Outstanding Shares: Making Charity Part of Our Child's Daily Routine

Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words. Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions. Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits. Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character. Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny. 

-- Chinese proverb, author unknown


I recently read an article in Fast Company that made me not only consider the environment in which our behaviors are formed, but also the power we, as parents, have to manipulate that culture in order to affect our children’s concept of social equality...and make their efforts towards philanthropy habitual.


 “[Millenials] have shown different attitudes to ownership[ that have helped spawn what’s being called a ‘sharing economy’. They are also the first generation of digital natives…they are used to instant access to price comparisons, product information and peer reviews.” -Fast Company | March 2015 


In short, I’d say growing up during an economic downturn with unprecedented access to information has made the Millennial generation, leaner, smarter and more focused than any other generation before them. They say “Rising tides lift all ships” but lower tides seem to breed more efficient vessels.

Different attitudes, such as these, are more often formed over time by a belief system developed within one’s family and social systems than they are quickly learned. And the behaviors exhibited within one’s family not only affect the inner-dynamics of that family but also greatly contribute to the self-image, value systems, goals and ultimately… world view each member of that family holds.


Automaticity /ˌɔːtəməˈtɪsɨti/ is the ability to do things without occupying the mind with the low-level details required, allowing it to become an automatic response pattern or habit. It is usually the result of learning, repetition, and practice.


“It takes an average 66 days to form a new habit, according to new research by Phillippa Lally and colleagues from the Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre based at UCL Epidemiology and Public Health.” - See more at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/0908/09080401#sthash.uJMKYm9S.dpuf

If we want to make sharing and social consciousness automatic for our children throughout their adult lives, we need to teach them these habits now…while they’re already learning economic behavior and well on their way of establishing an indelible view of the world and their place in it. 

When our children accompany us to the grocery store, whether as an active participant or merely as a passenger belted to the shopping cart, they are observing our social interactions, our decision making and how we spend / exchange money. 

When my daughter finds a quarter on the street (or on my dresser) she knows to put it in her piggy bank or pickle jar. When she loses a tooth she knows that the tooth fairy will visit that night and exchange some cash or coin for that tooth. My wife and I recognize the fact that our examples, expectations and explanations are a constant source of education and formation for our daughter but it recently occurred to us that our, at times inadvertent but always meaningful, lessons had failed to include conscious acts of financial charity. Sure she understood why Mommy and Daddy go to special fundraising dinners as well as the reasons why we purchase toys for less fortunate children around the holidays. She even has come to set aside her own unworn or outgrown clothing for donating to those in need… but we hadn’t been making the charitable association with actual currency the way we were making with “saving” and “spending”.  It suddenly became clear that our communicating the expectation that money should be saved in a piggy bank was serving as the earliest basis for her understanding of economics just as being a passenger in a car for the first 15 years of your life provides some basis for understanding the “rules of the road”.

We consequently decided not only to be more conscious about including our 4yr old daughter as a witness to any financial contributions we were making to charities and nonprofits, but to also utilize mechanisms that ingrain in her the realization that it’s not only important to save and sharing her money that it’s not only important how we spend and save our money, but it’s that spend wisely…but that it’s also important to share wisely. 

We accomplished this by visibly placing “Sharing” on equal footing with “Saving” and “Spending” 

move over piggy bank, there's more to do with our money than just saving it.

So that when she finds, earns or is given money (from over-generous grandparents or over-turned sofa cushions) she considers which of the three jars she will put it in.

Lately, she's been dividing it equally.



#saving, #economics #children #mirror, #map #compass  #self-image, #world view, #value system, #goals, #social equality #cognitive psychology #holism

Continuing Education: The Romantic Nature of Learning


"Art is everywhere, except it has to pass through a creative mind."

-Louise Nevelson


There is artistry in education. The appreciation of its design depends largely on one’s ability to contemplate the beauty of its magnificent impact with moral imagination.  If you take the time to step back and deconstruct the material world, educational lessons are revealed in its design. This is the cornerstone of Montessori . Facilitating an understanding of the world by developing a core of knowledge based on experiencing its physical properties (AKA: Tactile Learning). The more comprehensive these experiences are... the deeper one's understanding of the world may become.

Lasting impressions of the physical world create reference points for not only our creativity and imagination but for the development of our vocabulary and the most basic means of communication as well.

In the book "Thought In The Act", Erin Manning + Brian Massumi describe life experience as: "...the intangible." I interpret this to mean that one can only imagine the intangible and our imaginations are the creative applications of mental associations we make with our physical understandings of the world. The breadth of one's learning can therefore directly impact the extent to which one experiences life and can imagine. This is the mindset from which we attempt to re-discover and re-define the world with, and for, our daughter.

