Why do Humanists encourage self-education?

Humanists are dedicated to self-education because we understand that education is the key to Auto-Liberation.

The Atlantic had a brilliant essay recently by Ta-Nehisi Coates called Being French.  The subtitle of the essay is: It’s hard to learn a new language. But it’s way harder to learn a new culture. (See: http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/08/acting-french/375743/)

This brilliant essay is about the role education plays in both subjugation and liberation.  Subjugation results from the restriction of learning. The problem is that we can do this to ourselves when we restrict our own learning. Maybe we don’t want to learn.  The problem is that when we refuse to learn, we limit ourselves.

Liberation is not something that is given to us. It is something we have to learn and earn for ourselves.  This is why self-education is the key to auto-liberation.

Ta-Nehisi talks about his own journey to cosmopolitanism, which is an attitude of openness to other cultures.  Cosmopolitanism is important because it opens us up to learning.

Ta-Nehisi provides an ample example of this when he talks about the self-education of the Cherokee.  Settlers hope that by educating the Cherokee – they could control them. The opposite happened.  The Cherokee didn’t restrict their learning to what was provided for them. They took to self-education and the liberation that comes with it as if their lives depended on it – because it did.

To quote Ta-Nehsis “Openness to education did not make the Cherokee pliant to American power; it gave them tools to resist that power. Realizing this, the United States dropped the veneer of “culture” and “civilization” and resorted to “Indian Removal,” or The Trail of Tears.”

Restriction of learning is a tool of suppression. Control of education is power. If you want to have power and autonomy, you have to control your own learning. You have to make learning a priority for yourself and to actively seek out opportunities to learn.  This is why Humanists consider education so important.

Ta-Nehisi continues, “In our time, it is common to urge young black children toward education so that they may be respectable or impress the “right people.” But the “right people” remain unimpressed, and the credentials of black people, in a country rooted in white supremacy, must necessarily be less. That great powers are in the business of using "respectability" and "education" to ignore these discomfiting facts does not close the book. You can never fully know. But you can walk in the right direction.”

That right direction? Self-education and auto-liberation.

Time Management

Time management techniques of a solopreneur – with big dreams.

I am a solopreneur because I am committed to being there for my family when it’s family time.  So – I have to schedule my day and not cheat my family. Otherwise, it defeats the purpose of running my own business.

To do this – I have to choose between must do tasks and it would be nice to do tasks. Yeah – lots of it would be nice to do tasks don’t ever get done. And that’s ok – because the must do tasks do get done.  For instance, right now – my focus is on content creation. I MUST get my CA edition of my workplace bullying program done. Can’t sell it if I don’t have it.  So – publicity efforts – like dong the tv and radio shows I really enjoy doing, are taking a back seat at the moment. And that’s ok. I will get back to them once the bulk of the bulk of the course content is created.

I organize my week based on tasks to do.  Mondays and Fridays I have to do client paperwork for my online courses. Monday is registration day. Friday is certificate of completion day, Wednesday is following up day.  Tuesday is a short day because my son has therapy and is out of school early. So that’s a writing day in the morning -or it’s when I schedule client calls.  Wednesday is recording day, that’s when I record video lectures, lessons etc. Thursday is client calls and writing and marketing.

My months are also similarly scheduled.

  • Beginning of the month – affiliate nurturing.
  • Middle of the month – blog post writing and column writings.
  • End of the month – newsletters.

Putting everything in a recurring schedule helps me to keep organized and ensure that the must do tasks do get done. Doing things like blog posts in bulk helps me to not be constantly distracted through the month. I do 2 month’s worth of blog posts in a couple of days and that frees my mind to work on other content for the rest of the next 2 months.   It also helps me to not get distracted when I see something I want to write about. I make a note of it and put it in my calendar to show up on my first day of blog writing. When that day comes around – I look through all my notes and decide what I want to write on. I am never at a loss for ideas.

OH – and in a similar vein – having a yearly content calendar – for themes I am going to address  - my marketing – specials etc are all tied to that calendar. It is very helpful to me for my organizing.  I know what I am promoting when. I can preview it for my affiliates and fans to get them excited. I’m not just making it up as I go along.

I have also automated most of my social media so that I can set them at the beginning of the week and then not have to check on it during the week – it just happens.  Same with mailing list autoresponders. Set them up and allow them to happen.

Yes – I still spend way too much time on Facebook – but who doesn’t. 

The hardest thing for me is actually calling potential clients when it’s time to do so. I always end up enjoying it and feeling good about it – but I’ve realized, I need help, so I’ve recruited a few commission only sales folks who believe in what I’m trying to build and so – that will get done with some more regularity because I’m at the point where my lead flow has outpaced my ability to follow up and nurture the leads properly.

My advice for the time strapped. Take some time to organize daily, weekly, monthly and annual calenders so that you know what to do when so that things don’t fall through the cracks.  This scheduling also helps you to automate what you do or give it to a virtual assistant to do. So – get help when you need it and be creative and generous about how you pay people.

