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Who Do You Think You Are?

It is tempting to settle with the influences we have early in life. They give us guidelines that we think that we can always fall back on when the life’s new challenges come too quickly or hit us too hard. If you have the courage to undo the foundations of your upbringing, you will open yourself to all the versions of yourself that you can become. This is how you figure out what you actually care about. Read the full thing

Follow the Mythological Path in Life

Our lives become a part of mythology when we pursue personal transformation through primordial patterns in the human psyche. We follow the hardwired path to arrive at superior versions of ourselves. The stories which have recurred with the greatest longevity in our cultures are those which appeal most profoundly to our underlying program for progression through life. Read the full thing

The Role of Money for Greater Personal Happiness

Money is humanity’s imperfect attempt to objectivize countless subjective valuations. Value exists only in the opinion of the individual beholder. It is a measure of personal happiness. What makes one person happy will not work the same for another, even in identical circumstances. It is natural for everyone to seek out the actions, ideas, and items which aid them most according to their own valuations. Read the full thing

What Teaching in China Taught Me About Freedom and Individuality in the World

Working in education gave me unique insight into the parts of culture normally hidden from outsiders and casual tourists. It also gave me a deep resentment for those who maintain their culture at the cost of corrupting young minds. To see children be made into vessels for arbitrary cultural values on a massive scale would be the fire that would consume me. Read the full thing

Procreation is not Parenting

Send him mail. “Insight for the Young and Unrestrained” is an original column appearing every Thursday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by Gregory V. Diehl. Gregory is a writer, musician, educator, and coach for young people at EnabledYouth.com. Archived columns can be found here. IYU-only RSS feed available here. It’s been part of my long-term mission in life to spread awareness of the distinction between understanding and implementation, or “education vs. training” as I’ve previously referred to it. People active in the process of “doing” something take pride in the fact that they manage to work hard, regardless of how well their task is actually accomplished. This seems to be a direct correlation to the common practice of equating “hard work” with “a job well done,” the fallacy of which should be obvious to anyone with a mindset oriented toward efficiency.People who invest their time acquiring a more thorough understanding of something before embarking on a plan of action receive far less social credit for their “theoretical” knowledge of how reality works. This applies, perhaps more than anywhere else, to the practice of raising children. People who have embarked on the path of genetic reproduction will immediately assume an air of accomplishment or expertise. After all, they have kids. How could someone who doesn’t even have kids possibly have acquired more knowledge than they on healthy principles of raising children? This is, to me, as crude and ignorant as a man who accidently loses himself in the jungle bragging about his clumsiness – and taking personal pride in the dangerous circumstances chance brought into his life. What if he, in scoffing pride and disbelief, asked how someone who isn’t even lost wandering aimlessly through the wilderness could possibly know anything about how to survive in the wild? It is the difference between the ability to buy a boat and the ability to sail one. How could someone who doesn’t even have enough money to buy a boat know anything about how to sail one? These very people would just as soon claim that they, having purchased a large number of airline tickets in the past, are most qualified to pilot an aircraft. It is easy to see that this type of thinking, when applied to almost any area outside of human child development, quickly dissolves into absurdity. A wise man will prepare himself for all the foreseeable difficulties and new responsibilities his choices will bring into his life – so that he will accomplish his new tasks as well as humanly possible. He will study the forest and all its dangers before intentionally trekking forth into it. He will study the winds and ocean currents before setting sail. The fool, who lacks meaning in his life, will attempt to inflate his sense of importance by taking on larger and larger amounts of responsibility well before he is ready for them. So long as people equate action or effort with achievement and result, this fallacy will continue to haunt the lives of shortsighted individuals,... Read the full thing

