt-in, I have a special gift that will give you full access to the mentoring vault FOR FREE! Opt-in now in the upper right hand corner of this blog.

The Age of Self-Development

downloadWords get wrongly used all the time. Some words or phrases are used inaccurately so often, that we become numb or grow ignorant to their original meaning or significance.

To wrongly use or misuse a word means to change the definition (ignorantly or on purpose) to gain some political, economic, or religious advantage or that by our actions over time we actually change the meaning of a word or phrase.

I’ll give you a couple of examples to show you what I mean.

Example #1

Most people would say that the words “education” and “schooling” are synonyms (different words with the same meaning). But nothing could be further from the true:

School /Schooling Defined* –

1) any activity that is designed to instruct, inform or train a person how to act; to teach a person his part.

2) a crowd or group. Doing things as a group.

Education Defined

1) to bring up, nurture or rear from childhood so as to form their habits, manners, intellectual and physical aptitudes.

2) Develop intellectual and moral powers generally. This is done individually or with a few.

In this case, education has come to have the same meaning as school. However, the above definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary would beg to differ. There is plenty of evidence to show the deliberate and false synonym-“izing” of these two words at the beginning of the 20th century.

Benito Juarez - 1st Indigenous President of Mexico

Benito Juarez – 1st Indigenous President of Mexico

Example #2

Monticello College  provides a Statesmanship quality education. Statesman is an honorable title with many great historical examples: George Washington, John Adams, Benito Juarez, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Martin Luther King.

But because of its misuse over time (bad people being called or calling themselves statesmen), most people associate the word with a crooked politician.

So when we misuse words, their meanings become distorted or watered-down until they retain very little of their original meaning—and power.

This brings me to the point of this article. I believe that we have entered a new era, a time of increasing human consciousness, a moment where we actually have the technology to vanquish poverty and ignorance—the Age of Self-Development.

But this phrase, Self-Development or personal development has been heavily over-used or rather, misused. When most people hear the term Self-Development or personal development, it usually brings to mind some motivational speaker or guru who just wants to con you out of your hard earned money. And it’s true, those kinds of people are out there. I myself have found these charlatans in academia, Network Marketing, the world of real estate, and in business in general.

But not all promoters of Self-Development are bad or misleading. In order to develop the skill to discern the good from the bad, we first have to know what Self-Development really means.

images (1)To understand the true meaning of this most powerful of phrases and to clarify what I mean by the Age of Self-Development, take a minute to reacquaint yourself with the these original definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary:

SELF –

Oneself: self-supporting

Of oneself: self-honor

By oneself: self-propelling, self-acting

To, with, or toward oneself: self-consistent, self-addressing, self-love

In oneself: inherently, self-evident

From or by means of oneself: self-solution

DEVELOP –

To set forth or make clear by degrees or in detail: develop a thesis

To make visible or manifest: paint a vision

To subject to a treatment or process in order to produce a visible image: develop film

To elaborate (a musical idea) by the working out of rhythmic and harmonic changes in the theme: write a song

To work out the possibilities of: develop and idea

To create or produce especially by deliberate effort over time: new ways of doing business

To make active of promote the growth of: develop muscles

To make available or useable: develop natural resources

To move from the original position to one providing more opportunity for effective use: he moved his chess piece with deliberation

To cause to unfold: gradually developed his argument

To expand by a process of growth: working to expand the company

To cause to grow and differentiate along lines natural to its kind: rain and sun develop the grain

To become infected or effected by: she developed pneumonia

To acquire gradually: develop an appreciation for ballet

To go through a process of natural growth, differentiation, or evolution by successive changes: a blossom develops from a bud

To come into being gradually: the situation developing in Eastern Europe

SELF-DEVELOPMENT

imagesMy guess is that the term Self-Development has a more “developed” meaning for you now than it did 5 minutes ago. True Self-Development is the most exciting, invigorating, and uplifting action that a human being can take. Fully engaged Self-Development will literally change you life. Life will be more fulfilling, satisfying, stabilizing, charitable, and revealing than you could ever imagine.

