Child Like Mind

September 15, 2008

I remember playing Pokemon cards with my nephew Malcolm when he was age 10. The characters in the Pokemon series are all founded on the idea of evolution. Pichu evolves to Pikachew, etc. I thank the masterful minds that tapped a deep desire of the childlike mind to grow, change and becoming greater, stronger, faster. This is part of a child’s drive, to be closer to nature and natural functions.

I remember my years training professionals on how to deal with child abuse. We took the children’s stories of entrapment, helplessness, powerlessness very seriously. While defense lawyers offer the counter challenge that a child makes that up, it is really beyond the natural fantasy lives of children. Children naturally have active imaginations for being superheroes, saving people, leaping tall buildings etc. This is aligned with our true nature’s desire for us to grow.

Innerwealth is about touching the child like mind and heart in every person, about caressing awake a place long since forgotten. It is a place of innocence and possibility of play and every present moments of life, marbles, bike rides, frogs and string. Returning to a child like mind.

So what is the child like mind?

– simple direct thoughts
– Innocence and curiosity
– natural urge to grow up and evolve
– need to belong feel capable and be recognized
– play, fun and spontaneity
– listening and trusting the still small voice
– desire for connection
– fairness and sharing/scarcity & competition
– camaraderie/ selfishness
– appreciative take it all for granted

Something to aspire to. If it helps, go for a walk on grass in bare feet and give a little
skip or a hop as you go. Or better still, tender your resignation as an adult. You can use this template if you wish. Writing it in crayon or colored marker has the most impact.



I am hereby officially tendering my resignation as an adult. I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of an 10 year old again.

I want to go to McDonald’s and think that it’s a four star restaurant. I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make a sidewalk with rocks. I want to think M&Ms are better than money because you can eat them. I want to lie under a big oak tree and run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer’s day. I want to return to a time when life was simple; When all you knew were colors, multiplication tables, and nursery rhymes, but that didn’t bother you, because you didn’t know what you didn’t know and you didn’t care. All you knew was to be happy because you were blissfully unaware of all the things that should make you worried or upset.

I want to think the world is fair. That everyone is honest and good. I want to believe that anything is possible. I want to be oblivious to the complexities of life and be overly excited by the little things again. I want to live simple again. I don’t want my day to consist of computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, how to survive more days in the month than there is money in the bank, doctor bills, gossip, illness, and loss of loved ones. I want to believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, the imagination, mankind, and making angels in the snow. So . . . here’s my checkbook and my car-keys, my credit card bills and my tax statements. I am officially resigning from adulthood. And if you want to discuss this further, you’ll have to catch me first, cause………..”Tag! You’re it.”

Fear of Success

September 15, 2008

I was honoured recently to facilitate a program in Ottawa at NATCON, the national conference of career practioners and career guidance counselors.

The topic of my interactive session was how to help clients overcome their fear of success and reduce self-sabotage tactics. This is surprisingly a common challenge. There are many reasons why people don’t wish to be seen as bigger, richer or more famous.

It was great to see more than 90 participants, a sell out crowd that included some willing to sit on the floor. I ran out of handouts and collected 50+ cards with a promise to send out the booklet electronically. As a newsletter reader I would love to offer you this document to download for free. If you would like a copy of the participant’s booklet then follow the resources link under the “Supporting Links” column to the right.

I have also provided for you a link below to a self scoring ‘fear of success’ test that you may wish to try for yourself and/or share with others. Please use it to enhance your ability to serve the world.

Download the Fear of Success Quiz

Four Loves

September 15, 2008

Did you know there are 4 loves? Four ways on giving and receiving love.

CS Lewis, perhaps best known for the The Chronicles of Narnia, wrote a dandy little book in 1960 called The Four Loves. In it he explains them very nicely. Regardless whether you are a student or a teacher of love its worth taking the words of this book to heart. Here is a summary and the link below features an audio clip from one of my presentations for those who like to listen.