Why Every Man Should Work with Children

Send him mail. “Insight for the Young and Unrestrained” is an original column appearing every Thursday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by Gregory V. Diehl. Gregory is a writer, musician, educator, and coach for young people at EnabledYouth.com. Archived columns can be found here. IYU-only RSS feed available here. By now, most thinking people know how important the influence of a caring male figure (preferably the biological father) is over the healthy physical and emotional development of children. It’s an inescapable part of the way we been shaped to develop, by mimicking the influences of the older authorities in our lives. What’s more rarely discussed is how, when done right, this relationship is reciprocal, and the grown men can be benefited even more than the children involved.Unlocking the Mentoring and Fatherly Potential Present in All Men While avoiding absolute generalizations, men are undoubtedly the more stoic sex. Many of us grow far removed from other people unless we have something to tether us to the rest of the world. These ties usually exist as any experience which catalyzes a peak emotional response within us. It can be the thrill and excitement of an action-packed movie or a sports game- or it can be the soothing influence of a women’s touch. These kinds of activities unlock parts of our natural emotional capacity that we tend to have difficulty reaching on our own. There is a unique part of the emotional range of every man that I believe can only become accessible in the presence of children. Inside every one of us is an instinct for parental support, though many people unconsciously avoid it when they have not yet learned to take care of even their own problems yet. When adult males accept the presence of young growing humans into their emotional awareness, it alters how they speak, act, and even carry themselves. In time, we grow to become more protective, watchful, and driven by a desire to teach and lead those who haven’t yet learned the lessons experience has granted us. Kids Empower Men by Making Them Vulnerable I’ve interacted with a great number of men who seem almost terrified of being around children – and not just because they can be loud, messy, and generally unpredictable. These men (and some women) will automatically rigidify emotionally around kids. If they simply aren’t ready to feel the new states of mind that protective influence over the young requires, they are prone to distancing themselves entirely. In some ways, young children, especially young girls, are the polar opposites on the emotional spectrum of adult males. That can be a terrifying experience for us to encounter. There’s a reason that even many of the fathers who don’t physically abandon their burgeoning families still fail to interact with any degree of emotional openness. When we are around that much emotional overflow, we can’t help but be affected by it. If we aren’t ready to let their unstoppable energy pervade us – breaking that defensive shell we’ve worked so... Read the full thing

Bringing Back the Family Unit

Send him mail. “Insight for the Young and Unrestrained” is an original column appearing every Thursday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by Gregory V. Diehl. Gregory is a writer, musician, educator, and coach for young people at EnabledYouth.com. Archived columns can be found here. IYU-only RSS feed available here. Throughout human history, the family has been the basic unit of society. It is my firm belief that altering the way families interact, and the way that children are raised and educated will create long-term ripple effects which may ultimately change the fabric of societies and nations as we have always known them.You don’t have to be a parent or an expert on the biological aspects of human development to know that there is a human nature inherent to us all. We all have certain needs that must be fulfilled during our childhood and teenage years – needs that if left neglected can cause irreparable harm for the remainder of our adult lives. The introduction of positive parenting techniques to places where they are unfamiliar is the surest path to improving the whole of society. Parenting styles popular in different parts of the world have very clear correlations to the personality traits the adults in the area eventually come to embody. Cultures which encourage parents not to physically interact with their children and to treat them as pieces of property are made up of adults who are emotionally disconnected from each other and have no real sense of self-worth. Countries which emphasize the swearing of allegiance to something large, external, and incomprehensible to the mind of a child are inhabited by adults with no real sense of direction – and no personal ambition to act upon. Children who are forced to learn what other people consider important develop into adults who abhor education and following their own values. Girls who are abandoned or mistreated by their fathers either seek meaningless sex and abuse from men to fill the void or may remain estranged from men altogether. All of these personal problems can be avoided and healthy balanced adulthood achieved if only we, the adults currently inhabiting the world, have the courage and perspective to recognize how our own flaws prevent us from being the best possible mentors and raising healthy children. If we lack this introspection, it is inevitable that we will go on to repeat the mistakes that were done to us when we were younger. We are doomed to stay stuck in this endless loop until either enough adults take it upon themselves to change the way they rear their children or our species forever destroys itself. Better parenting is the seed which eventually stems into every aspect of a better world. Everywhere I go, I find individuals who stick out above and beyond what their cultures demand of them. Many of the most important thinkers throughout history have been the weirdos and outcasts. It is my long-term mission in life to ensure that there are always avenues available to the gifted... Read the full thing