"I would like to recapture that freshness of vision which is characteristic of extreme youth when all the world is new to it."
-Henri Matisse

My wife and I are driven to give our daughter a life filled with as much joy as possible (without being detrimental) while empowering her to make a positive contribution to the world and leave it in a better condition than the one in which it is presented to her. Whether or not she elects to take on such a noble pursuit will be up to her…but we at least want her to be possessed with the requisite awareness in order to give her a better shot at it if she tries. We believe that the attainment of this awareness is made easier if we adopt a Montessorial approach to our introduction to the world (meaning: deconstructing everything to its most basic physical components, qualities and relationships in order to promote an appreciation of both individual components and their relationships within various contexts as well). Employing this method of modeling (and thus parenting) has been very much like arranging a marriage between Socratic Questioning and the slow motion filming techniques that transform amazing feats of wildlife like the flight mechanics of a bird's wing, into what the BBC calls "...full scale events, and simple action into incredibly detailed video sequences." The results are impossible to imagine let alone perceive with the naked eye. When a sequence filmed at a high frame rate (fps) is played back in normal time (24fps), the action appears to slow down. As camera technology improves, ultra high-speed footage of over 1,000fps produces ever more astonishing images. Hidden secrets are revealed, new science is discovered and tiny subtleties in animal behaviour become perceptible.".

"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see."
-Edgar Degas

On Grocery Shopping:
As parents we often worry more about our children's happiness than our own...and some of us can imagine the smallest amount of potential suffering (even boredom) having lasting detrimental effects to their overall emotional well-being. It sounds crazy... and that's mostly because, well...it is.

After being blessed with a seemingly perpetual sidekick, I suddenly began viewing one of my favorite things in the world: grocery shopping, as a boring chore for our little one and more of a "necessary evil" than anything. I went to great lengths in order to minimize our time in any market and thus mitigate, what I had perceived to be, my daughters suffering.

My weekly mission was to make grocery shopping as fast and as painless as possible. To enter and to leave with military precision. I was a Supermarket S.E.A.L.  and the strike zone encompassed every square inch from the parking lot to the pastry case. As such, it required utilizing my strategic operations experience to develop shopping lists that would direct our travel path from paper products and laundry supplies to dairy and frozen foods (which...to me, is still the most efficient travel path through a grocery store.)

Once I considered the fact that my general stress level was likely being transmitted at some level to my daughter, I took a step back and looked at this mundane chore of gathering stuff with my Montessorial monocle. After doing so, I was able to recognize educational opportunities existing everywhere! It didn't take long to start enjoying the lessons that every isle and every purchase offered.  I think I, like so many other people, shop as they drive. One with the cart. Operating it with a sort of tunnel vision. Half-blind to the other people in the store in that- I saw them mostly as slow moving obstacles in my path to hunting, gathering and surgically extracting a list of items amid a course made from thousands of bar coded goods. The fact that there are so many different products & foodstuffs in a myriad of: colors, textures, shapes and sizes alone...combined with the wide range of pricing makes for an exceptional environment full of physical stimulus there for the taking!  Add to this the potential multitude of non-verbal lessons in social psychology once one begins navigating with others as opposed to through them. Explaining that pictures don't necessarily match what's in the box or naming an animal that eats a particular food...even the act of writing then reading a shopping list together and checking off the items holds a wealth of practical modeling applications.

New and exciting games emerge when a scale is viewed as an educational toy instead of a tool for commerce. Guessing how many units or "pounds" of bananas we want and then showing my three year old just how many bananas her guess of 7 pounds actually equates to…and feels in her arms....can be hilarious! And physically comprehending the difference between a 1lb bag of rice in her lap vs. a 10lb pound bag in her lap is just one of the countless physical comparisons that make long lasting impressions while eliciting a heart-warming amount of laughter.

This is enjoyable education. It's fun. it's free. And it forms the basis of enjoying physical connections with the world and learning from them. The food market has now become not only less stressful for me... but actually much more enjoyable than it ever was.  Seeing how much five of something costs compared to how much ten of the same thing costs can be a real lesson in both mathematics as well as economics.

There is no single word, equivalent to literacy or numeracy, that expresses wrighting and wroughting (that is the ability to make – as in wheelwright, shipwright, cartwright). In late 18th and early 19th century the role of schools in preparing children to work in manufacturing industry would have been seen to have had a greater vocational and economic relevance than it would today.

-Brian Stevens: The Three Rs and The Education Journal #307

We never refer to “shopping” as math or economics or physics or psychology... just as we don't refer to other skill sets such as addition or penmanship in the Montessori classroom as such. We focus on the romantic nature of letters and numbers and what they physically mean so that we can draw them, hold them, trace them, count and separate them, etc... This sensual connection between touch and concept is what I view as romantic. Using the traditional names for foundations of basic skill-oriented educational programs may more readily prepare children for the references they will encounter in later years but it takes all the fun out of learning today. It makes these experiences seem more like work and less like play. It takes the romance, the magic and the imagination out of her world.

"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance."

Viewing the world from a Montessorial perspective is making every place and every thing seem more meaningful than its obvious context. More valuable than the sum of its parts. More...interconnected.
In my earlier post "Circle Back" I discussed the interconnections that exist between the business world and the natural world. These are the kinds of relationships I am now just seeing for the first time and the vision of the world I want to impart to my child. Seeing the inter-connectedness of all things may sound like a spiritual or religious pursuit for us but it is not. For my wife and me... it is much simpler than that. Our hope is that by embracing the romantic nature of learning she will derive immense fulfillment from discovery and understand more about the world and herself than traditional extrinsic "teaching" alone can impart.  

Right now, my wife and I only want to develop a polite and gentle person who is socially adept and enjoys learning. We have no interest in rushing to amass within her any specific quantity or mass of knowledge nor do we want her to achieve any prescribed level of learning above or beyond what she naturally achieves through self-interest and gentle guidance.  This is why we made the choice to send her to a Montessori School and why, every day, we are grateful for discovering Baan Dek Montessori in Sioux Falls. There are so many stresses that we face as adults in life. Right now we want her to be a child and enjoy her childhood. The artisan educators at Baan Dek seem to direct their students with an understanding that there is greater value in mitigating pressure for children than preparing them to handle it...and we like that.

"Play is The Work of The Child" - Maria Montessori

For the last three years, I have walked with our daughter to the top of at least a dozen water slides...and every climb resulted in uncertainty and fear. Although I would consistently assure her that it would be "ok" and "so much fun!" (While pointing out the other children her age and those younger who we're enjoying it) She always decided to walk back down instead...until this past week at a resort in Phoenix Arizona. When she decided she was "going to be brave” and “ought to give it a try." As a result, I witnessed a mirth of her own accord. Unmistakably derived not only from the thrill of the ride, but also from the pride in realizing that her own hunger for joy was the motivation that elicited courage.

Children develop at different rates... but when placed in healthy environments with exposure to diversity of company and a myriad of disciplines, all children eventually reach their intellectual potential with or without our constant intervention.The difference between racing to that potential vs. allowing a child to arrive at it at their own pace and through a romantic discovery is that the later seems to breed a deeper joy and self-confidence through an appreciation of the journey as well as the destination.

Gender Equality: Getting Serious About Propagation of Discrimination

While covering Catherine's bedroom walls with Minnie Mouse & Daisy Duck decals, we came across one sticker in the package that read: "Girls can do anything!" She asked me what it said and after reading it to her, she promptly responded: "well...boys can do anything too... actually, anyone can do anything." and as my heart began to swell with pride and satisfaction, she added: "...as long as their Mommy and Daddy or Teachers aren't watching."

Although this started my Sunday morning with a good laugh, I found myself contemplating a friend's recent facebook post: 

"I, for one, think that girls are strong enough to handle the word "bossy." And I don't think they need to be treated with extra-gentle kid gloves. It backfires. Makes me think of what Sarah Silverman said:

Stop telling girls they can be anything they want when they grow up. I think it’s a mistake. Not because they can’t but because it would have never occurred to them they couldn’t. You’re planting that seed in their heads. It’s like saying, “Hey when you get in the shower I’m not going to read your diary.”

The whole "addressing the problem" instead of behaving in a way to prove it doesn't exist reminds me of the line in "Dirty Dancing" when Edward says "I never treated you like a prostitute." and Vivian replies (under her breath): "You just did."

Our sincerest intention is for Catherine to view all people as Human and give as much weight to their gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, religion, creed and race as she does to the color of their hair. Lamenting, defending or proclaiming pride in differences only seems to propagate the human divide.

My wife and I view Catherine as a generational clean slate with regards to human equality. The challenge has been and continues to be the adoption of behavior and offering of  lessons that don't overcompensate for the biases we encounter and dream to circumvent.     

Dynastic Trust: Advice to The Woman My Little Girl Will be.

2013-09-21 13.49.54.jpg

1. Use your advantage to help others instead of hurt them. Other than in sporting... Never do anything that puts others at a disadvantage.