While the phrase Self-Development may have little meaning to the average person hearing it, it has huge significance to those who are truly seeking it.

 

Self-Development is literally a self-initiated action; founded in the awareness that one’s potential is far greater than one’s current self-expression.

 

It is a self-propelling action to create or produce, by deliberate extra-ordinary effort over time. Self-Development is a process of natural growth, differentiation, or evolution by successive changes. Self-Development means to move from where you are now to a position that provides more opportunity for personal growth. It is literally the expansion of self. It is the process of making one’s true nature manifest and visible to all.

– Dr. Shanon Brooks

 

The very act of engaging in true Self-Development is the remedy to the misuse of the phrase. The only way of restoring integrity to this most noble concept—is to live it.

While Self-Development doesn’t have to cost anything at all, my journey and the thousands of dollars I have paid for books, seminars, courses, and mentors has literally changed my life, saved my marriage, and created the vision of my future.

We live in a time like no other. We have the world’s knowledge and experience literally at our fingertips. We live a general standard of living unrivaled by any civilization in the history of the world. And we have more opportunities to develop wealth that any generation that has ever populated this planet.

All that is required for us to enter on the path of Self-Development is to ponder this definition and listen to our hearts:

Self-Development is literally a self-initiated action; founded in the awareness that one’s potential is far greater than one’s current self-expression.

 

It is a self-propelling action to create or produce, by deliberate extra-ordinary effort over time. Self-Development is a process of natural growth, differentiation, or evolution by successive changes. Self-Development means to move from where you are now to a position that provides more opportunity for personal growth. It is literally the expansion of self. It is the process of making one’s true nature manifest and visible to all. – Dr. Shanon Brooks

If the idea or concept of Self-Development resonates with you, TAKE ACTION!

How long has your “true self” been waiting for your current “limited self” to get it in gear?”smiley-face-1-4-15

 

 

Click here if I have piqued you interest to learn more about Self-Development absolutely FREE.

I promise that there are no hidden fees, not sales pitches, and no under-handed bait and switch tactics. By clicking here now, you will have the chance to be introduced to the most impactful Self-Development program in the world—all for free.

Of course, there will eventually be an opportunity for a no pressure up-sale. But before you get to that, there will be a mountain of FREE, no-obligation information and added value for you to take and use in your life as a means of beginning your own journey of Self-Development. (Did I mention it was free?)

There is a “Freemium” version of the the Mentoring Network coming soon.  If you want a seek peek now though, contact me and I will let you use my password for a day to check it out.

As always, feel free to email or call me with challenges or questions. I am also open to complaints. sb@monticellocollege.org or (435) 590-1661

 

*Oxford English Dictionary

Twenty-Something’s Embrace Entrepreneurship To Build Financial Freedom

A new phenomenon is emerging that could change everything that we know about how to earn a living. People are beginning to re-think the whole college thing.

rethink-collegeI just talked to a neighbor yesterday who told me that her 18 year-old daughter just couldn’t see how college would help her with her dream and so she is serving an internship that is morphing into a full time job in a field that she has dreamed about for years.

This is happening all over the country and the clash between the Industrial Age and the Computer Age is the culprit.

At first, computer technology was “heralded as a messiah” in terms of increasing efficiencies such as just-in-time-inventory.

But in the past 10 years, we have seen that same increase in efficiencies transform and reshape nearly every field of business and industry leading to some of the highest rates of unemployment on record.

To add injury to insult, most colleges and universities are still educating for Industrial Age jobs or simply can’t keep up with technology to the point, that by the time some students graduate, ¼ to ½ of what they learned is obsolete for market application.

With U.S. student loan debt surpassing $1 Trillion and as many as 70% of new graduates not finding work in their fields of study, the clash between the Industrial Age and the Computer Age is for them—more reality than theory.

