A baby learns to walk by falling over many times. An entrepreneur learns to succeed after stumbling along the way. Teaching yourself, and your kids, to be successful in business requires Natalie’s fourth P: Perseverance (perseverance on their part, and yours!)
For example, Cathy and I have learned that in the business of referring people to an opportunity, many people will just not be interested. With enterprising teens watching, how do parents set an example to persevere in the face when people say “No”? Well, the mindset for success is to celebrate the “No.” After so many of them, a “Yes” will inevitably follow. One of my mentors, David Wood, says to do the Happy Dance whenever you get a “No,” because the rejection only moved you one step further towards the “Yes.”
Your kids, whether entrepreneurial or not, are going to like to see that Happy Dance, making it a practical way to help seal the behavioural pattern of success in their mindsets. Being able to overcome rejection in business, rejection from friends and rejection from family is paramount for kids to be successful.
Our vocabulary also plays a huge part in our ability to persevere. In our family “Can’t” is a swear-word and not allowed to be used at any time; “Can” is encouraged. Many people, including kids, are quick to give up when the going gets tough, saying, “I can’t” rather than “I can.” The little kids in my family actually believe “Can’t” is a swear word, right up there with the other big four letter words!
Another phrase to abandon is, “It’s too hard.” Natalie showed us a little trick she used to change her perception of what is hard. She bought a toy button that calls out, “That was easy!” when you press it. Natalie would strap this toy button to her volleyball net pole. Whenever she did something very well that was also very difficult, she would run up to press the button: “That was easy!” Try it for yourself… press the button below!
Being the best in the world at your sport certainly has its challenges, and my kids would love to try out one of those buttons. You can get them from Amazon.com. But whether or not, the point is not to say “That was hard!”
These tactics to increase the level of perseverance in kids and keeping them on a successful track comes easier when you have a Plan. This is the fifth P we’ll talk about next week.
Make sure you have a look at the short video (click the image above) we made of Natalie Cook giving a special message to our kids. Can you spot the BLOOPER?
Imagine a school with a natural, holistic, student-centred learning environment that empowers and inspires their young people to be creative, innovative, green leaders?
There are many schools that aspire to a vision such as this, but very few achieve it! In fact, in all the years that I’ve been a teacher I know of only one such school that has been gaining the genuine attention of educators and parents from all around the world. This unique school is located in a forest on the island of Bali in Indonesia, and it is constructed entirely of bamboo.
Green School Bali is an innovative school that is different in just about every aspect to regular Australian schools. It is different in its construction, the way it is run, its philosophy on raising and teaching children and with its curriculum.
Cathy, myself and our kids recently had the opportunity to attend an excellent presentation in Perth on Green School Bali. The Principal, Mr Alan Wagstaff, show-cased his school and shared their philosophy on education. He spoke with passion and with tremendous pride.
Rightly so… as Green School Bali is turning many heads! The founders of the school think ‘way out of the box’ and have created a harmonious learning environment that kids excel in. They, and a growing group of others, believe that this school is the way of the future with education. Perhaps the policy makers, politicians and leaders of our outdated education system should take a serious look at Green School Bali.
In previous articles we have challenged the pedogogical practices of our current schooling system here in Australia. We have the view that it provides a good literacy education. However, the design of our system is to condition young people to be obedient, hard working and compliant. Now that doesn’t actually sound so bad does it, but what I mean is that our world needs workers to fill jobs and that is what schools do. They train kids to be loyal workers and aspire to have a life long JOB. Now, that is perfect for those who want to do that, but what happens if you want to become an Entrepreneur? Many of our schools don’t really foster true leadership, innovation or enterprise. Our schools certainly don’t provide a financial education, nor do they teach kids to develop the habits and thinking of an entrepreneur.
Alan Wagstaff was also very apologetic about his very strong views on our archaic education system currently running in Australia (and other western Societies). He pointed out many issues that should not be dismissed, and he backed his views with facts, figures and research conducted by qualified experts in education. He cited the work of well regarded intellectuals and authors such as Michael Shorts, Alfie Kohn and Steven Covey.
So what does green School have that is so uniquely special?
This quote by Michael Franti begins to paint a picture…
Check out a Green School classroom
“For anybody that’s considering sending your kid to school here, it’s different than other schools where your kid’s going to be assigned a number and a desk and you show up and you do exactly what you’re told. Here if you have an idea to do something that’s outside of the box, that idea is going to be fostered and nurtured rather than pushed down. I highly recommend coming here as a visitor, if you’re just visiting Bali; and if you’re a student, it’s a great place to be.” – Michael Franti, poet, musician, and activist.