2. In matters of great importance, the best response is offered after emotion and suspicion yield to reason and logic. Wait one day to respond to anything that makes your face hot.

3. Never Ever Ever Ever Ever Give Up. The fear of falling is often more debilitating than the fall itself. It is in falling that we realize our resilience.

4. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It shows you recognize the importance of a task.

5. Sometimes doing nothing is a lot...but when you move, move with purpose.

6. Full Hands In. Full Hands Out.

7. Just tell the truth & never put a price on your principles.

8. Do more than the minimum. 

9. Ski, Surf, Walk, Drive, Ride, Fly & Live in a predictable fashion whenever there are others behind or around you.

10. If you think you can, you will. If you think you can't, you won't.

11. The most Important things you will ever say: "After you", "Please", "Thank You", "I Love You" and "I'm Sorry".

12. Go to bed early. You will accomplish more before others wake than you will after they've gone to sleep.

13. Never drink more than one cocktail with subordinates or superiors. 

14. Dissenting opinions and unpleasant news should only be voiced if some significant good can come of it. Displaying one's level of intelligence or social connectivity does not constitute a "significant good".

15. Those who control others are strong. Those who control themselves are powerful...and more attractive. 

16. It's better to be wrong and alive, then right and dead.

17. Stand back when waiting for an elevator. If you give people enough space to exit first, there'll be more room for you to enter afterwards.   

18. Never post anything on-line that you wouldn't want to air as a commercial during the Super Bowl.

19. The power in hate, greed, negativity and jealousy is in it's ability to distract you. Don't let it. Never lower yourself to the level of those who thrive on such things.

20. All the world's ills (other than those resulting from chemical or psychological imbalance) can be traced back to poor parenting and/or poor education. Never stop learning! 

21. A person's character is not so easily measured in times of comfort and advantage. The more accurate measure of one's character is taken in the most threatening of times... when weakness is most likely to triumph. Even then, character is not found in one's faults or folly but in the methods and sincerity with which they redeem themselves...and those they've failed.

22. Great intelligence demands even greater patience. 

23. Drugs are a distraction from: doing what truly makes your heart happiest, discovering the most beauty that life has to offer and knowing what day it is...additionally, it makes fast food seem like a pretty good idea.

24. Listen carefully first. There's a difference between "letting someone else talk" and "listening". The former requires you to simply close your mouth. The latter requires you to open your mind.

25. When no rule exists, do the right thing. There's always an opportunity / It's never too late to do the right thing.

26. Never buy a house: at the bottom of a hill, near a body of water or with a flat roof.

27. Stand up for yourself... and those who can not stand up for themselves.

28. Sustained actions speak louder than words.

29. Never underestimate anyone...especially yourself.

30. In life, there will always be positives and there will always be negatives. Your attitude is driven by which you choose to focus on each and every day. It’s not what happens to you that matters; it’s how you choose to respond. Read "The Road Less Traveled".

31. Everything is relative. Everyone's perspective is their reality. (i.e, Never recline a seat in coach when someone is seated behind you.)

32. Nothing "goes away".

33. Quality work is expensive. Cheap work costs even more.

34. Be mindful of the ease with which an unintended tone can be imparted to the written word of another. Read "The 5 Minute Manager".

35. Mistakes and inconsistencies are where the natural beauty lies. There is no such thing as "perfect".

36. The Platinum Rule: Treat Others as They Want To Be Treated.

37. Nothing great is ever accomplished alone. You can teach most anyone a skill... but you can't teach anyone personality and character.

38. Make time to be still and quiet in nature...then dance in the rain and let yourself get soaked! It's good for the soul.

39. If you're having a problem with a person or situation, look at your own behavior first...and then look at your own behavior again.

40. Treat every place like a campsite... Leave it a little better than you found it.

41. Exercise is the ultimate antidepressant...and greatest tailor. 

42. When facing any catastrophe, ask yourself: "How much will this matter in 20 years?".

43. Collaborate with experienced people from all different walks of life. The cross-pollination between passionate people from various disciplines enables real innovation to flourish.

44. Be Kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle... hidden or not. 

45. Boys will break your heart (especially when you forget how wonderful your are). Let them. Learn from it.

46. Stop calling him. Stop texting him. Stop saying things you hope he will hear. If he wanted you, and deserved you...he'd be there.