Enter Entrepreneurship.

When the Industrial Age was still the new kid on the block, early adapters (entrepreneurs) embraced the changes of the Industrial Age and became the icons of industry, business, science, medicine, communication and transportation, for the next 100 years.

Entrepreneurship solves the problems of unemployment by training and preparing people to anticipate change. It teaches people to perpetually embrace and cultivate forward-thinking innovation and to build personal skills that allow them to navigate rapid technological and social change.

And within the realm of entrepreneurship is this emerging opportunity called Network Marketing.

 

Prepping For The 4th of July

(As I was preparing to send you the text below, I opened an email this morning from my daughter Ginnie (20) to find the exact same text. I guess they do listen)

TO HELP IN YOUR 4TH OF JULY PREPARATION:

Spirit_of_'76Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence? Their story. . .

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.

Eleven were merchants.

Nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated.

But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton , Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.

So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It’s not much to ask for the price they paid.

Remember: freedom is never free!

As an added bonus for your 4th of July prep, here is an essay written by my mentor of 20 years – Oliver DeMille.

Liber and Public Virtue

Oliver DeMille

A speech delivered by Dr. Oliver DeMille at America’s Freedom Festival on June 30, 2000. Oliver DeMille is a well known author and lecturer on education and liberty. His works include: A Thomas Jefferson Education, 1913, The Coming Aristocracy, FreedomShift, The U.S. Constitution and the 196 Indispensable Principles of Freedom, LeaderShift, We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident, and several others.

The Liber

On July 4, 1776 John Hancock, as head of the Continental Congress, signed his name at the bottom of the newly written Declaration of Independence and sent it to the world. The rest of the signers didn’t sign until Congress reconvened on August 2. So for a month John Hancock’s name stood alone declaring independence from the greatest power on the face of the earth.

What motivates a man to voluntarily sacrifice his own safety, jeopardizing his family and all his earthly possessions on the lean hope that his neighbors and nation will support him, and even if they do, that his side has any chance of winning? What motivates a man to voluntarily submit himself to the legal and violent reaction that he knew would come, and which surely did come?

There are two phrases which have been forgotten today, but which help explain why a man like John Hancock, and so many others in his generation, would choose what they did at such high cost. These two phrases were the foundation of freedom on July 4, 1776.

In those days, the average farmer or housewife understood both of these phrases, and based on the response to the Federalist Papers, could have debated and discussed them openly. Unfortunately, in the year 2000, neither phrase is widely understood. The first phrase is public virtue, the second is Liber.

I have submitted these two phrases to thousands of people in seminars around the nation, and I have often stopped at this point in my presentation and asked how many people could give me a definition of Public Virtue or Liber. A few people have known Liber, and in most seminars several people raise their hand and try to define Public Virtue. A few have even come close.

So what do these phrases mean?

Liber is the Latin word for tree or tree bark, and since tree bark was used to write on and make contracts with, and processed to make paper for more writing and contracts, theword Liber can be associated with those who can read, write and engage in contract. With this definition, in the classical world of Greece and Rome, there were two classes of people: slaves and Liber.

There were varying levels and types of slaves and peasants, and likewise different types of Liber: from citizens to merchants to the aristocracy and royalty. But the fundamental difference between slaves and Liber was freedom, and Liber is the root word of Liberty. It is also the root of book, libro, and library.

Liberty is the state of being Liber. Liberty is not just the absence of bondage, but the fitness of the individual to act as a citizen.

Liber is also the root of the phrase “liberal arts”, such as in liberal arts colleges; the arts in a Bachelor of Arts or B.A. degree comes from the liberal arts. The liberal arts are the knowledge and skills necessary to remain free. As Robert M. Hutchins, former president of the University of Chicago, put it: “. . . liberal education . . . is the education that prepares us to be free men. You have to have this education if you . . . are going to be an effective citizen of a democracy; for citizenship requires that . . . you do not leave your duties to be performed by others . . . . A free society is composed of freemen. To be free you have to be educated for freedom.”