Disciplining a child – a lesson in humanistic parenting.

Are switches and hitting a good discipline technique?  After all, NFL star Adrian Peterson has been accused of hitting his 4 year old son with a switch. Many people, myself included are horrified. This is child abuse. Others, like Sean Hannity, think it’s a valid discipline technique.  Who is right?  Well – I am of course!!!

Let me address this as a former animal trainer. No good trainer uses physical violence as a training technique. Ever. Anyone who does is an idiot who doesn’t know what they are doing. And if they do this to an animal, they would be brought up on animal abuse charges!  It’s not considered acceptable to beat the crap out of your dog because it’s not consider a valid training technique anymore.  And, if you wouldn’t use physical battery with a potentially deadly weapon to train a dog, because it’s unnecessary, counterproductive and brutal, why on earth would you do it to a child!

What happened to Peterson’s son was battery with a weapon. There is no other lens with which to view what happened.  With all due respect to the Sean Hannitys of the world who think beating a toddler with a stick is a good way to teach them a lesson, it’s not. There are decades of research with more evidence than can be cited here that show if you want to get a behavior to stop – the best way to get it to stop is to stop rewarding it while you give the animal a different way to reach their reward.  Negative reinforcement – which is what physical punishment is – is still reinforcement and it is counterproductive.  So if you really wanted to discipline a child, wouldn't you do so in a way so that they would actually learn what you want them to?  Yeah – I thought so.  Beating a toddler with a stick doesn’t teach them anything except to be afraid. And ... there is a lot of science to back that up.

Additionally, there is new research that shows hitting also impacts brain development negatively.  So, not only does hitting a toddler with a stick not produce better behavior, it causes brain damage.  It’s abusive and unnecessary and counterproductive.

People really do need to learn alternate ways to get their kids to comply with their requests. The good news is those alternate ways are way more effective at helping kids learn to be powerfully ethical and self-sufficient. No hitting required.

What are these other more effective techniques? I’m glad you asked. 

I am a Humanist and a parent. I have a very well behaved child. I have never hit him. He is given consequences and we use the Socratic method to help him choose behaviors that will benefit him and our family. He is free to choose his actions, but there are consequences, both good and bad depending on his choices.  My goal as a Humanist parent is not to have an obedient child. I want a child who can make good decisions for himself, including going against authority if authority is wrong. That requires me to help him learn how to make decisions. The Socratic method is fabulous for this. As soon as he could talk – we started reasoning with him.  It takes a bit more effort on the front end, but it pays off in spades as they grow.

We also used time outs. These are not considered punishments.  They are an opportunity for you to collect yourself and your emotions and to get your emotions out without harming those around you. Mommy and daddy take time outs when we need to and our son has been taking time outs for himself for several years now (he’s 9 as I write this).  Again – it’s not a problem to be frustrated or angry, our goal is to not do something we will regret while we are frustrated or angry. And sometimes, you just need to go somewhere alone and vent. We all do.  As a result, when we have disagreements in our home, they are settled rationally and without yelling.

If my son starts to do something he shouldn’t, I ask him if he really wants to do that.  The answer is usually no. If he starts to negotiate and it’s something we can be flexible on – we negotiate. If it isn’t negotiable – like getting a shot or something, we tell him – this isn’t something you can negotiate. We rarely have problems anymore.

A non-violent approach to child discipline works incredibly well. Anyone who meets my son will attest to that. So, stop hitting your children and teach them how to make good decisions for themselves.

Things they don’t tell you before getting married.

To be happily married, you really need to be ok around farts, pissing and burps.

Marriage is a lot of things. It’s a partnership. It’s a legal arrangement. It’s hard work. It’s a blessing.  Marriage is also about sharing living space. And the basics of living involve eating, drinking, breathing, pooping and pissing. Everything else is optional.

Most married couples live together. And this is great, because it means, you can have sex, in your own bed and not have to drive home afterward.  It also means you have to share your closet. And decorating your shared living space means compromise.

It also means, you are probably going to share a toilet and bathroom and shower.  And this is where we carry out our most basic functions of living.  Sure, eating and drinking – those are fun and social. They are done in the shared living spaces, like the kitchen and dining room. No problem there.  But pooping and peeing?  Yeah – those we tend to want to do alone, in the bathroom. Alone!

I don’t know about you – but performance anxiety has withheld many a bladder. And – do I really want my man to be in the next room when I poop? Not really.

Humans are gross in many ways. When you live with someone, you live with their farts and burps and poops and pisses too. And if you aren’t OK with that, you should maybe consider not getting married. Because that’s part of the package.

I’ve been married over a decade now and I am still happily in love. And I have a child. Which means, privacy in the bathroom?  Yeah – it’s a luxury.  Do I mind?  Not really. I’m ok with it.  I love my husband and son and I’m not under any illusions that they don’t poop or pee. They do. It’s a basic function of life.  I do too.

Being comfortable around the farts and burps means we can relax and don’t have to pretend that we don’t.  And that’s wonderful.

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