47. Bellybutton piercings and tattoos are always bad ideas. Self-acceptance is the coolest accessory.

48. Life begins where your comfort zone ends. Be carefree...not careless.

49. Time doesn't heal all wounds...but it does allow for more experiences which, in turn, yield a different perspective.

50. Don't let anyone define your self-worth...not even him.

51. Trust your instincts...but rely on the fact that most people let down their guard after 6 months.

52. Be grateful & love with everything you've got as I love you. No matter what... forever and beyond. 

53. Listen to The Beatles. There's a lot of wisdom in their simple lyrics and they can be a good "home away from home".


System Recovery: Backup In 10 Days after a Tonsilectomy

A tonsilectomy is like the execution of an intelligently designed performance- based contingency. It's painful for everyone involved but if they're not meeting performance requirements, they have to go.

In our case, it was close to 10 days of pain until we were back on our feet. It would have been 9 but a ridiculously cold day (-20 degrees) resulted in school closings throughout South Dakota and afforded us an extra day to recharge.

Although most days were spent getting enough fluids down (water, apple juice and chocolate milk) while watching every episode of Scooby Doo & Peg + Cat ever created... the following is an overview of her daily post-op progression highlights:


Day 0: Nervous but brave going in. Disphoria and pain waking up. Plesant and cheerful at home.

ATE: Buttery And Fluffy Scrambled Eggs, Buttered Hawaiian Sweet Roll
And Apple Juice

Quote of the day: "I don't like any of this! I don't like one bit of this at all and I want to go home!!!"- upon waking from surgery.


Day 1: Antsy from medication and inactivity. Apparently unaffected otherwise. Playing independently.

ATE: Buttered Noodles, Fluffy Pancakes and Fudge Pop

Quote: "I don't want to eat ANYTHING!"


Day 2: Antsy and A bit overemotional / easily frustrated. Clearly masking discomfort. Bored

Quote:  "...but I'm not a very big fan if ice cream because it makes my mouth so cold."

ATE: Fudge Pop and Buttered Noodles with Chix Broth few slices of Pear.


Day 3: Calm and Cuddly with random bursts of energy presumably resulting from boredom.

Quote: "They say on television that children love flashlights and they love stuffed animals...so they really love flashlight friends! I love my new flash.light friend so much I have to hug her a lot!"

ATE: Buttered Noodles, Pancake and Fudge Pop and Marshmallows


Day 4: Fairly normal but bursts of energy continue to mix with apparent drowsiness from medication.

Quote: "I feel like I was eating an apple and swallowed it whole without even chewing it up."

ATE: Nutella Crepe, Mozzarella Cheese and Fuffy Pancake


Day 4.5: Skipped a dose of Lortab in middle of the night to tfy and let her sleep through. Bad idea.


Day 5: Irritable and uncomfortable. Needed a lot if attention and TLC = cuddling.

ATE: Nutella and Sunbutter Crepe and Buttered Noodles with Chicken Broth and Grated Cheese

Quote: "Its nice to be out of the house. I havent been out if the house in a year!"


Day 6: Doing very well. Feeling well.Comfortable but bored. Seems like her old self.
Fluffy & Light Grilled cheese on Thick slices Kings Hawaiian Sweet Round Bread, Mac n Cheese, PEZ,

ATE: Buttered Noodles and Chix Broth and Pirate Booty and Gum.

Quote: "I want someone to color with me!"


Day 7: In great spirits. Happy and Full of Energy.

ATE: Fluffy Pancakes and PEZ.

Quote: "I feel perfect!"


DAY 8: Tired and difficult breaking out of the routine of sleeping in late cuddling and being naked. Voice changing: Sounding a lot like a miniature Kristen Chenoweth...or a cute Yeardley Smith (AKA Putter from Legend of Billy Jean)

ATE: Pancakes, Ham and Cheese, broccoli, boiled honied baby carrots, avocado, apple slices and salmon nuggets.

Quote: "My throat hurts just a little when I yawn."

Third Party: Princess Themed Birthday Party

Catherine wanted to have a Pancake Princess Party at the house...which meant only a handful of princesses. Sarah's Magic Wand Dispenser and Rainbow Lollipop Tree were both big hits!

Homeostasis: The Result of Successful Management



I found the following article on Wikipedia and immediately realized the correlation between homeostasis in the scientific world and sustainable success in the business world. I found it very interesting to "edit" the piece by (inserting applicable terms) which serve as viable substitutions to the words preceding them.

For another coherent piece, one might also substitute familial terms along with principles of: love, discipline, respect and education respectively as these scientific concepts are universally sound across every family, school and business that is, at it's core, a small branch of the greater natural world in which we live.


 "In simple terms, it is a process in which the body's internal environment is kept stable, despite changes in external conditions. The concept was described by Claude Bernarrd as Multiple dynamic equilibrium adjustment and regulation mechanisms make homeostasis possible."