What are those arts? Well, for the founders they were the arts of reading the classics and thinking clearly and independently.

The Founding generation was a generation of Liber, of men and women and children who could read the law and government bills and resolutions in detail and understand and debate them. These regular farmers and housewives read and hotly debated the Federalist Papers in New York in 1789.

History has proven that Freedom is not free. It must be earned. And one of the ways the Founding generation earned it was in becoming Liber: getting the kind of education required to remain free. And by education they didn’t mean diplomas or degrees, but knowledge gained from reading the classics of history, law, government, and the arts.

It is true that hardly any schools in our day focus on training people to be Liber, but the classics are still available and all we must do is take them off the shelf, dust them off, and get to work earning our freedom. If our generation loses the understanding necessary to remain free, we will lose our freedom. No society in all of history has avoided this inevitable consequence. Over and over in history, when the people of a nation stop being Liber and just become focused on getting jobs and making a living, freedom wanes and finally is sold.

Unless we pay the price to be a nation of Liber, we will not maintain the freedoms we so cherish and celebrate.

That is the first great word that we have forgotten since July 4, 1776—Liber, which means the body of citizens reading the classics and history and knowing what is required to remain free.

Public Virtue

The other forgotten key to maintaining our liberty and prosperity and ability to worship and choose freely is public virtue.

Benjamin Franklin said: “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt . . . they have more need of masters.

Samuel Adams said: “I thank God that I have lived to see my country independent and free. She may enjoy her . . . freedom if she will. It depends on her virtue.”

The founding generation spoke of two types of virtue: private virtue and public virtue. Private virtue is morality, obedience to the commandments, doing what is right. And private virtue is essential to freedom: immorality leads inevitably to loss of freedom— personal and eventually national.

Public virtue, on the other hand, is a totally distinct concept from private virtue, though equally vital to liberty. Most of the people in our seminars who try to define public virtue say something like: public virtue is where government officials are moral in their personal lives, or public virtue is when leaders pass moral laws. But public virtue is even more fundamental than these things—it is one of the things which makes them possible.

In 1776 the term public virtue meant voluntarily sacrificing personal benefit for the good of society.

Consider the signers of the Declaration of Independence and their closest associates, their wives.

The signers and their wives epitomized both Liber and Public Virtue

Robert and Mary Morris

Like Robert Morris of Pennsylvania. Robert Morris was at a holiday celebration dinner when news came of the Battle of Lexington. The group was astonished and most people soon left for home, but Robert and a “. . . few remained and discussed the great question of American freedom: and there, within that festive hall, did Robert Morris and a few others, by solemn vow, dedicate their lives, their fortunes, and their honor, to the sacred cause of the Revolution.”[i]

Robert Morris was self-educated and guided by a mentor, Mr. Thomas Willing, and became Liber through studying the classics. He started in business at age 21 and became extremely wealthy. In fact, he was known as the Financier of the Revolution. When the

Tea Act was passed, Robert Morris openly supported it though he lost thousands of dollars in his business.

When Congress went bankrupt in 1776, Robert Morris loaned $10,000 of his own money to feed and cloth Washington’s “handful of half-naked, half-famished militia.” In their day, this was a fortune. One historian wrote: “When Congress fled to Baltimore, on the approach of the British across New Jersey, Mr. Morris, after [fleeing with] his family into the country, returned to, and remained in Philadelphia. Almost in despair, Washington wrote to him, and informed him that to make any successful movement whatever, a considerable sum of money must be had. It was a requirement that seemed almost impossible to meet.