Alan Wagstaff shared an interesting statistic about students in our regular schools. Studies show that two thirds of students over 11 years old in Australian schools are not engaged in their learning and don’t really like school! These same students feel that they are learning irrelevant things that won’t be of any use to them when they leave school. Funny he happens to point this out, as we hear this at times from our teenage children. In fact I think back to much of the mundane content that I had to master, and be tested on, as a student in High School and then again as a student at Teachers College. Content that was of no use to me in what I do today.
Alan says we need to change the structuring of timetabling. We need to go from subject based teaching to student-centred. If you look at what children do at school, their timetable will typically revolve around Literacy and Numeracy with subjects such as The Arts being of lesser importance by shoving them into the afternoon gaps on the timetable. We push the students with Literacy and Numeracy in order to uphold the education ‘brand’ and to satisfy National Testing (NAPLAN). Our curriculum is all prescribed with little room for being flexible. Whatever the subject, the emphasis is always Literacy and Numeracy. With the introduction of the new Australian Curriculum we are in for an even more inflexible schooling system.
With all the emphasis on Literacy and Numeracy, why do we have so many kids not meeting the grade?
What is it about schooling that creates life success? … the short answer is simply having kids turn up at school and be fully engaged and you’ll get there!
Therefore we need kids to be satisfied. Schools need to link students into life! Their learning needs to be realistic and of relevance to each of them individually. Everyday we should be academically up-skilling kids, but not comparing them with other kids.
Parents should ask, not how do they compare with other kids, but what is it they are learning.
Alan explained how they educate children at Green School Bali. Here is what he said.
The programs are structured around themes. These are collaboratively planned by the teacher team leaders. Teachers then run proficiency lessons within these short term themes. Students are shown the continuum of what they need to learn in the different areas of the curriculum and then the students set about working towards learning what they need to learn at their own levels. The students take the responsibility for their own learning.
Within the broader themes, students follow their own individual interests. They develop their own ideas and these ideas are fostered and expanded. They themselves identify what they need to learn and then conduct their own investigations and study groups in order to learn, understand and practice skills.
Every day the children are engaged in practical lessons that challenge the Big Four… Physical, Emotional, Intellectual and Interpersonal.
For example, if the general theme was ‘Waves’, then the Big 4 may run as follows…
Physical- Go experience the waves by surfing.
Emotional- Paint a wave or sing a wave melody
Intellectual- Study wave formations.
Interpersonal- Sit by the waves and meditate.
At Green School there are no rigid timetables. This allows themes to develop through dynamic chaos. Specialist teachers decide what will be done and teachers research the theme and subject areas. Students are then engaged in proficiency lessons.
Alan said that in order for students to learn something they must ‘hit it three times in three different ways during the week’. Thus mini themes develop within the bigger themes. Teachers teach children to self manage their way through learning. Therefore the kids are fully engaged and it leads to lifelong learning.
Opportunities are seized as they arise to provide practical real life lessons in the following areas… connect to the real world; environmental education; health and wellbeing; performance arts; enterprise education; and visual arts.
These lessons are timed (have end date), sustainable, are flexible and must be authentic. They do this by venturing beyond the school and accessing adults and resources in the ‘enterprising world’.
Green School’s aim is for kids to want to go to school and for them to be fully engaged. Thus the emphasis is on relevance to learning and valuing students, and not on testing and comparing students as we do in our current schooling system. This simply puts unnecessary pressure on them.
Green School Bali is an architectural masterpiece. A masterwork built of bamboo and mud brick. There are no classroom walls and very little impact on the environment. The school is self sustainable with power sourced from a large bank of solar panels and hydro power from the river. Students all assist with growing food in the large permaculture garden where animals are also kept for use.
Surrounding the school are bamboo homes built by local and international people who choose to live in Bali so that their children can attend the school. Under construction are numerous studios that are to be leased cheaply to entrepreneurs under the proviso that the students are involved with these businesses, allowing them to develop enterprise skills and ultimately they will learn to be entrepreneurs.
This is truly a real live example of an exemplary school. Students attending this school are achieving outstanding results in all aspects of their development, including academics. They are learning faster and going further than their peers on mainland Australia. Although the school has only been running for a short time, they have their first graduates graduating and, those choosing to do so, are being accepted into universities around the world.
