Well, let’s start with a list:
(1) They didn’t teach us how to pay attention to our selves —
(a) how to pay attention to our bodies, as separate and unique from all other bodies, with feelings and sensations going on all the time, which feelings and sensations are important information in present time for how to process and integrate information;
(b) how to pay attention to our thoughts and make choices about which thoughts to pay attention to and which to ignore;
(c) how to pay attention to our emotions, which is a very important skill to learn if one is also going to learn the skill of managing and taking responsibility for one’s emotions;
(d) how to pay attention to our opinions and judgments and distinguish our opinions and judgments from objective reality, including other people’s opinions and judgments, and if one doesn’t distinguish his or her opinions and judgments from other people’s opinions and judgments, one can’t learn to think for him or herself very well, nor can one learn how to take responsibility for his or her ideas;
(2) They also didn’t teach us how to pay attention to others —
(a) how to be present with ourselves and with the real world (including others) outside ourselves;
(b) how to offer our special viewpoint, our unique gifts, to others;
(c) how to appreciate and value others who may be very different and who may have very different learning styles and very different strengths and weaknesses;
(3) They didn’t teach us how to be neutral and detached and open, which is a necessary skill for learning (they taught us how to judge and be rigid and opinionated, actually);
(4) they didn’t teach us how to be self-motivated (actually, they taught us to look for motivation from outside ourselves, which is not a recipe for success and happiness and self-fulfillment);
(5) they didn’t teach us how to be comfortable with difficulty, with confusion, with frustration, which are also necessary ingredients for real learning in the world . “Confusion is the first step to learning. If you are not confused, that means you already know it.” (actually, they taught us to be ashamed of confusion and to hide it, rather than face it as the first step to learning anything new).
The challenge for this project will be how to make it inspiring and helpful to those of us who didn’t learn these “basic life skills” in school (or at home), without being a diatribe against the educational system or our most common parenting cultures.
The target audience will be the “self-help” market and the “inspiration” market, but hopefully also the “teacher” market and the home school market (for teachers who want to be more effective).
The goal will be to choose only the most “basic life skills”, and to present them in as simple a way as possible (such as TSH’s “Healthy Relationships” poem and TSH’s “What’s Your Job?” blog/monologue).
One major point is how all but the most gifted teachers emphasize the primacy of “performing the task” over “the value of the person”. The message is very clear in most classrooms that if you don’t (or can’t) perform the tasks assigned by the teacher to the teacher’s “B” or “A” grading level, your personal value is not as good as the students who can, with the implication that YOU are not as good (and if you don’t have parents who strongly affirm your intrinsic value, no matter your performance level, your self-value will suffer possibly lifelong harm).