Mr. Morris left his counting-room for his lodgings in utter despondency. On his way he met a wealthy Quaker, and made known his wants. “What security can’st thou give me?” asked he. “My note and my honor,” promptly replied Mr. Morris. The Quaker replied: “Robert, thou shalt have it.”—It was sent to Washington, the Delaware was crossed [remember the picture with Washington at the helm?], and victory was won!”

On another occasion, when Washington was preparing for his attack at Yorktown, which turned the tide of the war to America’s side, he approached Robert Morris and Judge Peters. “’What can you do for me?’ said Washington to Mr. Peters. ‘With money, everything, without it, nothing,’ he replied, at the same time turning an anxious look toward Mr. Morris. ‘Let me know the sum you desire’ said Mr. Morris; and before noon Washington’s plan and estimates were complete. Mr. Morris promised him the amount, and raised it upon his own responsibility.”

Time after time Robert Morris gave his own resources and raised money on his own credit to keep Washington and his men going. One record remarked: “If it were not [proven] by official records, posterity would hardly be made to believe that the campaign . . . which . . . closed the Revolutionary War, was sustained wholly on the credit of an individual merchant.”

When the War ended, this self-made millionaire spent 3 1⁄2 years in debtors prison after he lost everything. His wife, Mary Morris, who was born to a wealthy family and educated in the classics, watched possession after possession disappear during the War. When Robert went to prison after giving so much to the cause of freedom, she tended a borrowed little farm and walked each day to the prison with her daughter Maria to visit her husband. Robert left prison a broken down old man and died shortly thereafter. The financier of the Revolution, and his family, understood public virtue—voluntarily sacrificing personal benefit for the good of society.

Thomas and Lucy Nelson

So did Thomas Nelson, Jr. a signer of the Declaration of Independence from Virginia. He was Liber educated in the classics under the tutelage of his father and was later individually mentored by the celebrated Dr. Proteus at Cambridge. When the Revolutionary War started, he was called as the head of the military of the state of Virginia. “The sudden call of the militia from their homes left many families [destitute], for a great part of the agricultural operations were suspended.” General Nelson used his own money and resources to support many of his poorest soldiers, “and thus more than a hundred families were kept from absolute want.”[ii]

The biographer of the Signers, B.J. Lossing, wrote: “Mr. Nelson made many and great [financial] sacrifices for his country. When, in 1780, the French fleet was hourly expected, Congress felt it highly necessary that provision should be made for them. But its credit was prostrate, and its calls upon the States were [ignored]. Virginia proposed to raise two million . . . dollars, and Mr. Nelson at once” set out to raise the money. “But many wealthy men told Mr. Nelson that they would not contribute a penny on the security of [Congress], but they would lend him all he wanted. He at once added his personal security.”

I have wondered which type of person I would be in similar circumstances—the men who made sure their bank accounts grew during the War, or the Thomas Nelson and Robert Morris type who gave their all. At one point in the War, Washington was losing and his men starving while the British were well supplied from American merchants. I have wondered whether in the same circumstances I would keep selling to the British, or do like so many American Farmers and Merchants did and burn down my own business, crop or livelihood. Can you imagine voluntarily pouring the kerosene on your shop, and hand in hand with your spouse lighting the match and walking away to bankruptcy—all because your side was so close to losing the war?

Thomas Nelson was elected Governor of Virginia when Thomas Jefferson’s term expired, and during the Battle of Yorktown, the one which Robert Morris funded and which turned the tide of the War to the Americans, Governor Nelson noticed that the American troops were firing at every home in town except his own personal home. The British had stationed a number of their officers in his home, perhaps believing that as the home of the governor and head of the state military it was safe. Governor Nelson positioned himself at the head of his troops and begged them to open fire on his home— and it was shelled by canon fire.

Within a month of this battle, his health broke and he shortly passed away. Thomas Nelson’s biographer wrote that “he descended into the grave honored and beloved, and alas! of his once vast estates, that honor and love was almost all that he left behind him. He had spent a princely fortune in his Country’s service; his horses had been taken from the plough and sent to drag the munitions of war; his granaries had been thrown open to a starving soldiery and his ample purse had been drained to its last dollar, when the credit of Virginia could not bring a sixpence into her treasury. Yet it was the widow of this man who . . . had yet to learn whether republics can be grateful.”