Alan Waggstaff and the founders of the school have a vision to create change in how all schools educate. They know that they will be challenged if they target the top of the education hierarchy in Australia. So they are working to make change from the bottom up. They are doing this by being an exemplary school and by being noticed! They are also training teachers on mainland Australia with Green School ideologies with the purpose of these teachers making gradual change in their own schools.
If you are inspired by what this school stands for and would like to impact change in our current schooling system, then get in contact with Alan Waggstaff to organise for him and his team to train your people (parents and teachers done at very low cost). This is his email firstname.lastname@example.org .
There are currently places available in the school for students. The school charges $6000 year for primary aged students and $12000 year for secondary. It is a non profit school and offers places to many disadvantaged students through privately funded scholarships.
Another way to have your kids experience Green School Bali, is to send them along to the Green SuperCamp. There is one coming up mid year. Kaitlin, Jai and Flynn attended last year and came back transformed! We are working towards them attending the camp again this year along with our eleven year old daughter Amber. If you would like to know more about the Green SuperCamp give us a call or email.
Twelve year old Flynn confidently exited through the International airport departure gate, heading off to a foreign country for an experience of a lifetime at the Green SuperCamp Bali!
Flynn dancing at the Green SuperCamp Bali
The kids are taught Quantum strategies to learn.
Balinese martial arts in the Mud Pit!
Saying goodbye to our son at five in the morning, then watching him leave Australia, knowing that we would not be able to speak to him for over a week, left us with a feeling of tremendous pride… although we were struggling with letting him go.
... self confidence...
When Cathy and I learnt about the Green SuperCamp, we immediately knew that it would have tremendous character building benefits for our kids. We wanted to share their experiences on our Enterprise For Kids blog for our readers, as we strongly feel that the skills, values and knowledge that the Green Super Camp instils into kids are the same key attributes that will build future leaders and entrepreneurs.
Here is Flynn’s reflection of his camp in his own words!
The Balinese mud dance!
Supercamp was an absolutely awesome experience!
Supercamp was an absolutely awesome experience!
The biggest challenge that I faced was going to Bali on my own without my parents. I just knew that I wanted to go on the Green SuperCamp, and to do that I had to go on my own.
I loved trying all the fun activities like mud wrestling, high ropes course, Balinese dancing and seeing all the zoo animals.
I became friends with kids from all over the world. There were kids from America, Australia, Bali, Indonesia, London, India, New Zealand and Japan. Everyone there were really nice, they were happy and they persevered with all the challenges. I liked everyone at the Green SuperCamp!
One of my favourite activities was the mud fighting because I learnt self defence and I learnt how to throw people over my back. This activity taught me the importance of perseverance and to never give up.
... the key to success!
We were taught how to use Quantum strategies to think and learn. As a result my reading has become seven times faster.
The Bali Green SuperCamp was a fantastic experience. I think that everyone should have a chance to go!
As parents we have noted a number of positive changes in Flynn since the camp.
... responsibility and care!
At his school, the teachers have commented that Flynn has been making a real effort and that he has been keeping away from any sort of mischief. He has taken to reading books (which is something he normally avoids!), so much so that he has reached this term’s reading goal in only three weeks! He has an air of confidence and purpose with the things he does. This is evident with his responsibility with chores and with his focus and efforts when playing weekend soccer. Flynn has been easy to get along with at home and appears to be very happy with life!
We were delighted that our three eldest children were able to attend this year’s Green SuperCamp in Bali. They had amazing life changing experiences that have left them with new understandings and beliefs about themselves that will remain with them forever.
Kaitlin at the Green SuperCamp Bali.
Each of our kids applied for a Green SuperCamp scholarship. The scholarships would help us cover the cost of the camp. Kaitlin, Jai and Flynn each wrote why they wanted to attend the camp.
We are very inspired by the passionate words that they each wrote in their applications. Below we have some words from Kaitlin, and we are very proud of her passion and talent in getting her message across to the organisers of the Supercamp.
Here’s what Kaitlin wrote…
“I am the eldest of seven children in my family. We have been brought up to strive for excellence and to aim as high as we can. My parents have always been determined to give us kids the best opportunities possible to get the best out of life.
