Life Skills Educators from four continents gathered in Dublin, Ireland Sept 14th-16th for P20 Talks 2014 – the world’s only professional conference for Life Skills educators. Their mission? Illuminating the centrality of Life Skills in every avenue of human interaction and transforming the Life Skills educational process. Life Skills, as defined by Parenting 2.0, are
“Mandatory skills every human being learns in some measure to thrive individually and commune optimally with others.”
Examples include such critical arenas as financial and emotional literacy, fitness, time management and safety.
Traditionally, parents have been the primary educators of Life Skills – parents rarely formally educated themselves. The result is low competency levels passed generation to generation and crisis management dominating societal dialogue.
Twentieth century increases in dual parent employment, divorce, excessive academic expectations and geographical separations among extended family members have all placed unprecedented pressures upon a previously impoverished Life Skills educational process. Media headlines provide painfully real report cards daily for failing to embrace a more dynamic curriculum.
“Reliance on parents to teach human beings the wide array of skills they are guaranteed to need to succeed in the twenty-first century communicates a gross lack of appreciation for their complexity,” states Parenting 2.0 Founder Marlaine Cover.
P20 Talks is hosted by members of LinkedIn’s top ranked Parenting 2.0 group, which counts more than six thousand professionals in over eighty countries as members. Organizers alternate combined professional conferences in even years with regional gatherings in odd years. P20 Talks 2012 was held in San Diego, California USA, P20 Talks 2016 will be in Goa, India. The regional gatherings are spearheaded by Ambassadors for Parenting 2.0’s charitable educational organization – The Global Presence
The highlight of P20 Talks is the recognition of individuals and corporations making magnanimous contributions in the Life Skills arena with The Global Presence Humanitarian Award. For P20 Talks 2014, they recognized Rob Mather’s life saving work around the world via the Against Malaria Foundation. AMF provides long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) to populations at high risk of malaria, Since its founding in 2004, AMF has raised $19.4 million and distributed 6 million LLINs.
Every human being ever born arrives hard-wired with two assignments – thriving and communing optimally with others. Free will does not mean you choose these assignments, merely the amount of suffering you and others endure until you acquire better skills.
People who excel in this Mandatory Curriculum are our Curriculum Scholars. Nelson Mandela, who made the great transition at the age of 95 on Dec 5th, 2013, is one of humanity’s finest. Mandela not only thrived personally despite obstacles that would have left others disillusioned and embittered, he empowered millions of others to thrive also.
My eldest daughter, Ari Cover, emailed me a photo of her swearing in as a lawyer in the state of California on the same day Mandela passed. The reminder that new Curriculum Scholars begin their humble journeys daily comforted me as I contemplated the capacity for others to carry Mandela’s torch forward.
A few days later I underwent a highly recommended diagnostic procedure. Emotion imprints memory so if you’ve ever had a colonoscopy, no further description regarding the setting for what I will share next is necessary. If not, picture yourself in a hospital bed; needles and wires taped to multiple points on your skin, hospital “blues” covering about as much of your backside as a baby’s bib, and dozens of glowing people bustling about with smiling faces – because, after all, they engage in this extreme level of human care dozens of times daily.
In discussing prior hospital visits with one luminous nurse, Jenna, she shared with me that she was the mother of twins. Without my prompting, she added that one of her sons had a higher than average aptitude for reading, the other below average. Her anxiety about this single skill being purported to determine her sons’ adult success – understandable given the US constructs prisons based on third grade reading levels – grated against her higher intelligence.
I applauded her intuition and reassured her that, “Human beings Mandatory Curriculum – more important than reading – is feeling competent among and engaged with peers. Prioritizing this, throughout every educational process independent individual learning curves, delivers success.” Jenna’s eyes sparkled with unintended tears and she replied, with a renewed fire burning in her voice, “I would love to get a group of people together to discuss this.”
Not only was Jenna wholly unaware of my day job as Founder of Parenting 2.0 – supporting more than 3500 members in over 65 countries doing precisely that daily – she was also unaware of my feeling that I was flailing in my role as torch bearer.