With regard to any given life system (business) an organism (employee) may be a conformer or a regulator.

Regulators (managers) try to maintain parameters at a constant level over possibly wide ambient environmental variations.

Conformers (smart hires) allow the environment to determine their parameters (buy in).

For instance endothermic animals, namely mammals and birds(successful managers) maintain a constant body temperature (standard), while ectothermic animals, namely almost all other organisms (non-managent)unless acted upon may exhibit wide body temperature (behavioral) variation.

Behavioral adaptations (engaged managers) allow ectothermic animals (non-managent) to exert some control over a given parameter.

For instance, reptiles (unsatisfied employees) often rest on sun-heated rocks (strong leaders) in the morning to raise their body temperature (morale, performance or perception).

Regulators (Management) are also responsive to external circumstances (customers, market fluxtuation, demand, competition, etc..), however: if the same sun-baked boulder (motivational leader) happens to host a ground squirrel (colleague / employee requiring less motivation) , the animal's metabolism (colleague's moral, performance, perception, etc...) will adjust to the lesser need for internal heat production (motivation) .[citation needed]

An advantage of homeostatic regulation (effective management) is that it allows an organism (business) to function effectively in a broad range of environmental conditions. For example,ectotherms( non-management employees) tend to become sluggish at low temperatures (when business is slow), whereas a co-located endotherm (manager) may be fully active. That thermal stability comes at a price (higher salary and benefits) since an automatic regulation system (keeping your head when all others about you are losing theirs...) requires additional energy.

All homeostatic control mechanisms (Successful Systems of Operation) have at least three interdependent components for the variable being regulated: The receptor is the sensing component that monitors and responds to changes in the environment (executives / general managers). When the receptor senses a stimulus (performance), it sends information to a "control center", the component that sets the range at which a variable is maintained (board of directors / ownership) The control center (board) determines an appropriate response to the stimulus (performance). In most homeostatic mechanisms, the control center is the brain. The control center then sends signals to effectors (mid-level management), which can be muscles, organs or other structures that receive signals from the receptors (general manager) or control center (directors). After receiving the signal, a change occurs to correct the deviation by either enhancing it with positive feedback or depressing it with negative feedback.[10]

Positive Feedback:

Mechanisms (praise) designed to accelerate or enhance the output created by a stimulus (successful performance) that has already been activated (achieved).

Unlike negative feedback mechanisms that initiate to maintain or regulate (critique / correct) physiological functions within a set and narrow range (underperformance), the positive feedback mechanisms are designed to push levels out of normal ranges (motivate by positive reinforcement).

To achieve this effect, a series of events initiates a cascading process (appreciation and engagement) that builds to increase the effect of the stimulus (performance). This process can be beneficial but is rarely used by the body due to risks of the acceleration's (unwarranted praise/ reward or unnecessary expenses) benefit being diluted.

One positive feedback example event in the body is blood platelet accumulation, which, in turn, causesblood clotting in response to a break or tear in the lining of blood vessels. Another example is the release of oxytocin to intensify the contractions that take place during childbirth.[10]

Negative feedback:

Negative feedback mechanisms consist of reducing the output activity (limiting privileges or offering constructive criticism) of any organ (employee with opportunity to improve) or system (many) back to its normal range of functioning (procedure).

A good example of this is regulating blood pressure. Blood vessels can sense resistance of blood flow against the walls when blood pressure increases. The blood vessels act as the receptors and they relay this message to the brain. The brain then sends a message to the heart and blood vessels, both of which are the effectors. The heart rate would decrease as the blood vessels increase in diameter (known as vasodilation). This change would cause the blood pressure to fall back to its normal range. The opposite would happen when blood pressure decreases, and would cause vasoconstriction.

Another important example is seen when the body is deprived of food. The body would then reset the metabolic set point to a lower than normal value. This would allow the body to continue to function, at a slower rate, even though the body is starving. Therefore, people who deprive themselves of food while trying to lose weight would find it easy to shed weight initially and much harder to lose more after. This is due to the body readjusting itself to a lower metabolic set point to allow the body to survive with its low supply of energy. Exercise can change this effect by increasing the metabolic demand.

Both feedbacks are equally important for the healthy functioning of one's body...