This year I have started year 11, and have found it quite difficult. I have been held up by limitations of my time and motivation. I would love to attend the “Green Super Camp” in order to break these barriers. I want a life where I can be a role model and inspiration for my siblings and others. I want to be able to contribute to the world and show so many people a way to be free, but I’m still trying to work out how to get there.
Kaitlin Flying like a fox!
I’m so keen to develop a mindset for success. I want to meet new people from around the world, and absorb their confidence and energy. My goal is to become a school prefect or Head girl and to be accepted into University. To do this I need to \understand and learn about myself. I want to know what it takes to be a leader and to be confident in myself to be one.
If I receive this Scholarship, I would be determined, open and ready, to absorb all the information possible for me to be the best person I can and to motivate others to be the same. This is an experience of a lifetime, and I’m ready for it now.”
You will have to wait for the next blog to discover what each of them learnt from their camp experience! Until then…….
Before we revisit Kaitlin and her Portrait Artist Enterprise, we wanted to share about the idea of manifesting what you desire into reality. We believe having a little understanding about this will make all the difference to achieving goals, dreams and enterprise for kids.
If you have ever watched the movie “The Secret”, which is all about understanding the Laws of Attraction, then you would have some understanding of Quantum Physics. The Secret explains how to manifest things that you desire into reality. It explains that you must firstly see and believe whatever it is that you want, then you evoke it (or emote it) into existence. If all goes well, the thing you desire will at some stage certainly materialise.
The more we have been learning about Quantum Physics through the studies that we are doing at the moment with our Mentor, Paul Counsel, the more we have come to understand and believe that what the Secret portrays is all real and true, however, the movie doesn’t go into a lot of depth with one very important point (actually there’s another point as well, but that can wait for a later blog!).
For all of the above to actually happen a person needs to make what they want to manifest, their “highest value”. That means they need to put it ahead of all other things, making it their focus. With determination, will and focus, then and only then, will you be able to manifest what you want.
Now that sounds pretty easy, but I will be frank, it is easier said than done! If you are anything like us, you will have very busy, complicated lives and are over-run with distractions. Work, family, social life, worries etc. Your highest value, quite likely is one of these other things and as a result you would be having troubles pin pointing your focus on what you really desire.
Kaitlin’s enterprise plan that she shared in her home video is a very good one, but one that requires time management, focus and diligence. Once the article about her enterprise was posted on “Enterprise for Kids,” Kaitlin received two customers requesting her to do portrait drawings of their families. Kaitlin was delighted that people had actually appreciated her talents and were willing to pay for her service. This was a real opportunity for Kaitlin to follow a passion of hers and she was motivated to get started.
Kaitlin Sliding into Action.
She had bought half a dozen quality timber and glass frames from a garage sale, which would beautifully show the portraits… if her customers wanted them framed that is! She also had the $100 loan from me to buy the art materials required for her to run her enterprise.
So what has happened so far?……….
Distractions, distractions and more distractions!
Kaitlin, being a popular teenager has many demands put upon her and she certainly doesn’t have her focus set on attending to portrait drawings…..yet! It has not become her highest value to develop an enterprise, despite the fact that she really does want to have her own enterprise doing something that she has passion for.
Kaitlin on the Bali Green Supercamp
The list of distractions could amost fill a blog on their own! Kaitlin has been on the Country Week Camp, had sleepovers, caught up with friends, and is currently on the Bali Supercamp. She has had work commitments, baby sitting, sporting commitments, school, boyfriends, homework, modelling classes and family commitments that have all stolen her focus away.
To do portrait drawings, it requires a lot of concentration, patience and most importantly, a “distraction free” amount of time where she can get her head around it. Kaitlin understands that she needs to establish a time management plan where she can devote her focus to what she wants to achieve. Admittedly, Kaitlin doesn’t need to complete the drawings straight away. She has a few months…….but you could see how easily those “few months” could whittle away to nothing without a plan of attack, then taking action to bring that plan to fruition.
That being said, we all must do the same with our dreams and desires in life. Without making what we want, our highest value, with a written plan and then finally focusing all our energy upon it, then it is unlikely that those dreams will come about very easily.
We will keep you in the loop with Kaitlin in coming Enterprise for Kids blog articles. For my next post or two we will have a break from following our kids’ journeys and discuss understandings about developing a mindset for success. We’ll be looking at how we (and 98% of people) are conditioned to think in a certain way about money and how this conditioning may prevent us and our children from achieving success (and we are not just talking about the financial kind either :)………… Until then……………….