Lucy Nelson had been born wealthy and had helped Thomas make his fortune and rise to the Governor’s mansion. When he died early, broke and destitute, she was left to raise eleven children and eke out a living for three decades alone. When she died at eighty

years of age she was “blind, infirm” and still poor, and she willed her only earthly possession, $20, to her minister. The Nelson family understood both Liber and Public Virtue.

Samuel and Eliza Adams

Another man, whose name is more familiar, also personified these forgotten virtues. Samuel Adams was educated by his father in the liberal arts through the classics.[iii] He attempted to go into business several times but he spent so much time studying the classics and reading about government and politics that he nearly went bankrupt in every business endeavor. He finally got a job as a tax collector through one of his political contacts. However, he had a hard time with this job also. As a biographer tells it: “Times were hard, money was scarce, and the collections fell [way behind]. Adams’s enemies raised the cry of [mismanagement].

“Then it came out that Sam Adams had refused to sell out the last cow or pig or the last sack of potatoes or corn meal or the scant furniture of a poor man to secure his taxes. He had told his superiors in authority that the town did not need the taxes as badly as most of these poor people needed their belongings and that he would rather lose his office than force such collections.” This job fell through like his other financial endeavors.

Another biographer wrote: “For years now, Samuel Adams had laid aside all pretence of private business and was devoted simply and solely to public affairs .. His wife, like himself, was contented with poverty; through good management, in spite of their narrow means, a comfortable home life was maintained in which the children grew up happy and in every way well trained and cared for.”

Sam Adams and his wife, Elizabeth Wells Adams (she went by the name Eliza), and all of their children sacrificed and suffered for the cause of freedom, including a son who was imprisoned. Even the family dog, a big Newfoundland named Queue, got involved in the War. In fact, Queue was “cut and shot in several places” by British soldiers, because every time a red uniform passed by the Adams farm Queue viciously attacked. Perhaps this dog understood the issues or at least the views of his master. As Eliza Adams’s biographer wrote: “[Queue] had a vast antipathy for the British uniform . . . and bore to his grave honorable scars from his fierce encounters.”

In 1763 Sam Adams gave the first public speech in the Americas against the British and the first call for Independence. He was so successful in stirring up support for the Revolution, that when the British later offered clemency to all the signers of the Declaration who would recant, Samuel Adams and John Hancock were purposely left of the list.

He was an instigator of the Boston Tea Party and was involved in almost every major event of the Revolution. He served in the Continental Congress and the records show that he was involved in almost every significant committee and spoke on nearly every important issue.

Once, in response to a suggestion to try to compromise with the British, Samuel Adams obtained the floor and said to the General Council of the States: “I should advise persisting in our struggle for liberty, though it were revealed from Heaven that nine hundred and ninety-nine were to perish and only one of a thousand were to survive and retain his liberty! One such freeman must possess more virtue, and enjoy more happiness than a thousand slaves . . .”

In a time when many people spoke against slavery but owned slaves, Samuel and Eliza Adams urged everyone to free any and all slaves, and then set the example by promptly freeing all slaves the moment they came into possession of them.

In 1774, when Samuel Adams was elected to Congress, he had no money for the necessary expenses, and his absence would likely have left his family destitute. A private letter, written on August 11, 1774, tells the story: some of his neighbors, their names kept anonymous, “asked his permission to build him a new barn . . . which was executed in a few days.”

A second benefactor repaired his house; a third invited him to a tailor’s shop and then had him measured for and purchased him a new suit of cloths which was later delivered to his home. A fourth presented him with a new wig and a fifth bought him a new hat. Three others purchased him six articles of clothing, including a new pair of shoes. Another community member slipped him a purse of money; when he searched it, it contained adequate gold to cover his expenses.