Homeostatic imbalance:

Many diseases (business failures) a result of disturbance of homeostasis, a condition known as homeostatic imbalance (mismanagement). As it ages, every organism (business) will lose efficiency in its control systems(process management). The inefficiencies gradually result in an unstable internal environment (dymamics) that increases the risk for illness (losses). In addition, homeostatic imbalance(mismanagement) is also responsible for the physical changes associated with aging (obsolescence). Even more serious than illness (losses) and other characteristics of aging(inefficiency) is death(bankruptcy). Heart failure has been seen where nominal negative feedback mechanisms become overwhelmed, and destructive positive feedback mechanisms then take over.[10]Diseases(failures) that result from a homeostatic imbalance (mismanagement) include diabetes(inability to balance books), dehydration(lack of working capital), hypoglycemia(inability to drive sales), hyperglycemia (lack of infrastructure to handle volume), gout (disruptive employees), and any disease caused by a toxin present in the bloodstream (loss, theft, embezzlement).

All of these conditions result from the presence of an increased amount of a particular substance (problem). In ideal circumstances, homeostatic control mechanisms (successful management) should prevent this imbalance from occurring, but, in some people (organizations), the mechanisms (standard operating procedure, standard of care or systems of operation) do not work efficiently enough or the quantity of the substance (seriousness or lifespan of the problem) exceeds the levels at which it can be managed.

In these cases, medical intervention (outside consulting services) is necessary to restore the balance, or permanent damage to the organs (culture, mission, people power, etc...) may result.

According to the following citation, every illness has aspects to it that are a result of lost homeostasis (managent controls): "Just as we live in a constantly changing world, so do the cells and tissues (businesses) survive in a constantly changing microenvironment (marketplace). The 'normal' or 'physiologic' (profitable or sustainable) state then is achieved by adaptive responses to the ebb and flow of various stimuli (activity and performance) permitting the cells and tissues to adapt and to live in harmony within their microenvironment... Thus, homeostasis is preserved. What is good for individual cell is good for the entire system.


Author George Leonard discusses in his book "Mastery" how homeostasis affects our behavior and who we are. He states that homeostasis will prevent our body from making drastic changes and maintain stability in our lives even if it is detrimental to us.[12]Examples include when an obese person starts exercising, homeostasis in the body resists the activity to maintain stability.[13] Another example Leonard uses is an unstable family where the father has been a raging alcoholic and suddenly stops and the son starts up a drug habit to maintain stability in the family.

A note to other advisors, consultants, parents or anyone looking to champion a turn-around, Leonard also said: "Homeostasis is the main factor that stops people changing their habits because our bodies view change as dangerous unless it is very slow." Expect resistance and unnecessary delays if the need for change isn't first communicated and desired system-wide. Expect success if it is and you have the time and resources to walk them as opposed to pushing them through it.

Staying Afloat: Never Turn Your Back on The Essentials

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"The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately, in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence..."'

-Although merely the comedy of Oscar Wilde, this line has lately been extremely evocative, for me, of our Department of Education's inertia in light of positive findings in Montessori research:




…and our many states’ recent retreat from potential recovery -in the face of pending sequestration which will likely result in extremely damaging federal cuts to education. 

Michael Sargeant’s (Huffington Post) article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-sargeant/north-carolina-education-cuts_b_3785414.html  discusses the efforts by North Carolina's GOP to create new private school vouchers called: "opportunity scholarships". This.$90MM taxpayer contribution drains $500MM out of the public education system sans accountability.

Cuts like these to education budgets (USA TODAY) in order to offset economic shortfalls is like watering the lawn when the roof is on fire:

Read More:


I'm reminded of wisdom regarding downsizing in the business world:

"If a firm is able to concentrate it's expenses around the capabilities that make a real difference in terms of winning in the market then great things happen...then they are able to invest in the areas that cause them to thrive and to grow....people, processes and expertise that allow them to out-execute competition" 


Cesare Mainardi, Managing Director, Booz & Company, How executives should cut costs but often dont.






Circle Back: Valuable Lessons in Getting Back to Nature

A Montessorial approach to nature, in which the interconnectedness of simple structures is considered, can deepen an understanding and appreciation of many more seemingly complex principles and/or operations within a multitude of fields from business to medicine.

I saw a program on NOVA the other night, the topic of which was "Nanoarchitecture" and it was fascinating to learn that when you reduced the size of a gold particle (to the size of nanometers) you get completely different optical properties. Gold is no longer "gold" in color when taken to the 13 nanometer size. It's ruby red in color. 


"...when a particle of gold is made very small...below 100 nanometers, the smaller the particle, the more it begins to absorb shorter wavelengths of light. Toward the blue end of the spectrum..and the redder it appears. When light rays hit a colored material some rays are absorbed and some are reflected."

