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Leading By Example, in the 21st Century...

Becoming a learner

They conquered the continent with pen, paper, a musket, and powder-  on Lewis and Clark

I support Malawa and think she is a great example for us to follow. If I or any of us had half of her courage we could do amazing things.


What do I want you to be; I want you to become a learner, a self sufficient, Independent learner. My job is to encourage you, set a good example for you model learning for you, ask you questions and give you opportunities to ask me questions, but above all, I want you to become a learner.  I want you to develop the wings of independence and the desire to be free.


When we are born there are several adjectives to describe us.  We are fragile, delicate, and sensitive, we need and crave attention, we have very little control over our body and our emotions, we are self-centered (world starts and stops with us), we are selfish, insecure, unskilled, and temperamental.


However, from the time we start to learn we become less fragile, not as delicate, not as sensitive, as we grow we need less attention, we have more control, it is natural that we should be less self-centered. (and develop a sense of empathy). 


But from the time that point when we enter the world through our first birthday, the terrible twos, being a toddler, being a preschooler  and all through our formative and schooling years, the name of the game is learning. We always learn new things, new skills.  Ask yourself a question: what new skill am I learning today?  And how will that skill help me in life? (if we are not getting better,what are we doing)


One way to look at the world especially the world of jobs, employment, and opportunities is with this phrase:


"There is not a shortage of opportunities in the world, there is a shortage skilled people, there is no shortage of jobs in the world; there is a shortage of people that can do a good job, there is not a shortage of employment in the world; there is a shortage of people that have the right combination of skills, attitude, and desire to master  any given set of circumstances. (improvise, overcome, and adapt, USMC)


So when somebody asks me, what do you want me to become, like you?

No, I do not want you to be a copy of me.  I want you to become a learner.  I want you to learn how to learn. I want you to understand the importance of learning.  It is not enough to be good enough, it is not enough to keep up with the crowd; no my dear student (and sons) you must anticipate change, you must recognize patterns, you must decide what you want to do... what you love to do... and do that with all the passion you can muster.


I want for you the same as I want for my sons: (Rafael and Sean) to grow and learn each day and to maximize your potential as a human being. I want you to learn the essential skills of learning how to learn; I want you to learn character traits such as empathy and compassion and a willingness to work towards a collective good. 

I want you to know that part of life is working towards something that goes beyond mere self-interest:  a higher good, to live your life for somebody or something that not only is worth living for, but also is also worth dying for. Grow beyond what you want, grow beyond satisfying your immediate desires, delay gratification, and be willing to give back to the world that gave you a chance. (that is all any of us get!)


Whatever is going to be in your life is going to be up to you to make it a reality.  You hold the key to your future.  You have the potential to follow your dreams. You must believe in yourself and have confidence; you must be brave, have courage, take risks, and be willing to listen to that little voice inside your head that says:" you can do it if you try and do not give up!"


So the challenge is there before you, the gauntlet is set up, now you must decide if you are going to rise to the occasion and take steps to follow your dreams; master and manifest your potential. You are the only person that can do this. You have spent most of your life being told what to do and how to do it, now is the time for you to go out into the world and apply that which you have learned.


Do not be afraid to trust yourself and listen to that little voice inside your head that is a combination of your parents and all of the teachers, coaches, mentors, tutors, and friends that have offered you advice along the way. Listen to that little voice when you are faced with a tough decision in your life. (I hear my mother and my forefathers).

To my sons: Rafael and Sean: you have been blessed by evolution with healthy brains and strong bodies. Make the most of them.  Our parents gave us life and life gives us a chance; make the most of what you have.

Do not expect anything from others, but do not be afraid to give to others and be part of communities. Successful communities are made up of families and individuals who care enough to give back.

Learning to learn and then getting an education is what I want you boys to do. It is up to you. I will teach you and encourage you, but you must go beyond me and find your own way in life. Seek out good role models and examples. (we can see farther when we stand on the shoulders of giants).

Look to Malawa and others like her for an example. They are hungry to learn and change the world. They use education to stand up to folks like the Taliban and ISIS. We need to use education to stand up to the Tea Party, racists, conservatives, and those that are afraid of inclusion and progress.

I am proud of my country but am afraid we have lost our mojo and are following the example of other empires in history: we become great and forget what got us there......that is when the decline and fall starts.

Become a citizen of the world and work to make the world a better place.

te amo mi hijos.

semper fidelis

sus padre

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Comment by Mark J Biberg on February 3, 2017 at 7:42pm

Thanks John, I have always appreciated your leadership with the goal of a better understanding if history

Comment by John Trampush on October 28, 2014 at 10:07pm

Bravo Mark!  Excellent piece.  I hear you, brother!

Can you post a link or a download of the Malawa text to which this piece refers?



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