Storge is fondness through familiarity, especially between family members or people who have otherwise found themselves together by chance. It is described as the most natural, emotive, and widely diffused of loves.

Philia is a strong bond existing between people who share a common interest or activity.

Eros is love in the sense of ‘being in love’.

Agapē is an unconditional love directed towards one’s neighbor which is not dependent on any lovable qualities that the object of love possesses. Agape is the love that brings forth caring regardless of circumstance.

The Book “The Four Loves”

Listen to My 5 min Talk on the Four Loves

Legacy Habits

September 15, 2008

What are your bad habits? How do your habits build the life you desire and which habits distract you from long term desires and dreams?

If genes are the building blocks of our body, then habits are the building blocks of our fulfillment and legacy.

Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Choose your words, for they become actions. Understand your actions, for they become habits. Study your habits, for they become your character. Develop your character, for it becomes your destiny.

In a recent program participants were invited to write 7 vision statements over the weekend. Once this was done they ripped them up. At the end of the program they walked away not with goals and hopes but 12 specific daily habits, that if followed with discipline, will be sure stepping stones to their dreams.

Henry David Thoreau said it well, “Build castles in the air that is where they should be now put the foundations under them”

There is too much wishful thinking and not manifesting. While visions of the future are important, they are only pipe dreams if you have not laid track to the light at the end of the tunnel. Every step must be a habit, daily direct and disciplined.

And if you get inspired with a new dream for your life but you do the same habits every day then nothing changes. It doesn’t matter if you tattoo your dream on your butt or tell a thousand friends cause same habits, same results.

We all have our daily habits. They function to take us sideways into reaction or forward into the mystery of vision unfolding. If you find yourself with unhealthy habits try the handy dandy habit converter available on my website and get back to purpose

Download the Habit Converter Here

Pulling Out Splinters

September 15, 2008

I just finished a lively program with a loyal corporate client with a sell out packed house gathered to engage the topic of dealing with difficult people. The group was fun and eager to tackle that “special person” that gets under their skin.

The course is founded on the premise that you have 3 choices. 1. Change your environment, 2. Change the difficult person (Not likely but there are ways, mostly illegal) or of course transform your tiggers and reactions into steady, objective gratitude.

I am in awe of difficult people because they possess and an amazing skill and they often don’t even know it! They know you better than you know yourself. Think about that. How else could they get under your skin without your permission? Knowing yourself better than they do seems to be the sensible goal of any workshop or one to one consultation.

I offer a quick tip process to help you walk in the others shoes, get a little empathy for them, etc. This has helped many get back to doing the work they love.

1. Make a list of the traits of the difficult person

2. Beside each trait list the 3 benefits to them that they are this way. (Get inside their mind and find the motivating payback?)

Complete this and note how your reactive energy has shifted, and it will, guaranteed to the degree you complete the task.

For More Enjoy Self Study CD on the Topic

Act Like a Man Meme

September 15, 2008

I wrote this in 1995 when I was Teaching Public School

It’s a scene found on most school playgrounds. A boy, undersize for his age, gets shoved to the ground as he jostles for a loose basketball. I intervene in the name of fairness and one of my male Grade 6 students comments, “It’s like the woods, Mr. D., the strongest survive”, as he dribbles away eager to continue the game.

In that 11 year old’s summation of an abusive incident lies an accurate analysis of how boys are socialized from a very young age to be tough, in control and aggressive. These sex role expectations are even found in boy’s comic books. The following is an ad for video games appeared on the back cover of a Superman comic I “borrowed” from a student that was supposed to be doing Math.

“Pick A Fight After School”, “After a hard day at school, have you ever just wanted to go home and break a few heads, destroy a couple of cities? Or just blow up the entire universe? Of course you have. And now you can without getting grounded. Just plug in any of these four smash arcade hits….. and get ready for the fight of your life.”

What influences the minds of children today is overwhelming.  My students will watch, on average, 22 hours of television per week, including 8,000 violent deaths and 100,000 acts of violence by the time they leave grade 6. Based on time alone (not to mention stimulation effect) the entertainment industry has become the first curriculum in young peoples lives. It’s a fantasy world where the powerful survive and the heroes are The Terminator and The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

As we look at these and other dominate influences it should come as no surprise that four students in the last two years have brought guns to schools in metro Halifax. It should also come as no surprise that they were all male.

This fact disturbs me. As a teacher and a member of Men For Change, a Halifax based men’s group that formed after the Montréal Massacre, I have begun to look at what I, as man, can do to end violence. This exploration led me to work with other members of Men For Change to develop Healthy Relationships: A Violence-Prevention Curriculum.

Healthy Relationships is being eagerly received across Canada by teachers and school boards that are looking beyond punitive measures like the Young Offenders Act to prevent violence. The program is designed as a teacher’s resource and the activities help students explore the nature of aggression and to question how sexist stereotypes are learned.  When we understand the roots of violence we can teach a lifetime of skills and attitudes to our students.

If sexism is learned and violence is one manifestation then our schools are one of the best places to help children learn healthy attitudes. One immediate challenge for me as a classroom teacher is to look at my own attitudes towards gender. Do I really answer boys hands more than girls, as the research suggests? Do I refer to a room full of boys and girls with the popular but exclusive term, “guys?”

The potential of any school to help children learn healthy attitudes towards gender can be inhibited me, or any other teacher, unknowingly passing on sexist and stereotype loaded expectations to boys and girls.

The following examples are gathered from my experiences in other schools. They are hopefully exceptions to the rule, but each bear witness to how teachers unknowingly legitimize male stereotypes and it’s violent practise.

One morning I was in a Junior High School making photocopies prior to a workshop when a Grade 9 student came into the building to seek refuge from others who had just punched him in the chest and kicked him. The duty teacher responded, ” You’re a big guy, why don’t you stand up for yourself?”

The student stated simply, “I don’t fight”. The teacher then sent him back out to tell the perpetrators to come in. As my own students would say, Duh!! Not only was that young man’s need for safety ignored but I had a strong sense that nothing would be resolved even if his assaults got suspended for a few days. My sense that the problem was not truly resolved was confirmed. I met the victimized student half an hour later in the washroom cleaning up the blood from a punch in the nose he had just received.

Sometimes the messages to live up to the tough male image come out through subtle comments. I was in another school where a grade 9 class teacher was welcoming students for the afternoon. A student asked the teacher for a bandaid for a cut on his hand. The teacher obliged and commented, “I guess you lost that on huh! What’s the matter couldn’t you stand up to him?”

One of Men For Change’s first school workshop experiences several years ago was with a class of Grade 8 boys. We had a good dialogue about being macho, stereotypes and date rape. The discussion wrapped up10 minutes before the bell so the teacher hit play on the VCR with a Hockey’s Hardest Hitters Vol.1 tape.

These anecdotes from the front lines may not be very pleasant to read at a time when teachers seem to be undervalued and stressed out but lets not forget the teachable moment here for all of us. As in all social change movements, from the successful Teens Against Drunk Driving programs to anti-Racism objectives, the first step begins with an awareness of the breadth of the problem. In a society where violence is rampant, profitable and embodied as the very essence of what it means to act like a man this means revealing some deep roots and traditions, and perhaps even our own attitudes, before we can begin to see everlasting solutions.

We need to all work together and challenge the deeply ingrained illusion that can lock us into the gender trap of stereotypes––tough and aggressive for boys, passive and beauty bound, for girls. Then and only then will we be helping teach our students, and ourselves, not the law of the jungle where only the strongest survive, but rather the choices needed to build healthy relationships based on cooperation and trust where everyone is thrives.

Visit the Healthy Relationships Curriculum Website