-Chad Merkin and David  Pogue Nova Series "Making Things Smaller"

The series also discussed "Structural Color...(as found in the iridescence of butterfly wings, beetle shells and peacock feathers). "Once you discover those new properties of nanoparticles, it almost always leads to new applications." Once such application is a new process of sequencing DNA / testing for genetic variations which is capable of being completed in less than 2hrs. One of the experiments which led to this DNA testing breakthough was one in which equal amounts but different shapes of silver nanoparticles were dissolved in vials of water. Different colored liquids were created based solely on the shape of those silver particles. Silver rods turned the water yellow, silver triangles turned the water green and silver prisms turned the water blue. These newly discovered reactions of nanoparticles were used to help develop the test that enables chromosomal abnormalities to be highlighted upon addition of similarly altered nanoparticles to a DNA sample.

There is tremendous value when a parent or business owner is reminded, through a Montessorial observation of the natural world, that visually observed characteristics of things (or people) can be variables depending on applied forces and independent perspectives...and that those observed characteristics don't necessarily dictate substance. Not only does this promote a wider-view perspective but it also reinforces the value in seeking possible factors outside of one's initial consideration. 

If you pause long enough to take a much broader view of your child's development or of your business' operations, you may be fortunate enough to recognize that the natural world and the business world are inexorably bound due to the fact that we ourselves, regardless of how technical our tools or how complex our lives, are merely components born of and operating within the same kingdom as the elephant and the honeybee.


After a small amount of research, I quickly learned that applying holistic and systemic approaches to business, social or educational organizations based on principles in nature is not, by any stretch, new thinking... but has certainly been gaining more traction over the last few years.

Business Reinvention with Nancy Lin discusses the fact that scientists and technologists are uncovering innovative ideas and borrow efficient designs from nature. She answers the question: “Does nature offer leadership lessons that can help us manage the increasing level of uncertainty, speed of change and limited resources to achieve such business transformation?" in her January 6th interview with the Denise DeLuca, co-founder and director of BCI, Biomimicry for Creative Innovation.



Alan Moore, author of No Straight Lines discusses the fact that a non-linear world is one in which we embrace the power and potential of complexity rather than trying to break it down into unconnected bits and that we see the world systemically. A non-linear world is where we have the capacity and the tools (which already exist) to transform our organizations commercially and non-commercially to work with the grain of human nature not against it that run leaner, more efficiently, and are greener. 

Giles Hutchins’ blog, The Nature of Business (one of my newest favorites) is exploring similar understandings of the interconnectedness of all things in nature and writes:

"Knowledge of the core principles of how life works becomes a critical skill for business leaders and change agents wishing to successfully transform their organizations in these volatile times.  It is what  BCI (Biomimicry for Creative Innovation) calls ‘ecological thinking for radical transformation'."



Most people in business subscribe to an outdated worldview, a perception of reality inadequate for dealing with the volatile and globally interconnected business world.  What is required for the health and vitality of our businesses and economies is a radical shift in our perceptions, our thinking and our business behavior.  We are witnessing a change in the business paradigm from one suited for the industrial era to one suited for the interconnected era.

At the core of this paradigm shift is a perception shift from ‘seperatedness’ to ‘interconnectedness’.

Just as in science we have discovered that no longer can the universe be viewed as a machine composed of elementary building blocks, so too must we avoid the propensity to view organizations as atomized, silo’ed and tightly managed machines more then we need view them as vibrant, living organisms interacting within emergent, self-regulating and self-organizing business ecosystems."


  "Evolution is no longer seen as a competitive struggle for existence, but rather as a ‘cooperative dance in which creativity and the constant emergence of novelty are the driving forces"

-Fritjof Capra / Founding Director / The Centre for Ecoliteracy.


Ditto for business evolution and so business people need to shift perceptions from "...seeing isolated, competing aspects of the business environment to seeing the interconnected and emergent nature of the business reality ahead.”

And finally, Fortune Magazine’s Jennifer Alserver significantly contributed to this concept back in her March 2013 article titled “8 Lessons from the Birds and the Bees”:

“The burgeoning field of biomimicry, in which scientists copy nature to solve human problems, has drawn interest across industries -- from energy to consumer goods. 'There is a whole pipeline of people inventing by looking to the natural world', says Janine Benyus, founder of Biomimicry 3.8, a consultancy that has helped Colgate-Palmolive (CLFortune 500), Levis, Nike (NKEFortune 500) and Boeing (BAFortune 500) reformulate products using biomimicry  “.


Nicholas Sykes' TED X talk: - Biomimicry 2.0


I continue to discover new and exciting aspects of my business since adopting a more Montessorial perspective on any business venture. 

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