What is Human Potential?

It's easy, so easy, to see our children's potential in terms of doing well in the world as it is now. We naturally want them to master the challenges in front of them, and so we might think "I want my child to like school more," or "How can I help them really master math?" These are the natural impulses of a parent or teacher wanting to help a young person navigate the world. They're beautiful and important. And, there's something problematic as well. The problem is that we are always shaping the child to the world's needs now, versus excavating the deeper potential of that child, which may be vastly greater than we think.

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Be a Ritual Maker

We all create and follow rituals, but we don't all see ourselves as conscious ritual creators. I believe this is one of the hallmarks of great teachers and great parents, perhaps of successful leaders in general. I learned this, as usual, by making mistakes, forgetting to create a ritual and then reckoning with the chaos that followed. It all began with a chaotic morning at a new school...

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The Forest Kindergarten

I've been captivated by the idea of the Forest Kindergarten since I first learned about it while visiting schools in Germany. It's always intriguing when an educational idea graduates to "movement" status in one country, yet remains unheard-of here. Such is the case with the Forest Kindergarten. Called a waldkita in German, the forest kindergarten is essentially a preschool that takes place outdoors. By outdoors, I don't mean a little yard next to the real preschool building. Forest preschools are often outside all day, every day (in all but the worst weather), and not in a yard but in an actual forest.

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One Simple Thing: Evening Gratitude

Habits are amazing things - these deeply engrained patterns of thought and feeling which, for better or worse, steer us through life. It's exciting then to think about simple habits we can build which help bring us back to center when we may have drifted. These "One Simple Thing" entries are about such simple helper habits. A meal-time gratitude practice with kids is one of the easiest and most meaningful ones I've seen...

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