For our second annual professional conference, P20 Talks 2013, over 100 Ambassadors were invited to organize regional gatherings. I’d signed on to host one in my new city of Corvallis, Oregon. Yet here it was mid-December and – thanks to the combination of attending other’s events, record freezing regional temps, icy roads and snow – I’d yet to do so.
I often coach others in the importance of keeping the faith even when all odds seem against you. “Human beings are not the exception to all creation”, I remind them, “it is a benevolent universe and it will support you in surprising ways when you step out in faith and serve others.” Indeed it does. Indeed it does.
If you were fortunate to learn to read as a child, The Emperor’s New Clothes is likely one story you remember. Hans Christian Andersen’s 1800’s adaptation tells of a vain King who falls prey to swindlers that create a robe they describe as “invisible to stupid and incompetent people.” Pride and fear prevent the King and other adults from acknowledging that the fabric – in fact – does not exist. Only when His Royal Highness marches in a public procession, does a small child declare “He isn’t wearing anything.”
Suffice to say, a fairy tale about an Emperor strutting around naked has a way of sticking in a kid’s memory. The elements of a fearful populace and an arrogant ruler are also tragically accurately descriptive of governing bodies not simply past but also present.
What shocks me most today, as swaddled, dead babies blanket hospital floors in Syria, terrorists shoot shoppers at a Nairobi mall, and the United States ticks off Cinderella hours to a governmental shut down, is the blind eye human beings around the planet continue to turn to reality.
You cannot solve a problem with the same thinking that created it.
Conflict resolution is the one skill every person needs throughout their lives – more times than they will dress themselves.
So how do we prepare children and teens to excel in this critical arena?
Despite ample evidence confirming that this educational method – consistently cited as the high bar of performance in parenting – perpetuates systemic problems rather than alleviates them, we turn a blind eye to the facts, parade in the robes of vanity, and sell the – so porous as to be wholly vacuous – “fabric of society” to generation upon generation.
The good news, as the voice of the child in The Emperor’s Clothes so beautifully illuminates, is we do not need to be either the most powerful or the most numerous to effect change. We simply need to be courageous and state the truth publicly and plainly. Doing so is the commitment of Parenting 2.0.
Editor’s Note: This blog is dedicated to the more than 100 Global Presence Ambassadors promoting a new paradigm for Life Skills Education by hosting regional gatherings around the planet for P20 Talks 2013.
Last month I violated one of the most sacred tenants of bloggers – consistency. I failed to post a blog for July entirely. Hindsight being twenty-twenty, I can chastise myself for maintaining an end of the month posting schedule, or credit the unanticipated surprises and demands of transitioning from a home in California to a cabin in Oregon.
But the truth, if I am completely honest, is something far more chronic. The truth is I am enormously – indeed spiritually – conflicted every single time I compose a blog.
Not for lack of something to say. As everyone who knows me personally will be happy to confirm, I am intensely passionate engaging in two-way conversation regarding the importance of humanity embracing a more proactive educational process for Life Skills. I am conflicted because I am brutally aware that, by blogging, I am adding to the avalanche of unidirectional information that assaults individuals daily – the avalanche that, mere survival mandates, human beings respond to with a deaf ear.
As I shared in my introduction to P20 Talks 2012 – “Life Skills Educators market themselves primarily independently. And what happens with that is it is like going to the symphony and having every instrument play its own song. People aren’t going to the symphony. Parents aren’t listening. Critical resources are getting buried, life-altering resources.”
I write today not because I am no longer pained, but because I am pained more deeply. I am pained by news headlines that celebrate the fifty-year anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have A Dream” speech alongside discussions of chemical attacks and international warfare. I am pained by the fact that an even greater war, fought not on streets or battle fields but within homes, delivers epic silent suffering and death daily.
The day will come, when after harnessing space, the winds, the tides and gravitation we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world we shall have discovered fire.” Pierre Teillard de Chardin
I write today out of gratitude for the Thought Leaders that travelled from multiple continents to San Diego, California one year ago for P20 Talks 2012 – the first ever professional conference for Life Skills Educators – and the more than 100 Global Presence Ambassadors hosting regional gatherings around the globe for P20 Talks 2013.
