Mandela, colonoscopies and torch bearers – yes really..
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.