His kinsman John Adams wrote: “. . . Samuel Adams . . . never planned, laid a scheme or formed a design of laying up anything for himself . . . .The case of Samuel Adams is almost without a parallel as an instance of enthusiastic, unswerving devotion to public service throughout a long life.”

Another family that epitomized Liber and Public Virtue was the Francis and Elizabeth Lewis family.[iv] Francis was a signer of the Declaration from New York, was educated in the classics and built a successful business from scratch with the help of Elizabeth. They both gave their wealth and health for our freedom.

“Like Floyd, Livingstone, and Robert Morris, the other New York signers, Francis Lewis was [outlawed] by the British and a price set on his head. The enemy did not stop there. Very soon after they were in possession of Long Island, Captain Birtch was sent with a troop . . . ‘to seize the lady and destroy the property.’ As the soldiers advanced on one side, a ship of war from the other fired upon the house . . . . Mrs. Lewis looked calmly on. A shot from the vessel struck the board on which she stood. One of her servants cried: ‘Run, Mistress, run.’ She replied: ‘Another shot is not likely to strike the same spot,” and did not change her place. The soldiers entered the house and . . . destroyed books, papers, and pictures, ruthlessly broke up the furniture, and then, after pillaging the house, departed taking Mrs. Lewis with them.”

“She was carried to New York and thrown into prison. She was not allowed a bed or change of clothing and only the coarse and scanty food that was doled out to the other prisoners.” She soon died from the treatment and illnesses she sustained in prison. Francis lived without her for twenty-four more years; he never remarried, but lived to know the lonely price of public virtue.

The Teachers of Liberty

Consider the contribution of four great teachers of the Founding generation, three of whom were signers of the Declaration: George Wythe, John Witherspoon, Benjamin Rush and a man who is remembered simply as Mr. Lovell. Among them they mentored almost an entire generation of leaders in Liber and Public Virtue. Their students include John Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Henry Clay, John Marshall, Hancock, Paine, four future U.S. Presidents, many future Supreme Court Justices, over sixty future governors, senators, representatives and judges, and as Professor Forrest McDonald put it, “enough other Founding Fathers to populate a small standing army.”

Biographer Robert Peterson said that George Wythe’s school alone “produced a generation of lawyers, judges, ministers, teachers and statesmen who helped fill the need for leadership in the young nation.” This was, in fact, George Wythe’s explicit agenda. The curriculum and message of these teachers, both on paper and through example, was Liber, private virtue and public virtue.

Roger and Rebecca Sherman

Or consider Roger and Rebecca Sherman.[v] Roger Sherman, was apprenticed as a shoemaker and gained a Liber education reading the classics he placed on his bench in front of him while he worked on shoes. He started with mathematics classics and became a leading mathematician; for example, he did the astronomical calculations for an almanac that was published in New York when he was twenty-seven. He went from mathematics to a study of the law, and became a leading jurist in Rhode Island and later the only man to participate in the creation of and sign all four of the founding documents of the United States—all springing from the books on his cobbler bench.

His wife Rebecca was similarly self-educated in the classics, and when she married Roger she was twenty years old and took over the raising of Roger’s seven children from his first wife Elizabeth. She educated the seven children, plus the eight additional children she and Roger had, and she taught them Liber, private virtue and public virtue.

Other Examples

So many other stories could be told:

Like Honest John Hart, who was “hounded and hunted as a criminal” while his wife lay dying.[vi]

Or, Richard Stockton, who was thrown in prison, his lands were destroyed, and he ended up literally begging for food and money to keep his family alive.[vii]

Or, Martha Jefferson, who fled with her two-month old baby in her arms to escape the invading British. The baby died soon after, and within two years she herself passed on from illnesses incurred during the conflict.[viii]

Abraham and Sarah Clark

But consider the Public Virtue of one more family, who more than self their country loved: Abraham and Sarah Clark.[ix] Self-educated in the classics, Abraham become known as “the poor man’s lawyer” because of his habit of service without pay. A poor farmer, his reading and study made him prominent and he was elected to Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence with the New Jersey delegation.

The British gave this simple man and his wife perhaps the cruelest punishment of all. They captured two of his sons who were serving under Washington, 25-year-old Thomas and young teenage Isaac, and threw them into the prison ship in the harbor. Then they informed Abraham Clark that his sons would be not be given food until he publicly recanted his signature on the Declaration of Independence.

He gladly offered his life, his freedom and all his possessions, but they weren’t accepted. The British demanded that he recant or his sons would slowly starve. Abraham and Sarah determined that they could give up their life. They could give up their fortune. But they simply could not give away their sacred honor, even to save the lives of their dear sons. They never signed the recantation.

Imagine, on a 4th of July in 1780, Abraham and Sarah Clark sitting at home meditating on the price of Public Virtue.

What of the Future?

On the 4th of July in 1776 John Hancock, man of Liber and public virtue, signed the Declaration of Independence and sent it to the world with his name alone.

On the 4th of July in 1826, as if by divine mandate, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson passed away—on the same special day, only a few hours apart.

On the 4th of July in 1862 a bloody Civil War tested whether this union would survive.

On the 4th of July in 1943 Americans gave their lives in Europe and around the Pacific to keep the flag of freedom waving.

In this 4th of July in the year 2000, consider this question: How many Liber are there today in the United States?

And secondly, how many acts of public virtue fill the courthouses, congressional chambers or governors mansions across this land?

The answer tells us what the future of our freedoms will be.

But more importantly, how many homes are training young men and women to be Liber, to spend their lives in public virtue?

I know that we are busy going to school, making a living, enjoying the leisure our freedom gives us. But if we are too busy to read the classics and become Liber, to sacrifice our time and resources to protect our freedoms and build our communities, to stand for something, then we are too busy to remain free. Too busy to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

Think ahead to the 4th of July in the year 2032. What will America be like then?

The answer depends on three things: how many Liber there are, how many people dedicate their lives to private virtue, and how much public virtue we choose between now and then.

The future of America depends on whether we are willing to stand for something. To become Liber, men and women of public virtue.

I believe that we will still be free on the 4th of July, 2032. If we are, it will be because someone, somewhere, pays the price.

Some of you have tonight felt the call to become men and women of Liber and public virtue. Do not ignore that call.

[i]The idea of using the signers of the Declaration of Independence as examples of public virtue came from a speech I read by Rush Limbaugh’s father, and I appreciate his speech and the fact that his son has published and distributed it. None of the stories in this speech are taken directly from that speech; most of the stories hereafter, including all of the stories and quotes about Robert and Mary Morris come from two excellent books: B.J. Lossing. 1848. Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence (hereafter Signers). Reprinted in 1998 by Wallbuilders in Aledo, Texas, 93-98; and Wives of the Signers, The Women Behind the Declaration of Independence (hereafter Wives), also published by Wallbuilders, 155-168. I have not done independent research to verify the stories in these books. I highly recommend both of these books to students who choose to study further.

[ii] Stories and quotes about Thomas and Lucy Nelson come from in Signers, 188-193 and Wives, 250-254.

[iii] Stories and quotes about Samuel and Eliza Adams come from Signers, 33-36 and Wives, 62-80.

[iv] Stories and quotes about Francis and Elizabeth Lewis come from Signers, 71-73 and Wives, 119-126.

[v] Stories and quotes about Roger and Rebecca Sherman come from Signers, 50-52 and Wives, 92-98.

[vi] See Wives, 144-147.

[vii] See Wives, 132-139.

[viii] See Wives, 240-247.

[ix] Stories and quotes about Abraham and Sarah Clark come from Signers, 90-92 and Wives, 147-149.