I write today, because we too have a dream..a dream of a time when human beings everywhere embrace third party wisdom for the skills necessary to succeed in the mandatory curriculum of communing with others. A dream of a time when children learn not merely the three R’s, reading, writing, and arithmetic but also the three C’s, concern, compassion and conflict resolution.
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before improving the world. Anne Frank
What do you call it when life exceeds your greatest fantasy? At Parenting 2.o we call her Bobbi DePorter. Haven’t heard of Bobbi previously? Don’t feel bad because we have you beat by a kilometer in the humble pie department. Bobbi DePorter is one of the most accomplished Life Skills Educators in the history of humanity. Think I am exaggerating? Permit me to elaborate.
Bobbi founded something called Super Camp roughly thirty years ago to teach teens interpersonal communication and other Life Skills they were not learning at home or in schools. Since that time she, her husband Joe Chapon, and her amazing staff at Quantum Learning Network educated millions – yes millions – of teens in more than twenty countries and published also multiple books on the topic of Life Skills.
While numerous organizations focus on non-academic skill development, Bobbi has proven herself a rare pioneer by proudly embracing the phrase “Life Skills” in all of QLN’s promotional and educational materials. Why? Because Bobbi DePorter possesses a keen appreciation for the role of Life Skills in human beings thriving – not simply surviving.
Despite being a decades long Life Skills activist myself, I didn’t learn about Bobbi and her exceptional achievements until this summer when she was interviewed by one of our Parenting 2.0 members for a webinar series. So much for believing I was on top of Life Skills around the world via Google Alerts! As if learning about Bobbi and her phenomenal contributions in the Life Skills arena was not sufficiently humbling, I discovered she and I are also – by sheer coincidence – San Diego County (California, USA) neighbors. Suffice to say sometimes life delivers you a dollop of humble to grace your humble pie.
When you meet Bobbi DePorter in person you understand a bit better how she can have accomplished as much as she has, yet remained under the headlines. Like so many high achieving individuals that dedicate their lives to serving others, Bobbi is refreshingly humble, gracious, and soft spoken. There is, however, another variable that warrants our attention. Absent a more established social platform – as we have for academic teachers – Life Skills Educators are forced to function primarily independently.
Changing this fact, and giving Bobbi and thousands of other Life Skills Educators a more solidified public platform to harmonize and collectively influence public discourse, was the stated mission for holding our first P20 Talks Conference. Today, I am proud to say that Bobbi, and dozens of other P20 humanitarians who travelled across land and sea to serve as Thought Leaders at P20 Talks, carried Life Skills a giant leap forward. Held in San Diego, CA August 16th-18th 2012, P20 Talks achieved multiple historic firsts by:
Next month I will begin discussing these P20 Talks historic firsts in greater detail. Today, however, our collective praise and gratitude goes purely and most deservedly to Bobbi DePorter for the privilege of awarding her our first Parenting 2.0 Global Presence Humanitarian Award.
As London hosts the summer Olympics of 2012, and athletes from around the globe awe millions with their heroic strength and courage, history of another type is being made as humanitarians gather for the first Parenting 2.0 “P20 Talks” Conference in San Diego, Ca. Hailing from four continents, more than fifty Life Skills Educators are congregating at the Hacienda Hotel in historic Old Town, August 16th-18th, and unveiling an Olympic sized shift for raising humanity in the twenty-first century.
P20 Talks expands dramatically on prior child-rearing paradigms by:
The highlight of P20 Talks will be the birth of an international, grassroots, volunteer organization called The Global Presence. The Global Presence will provide three primary service paths:
Global Presence Educational Centers will honor, support, and empower parents and others serving on the front lines raising humanity.
P20 Talks proves Olympic flames and feats come in many forms – and few are more signficant than those where the few illuminate the many.
The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, we shall have discovered fire!
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin