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by Oliver DeMille

The Key

The Seven Keys of Great Teaching To begin, please make sure you’ve read Part I  and Part II of this Special TJEd Report. If not, Part III won’t make much sense.

Second, if what you got out of Parts I and II is that your kids should be seeking credentials, then I need to be more clear. That isn’t at all what I’ve suggested. Not even close. My point is that they’ll need a great education—not (necessarily) credentials. They’ll need a true, excellent, world-class, top-rate education—to compete in the new global economy. That’s learning, knowledge, wisdom, and skills. Education, not credentials.

The rising global competition is that tough. Only the real deal—a superb education—will do. Credentials are fine, too, they just aren’t enough without a truly excellent education.

Third, if you’ve read Part I and Part II of this report on the growing importance of higher education, and the powerful changes that are drastically rewriting the rules of successful higher education and careers, you might be a person who finds yourself facing a bit of inner skepticism.

“After all,” you may hear yourself saying, “the old college-major/career-and-perks system worked pretty well since the GI Bill sent flocks of young people to college after World War II. It’ll probably keep working even as the middle class growth economy shifts largely to Asia. It may not seem that way on paper or in the trends, but such traditions die hard. I’ll have to see the change to believe it.”

Sadly, by the time everyone pays attention to the shift, many in the next generation will be living mostly on debt. In fact, they already are. So are the majority of their parents, truth be told. But many people would rather just avoid these pesky details and facts and instead hope that things work out like they have for the past five decades.

I did my best to outline the most relevant new economic realities of college and career in Parts I and II of this report. If this made sense to you, please focus on the three types of great higher education outlined at the very end of Part I—for you and your youth. This is the key!

The Lock

If you’re still not convinced, I invite you to read a bit deeper. In fact, I’m including a list of recommended articles and books below. They don’t all arrive at the identical conclusions, some of them disagree with each other and with me on some of the details, and they suggest a number of differing and even competing solutions to our higher education dilemma. But together they form an overview of what some of today’s top thinkers are saying about the current education system, career environment, and new economy.

Clearly, the stakes are high. The financial difference between guiding your family into the “affluent” economy of the 2020s-2030s versus educating them for the “paycheck-to-paycheck” economy is on pace to be over a million dollars of lifetime earnings for each child’s adult household. This is an important topic. And the time and effort you invest in reading these books and articles will be an important choice with massive multi-generational financial returns if you make better, more informed decisions for your family.

Higher education is more important than ever before—not just for the financial and career reasons covered in this Three-Part Report, but for the moral, future of freedom, and family reasons I wrote about extensively in What’s So Great About the Classics?: TJEd for Dads. As for the financial/career focus in specific, higher education is changing in some fundamental ways that deeply matter. Parents should know about these shifts now, not feel blindsided by them in the years just ahead.

Option 1: Again, if you got enough from Parts I and II of this report to see the need for change, forget the list below and focus on 19 Apps: Leadership Education for College Students, or on helping your college-age youth (and/or yourself) find truly top-quality higher education internships and mentors.

Option 2: But if you’re still pretty sure that the old 1946-2006 system is going to work in the next three decades, it’s worth your time to read the following and really consider. Whatever you think when you’ve completed these readings, at least you’ll have done your due diligence on such an important topic.

By the way, even if you’re not going to read these articles and books, take a minute and read through the titles. They matter.

Opening the Door

Reading List:



The End of College:
Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere

(Kevin Carey)


College Disrupted:
The Great Unbundling of Higher Education

(Ryan Craig)


How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs

(Lauren A. Rivera)


Freedom Matters:
The Connection Between Career, Business, and Freedom

(Oliver DeMille)


“We Don’t Need More STEM Majors.
We Need More STEM Majors With Liberal Arts Training”
(Washington Post, February 18)


“Entrepreneurs Raising the Next Generation
of Chief Executives”
(The New York Times, May 27)



American Higher Education in Crisis?:
What Everyone Needs to Know

(Goldie Blumenstyk)


Excellent Sheep:
The Miseducation of the American Elite
and the Way to a Meaningful Life

(William Deresiewicz)

[Note: I loved this author’s description of the major current challenges in American higher education, and then disagreed with many of his recommendations. See what you think!]


The New School:
How the Information Age Will Save American Education From Itself

(Glenn Reynolds)


“The Thing Employers Look for When Hiring Recent Graduates”
(The Atlantic, August 2014)


“Becoming a Real Person”
(The New York Times, David Brooks, September 8)


“Young, European and Broke”
(The Wall Street Journal, August 9-10)



Turn the Page: How to Read Like a Top Leader
(Introduction by Chris Brady)

Is College Worth It?
(William J. Bennett)

[Note: Pay close attention to the final parts of this book, where Bennett outlines the different ways that higher education helps young people from different socio-economic backgrounds—and with different goals.

This individualized approach is excellent. Bennett shows that decisions about college and higher education should be personalized, not one-size-fits-all. And the way he does this is very interesting and thought provoking.]

College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be
(Andrew Delbanco)


College Unbound:
The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students
(Jeffrey J. Selingo)


The Higher Education Bubble
(Glenn Reynolds)



“The Rise and Rise of the Cognitive Elite:
Brains Bring Ever Larger Rewards”
(The Economist, January 22nd)

[I love the title of this article: “The Rise and Rise…” Fun. And so true.]

These articles and books are just a few of the top writings on this topic, and you’ll likely come across others as you read. This is an incredibly important subject with direct and lasting ramifications for everyone in your family. Higher education is more important than ever. Emphasis on the words “higher” and “education,” not “hire,” or “credentials.”

Final word: Have fun with this!

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Compass-TJEd-meme Ever wondered why some families seem to do so well with homeschool? Why some kids just seem to take to stuff naturally, while yours are freaking you out?? Here are some questions to consider, to help set the environment and remove any needless obstacles:


Have you ruled out vision impairment or muscle imbalance that affects focus? Schedule an eye exam. Is hearing an issue? Find out. It’s worth it!


Have you ruled out nutritional issues, like sensitivities that create problems with mood, behavior, attention, emotional equilibrium, sleep, etc.? Common triggers are sugars, additives, grains, dairy, processed foods, etc.

Obviously, all of us do better when we make healthy choices; but some kids (and adults) literally cannot function normally with these things, and more “extreme” care must be taken to remove allergens and triggers from their diet and environment.

If this is an issue in your home, it’s life-changing to make the special effort for these accommodations!

3) REDUCE DISTRACTIONS Fairytale-Simplicity copy

Have you removed distracting/addictive elements from your home and schedule? Common issues include too much: TV, video games, friend time, scheduled classes/clubs/lessons/sports, etc. For some kids, some families, some years – ANY amount of these can be too much.

Consider a 6-Month “No” to clear your time and take back your family learning life! (For help in owning your life and time, see Phases of Learning, Ingredient #7 and “Start the New Year Right“)


Is your home environment somehow disruptive to the learning and family relationships you idealize? Common issues include: too many toys, too much clutter, too many dishes/clothes/belongings that take too much time to care for or don’t have a good place where they are stored.

Consider a 6-Month Purge to take back your space, time and peace of mind! (For help on how to carry out a Purge, see Phases of Learning Ingredient #6 and “Start the New Year Right“)


Are you trying to copy “school at home?” It’s really easy to rely on the habits and experiences that are familiar to us, especially when we’re under stress or trying out new things. And yet, family learning is ideally a place for a different form to flourish. Invest in your own learning to lead out, by reading a classic book alone and/or with the family.

Do your homework by daily seeking inspiration in TJEd books and audios to help you stay focused and gain new insight on how it can look, feel and be in your home. (For pointers on how to take the lead in your Leadership Education home, see “Kindling, Carrot Sticks and Kidschool” and “TJEd and Riding a Bike“)


Are you comparing your worst day with your concept of someone else’s best day? Are you trying to implement a vision that’s not compatible with your reality (new baby; caring for an elder; lots of little kids no big kids; health issues)?

Take stock of what matters most to you (Really matters. Not the things that nag you, or make you feel crumby, but the things that you actually are willing to go into the fire for!), and fashion a new ideal that you can actually succeed in. (For a nourishing and nurturing look at how to homeschool in a crisis, see “Chaos and Measuring Sticks; or, Gorillas and Cats. Whatever.”)


Have you and your family successfully reconnected and detoxed? As with Step 6, whether it’s a renovation in your school format, a new move, a new baby, an illness, a loss or a big change in any area of your life, reconnecting the family in Core Phase helps to synchronize your energy, re-define your ideals and help each individual thrive in their areas of needed focus.

This is sort of a healing time that brings back a more natural harmony in the home, and restores the child’s (and parents’!) natural love for life and learning. (For details and examples on how to detox and reset, see “6-Point Plan: Advice for Newbies”)

5-habits-cover 8) NEW HABITS

If you found these helpful, rest assured – these are just the beginning! Effective and happy homeschooling is absolutely within your reach. With all of the other stuff out of the way, you’re ready to cultivate new habits – 5 Habits, to be exact! These “secret” habits aren’t really secret – and as you cultivate them, your family and homeschool will thrive, your stress will diminish, and you’ll feel clarity and joy in your family education journey.

Download our e-book, The 5 Habits of Highly Successful Homeschoolers – normally $5.99, and available to our readers for just 99¢ when you check out with coupon code 5Habits-FIX at our Leadership Education Store. http://store.tjed.org/


If you liked this post, sign up for our free newsletter and get additional bonus gifts delivered to your inbox!


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by Oliver DeMille

(To read TJEd & College Part I, click here)

Needing Greatness

Der Untergang der Titanic Higher education is incredibly important for today’s rising generations. As the middle class dwindles and the divide between the affluent and others widens, many of the old education/career options are becoming less viable. Today’s parents and young people simply must understand what is changing and how it affects them, or they will likely fall behind.

To understand what is happening, we need to step back and look at today’s education/career economy for what it actually is, not what it was twenty or thirty, or even ten years ago. Consider the following:

  1. For most people in our current world higher education has become “hire” education. The idea of colleges as the place of truly great leadership education for our future community, national, business and cultural leaders has been almost entirely replaced with another view: college as career training, period. There are, of course, pros and cons to this change.
  2. College majors that train for careers certainly have an important place in a successful society, but now even “hire” education is experiencing widespread and increasing mediocrity. When over half of recent college grads find themselves jobless and need to move back in with their parents, the economic reality has clearly been altered.
  3. Some have argued that we should stop promoting higher education to most youth and instead emphasize tech training or simplified community college requirements with direct career prep rather than broad education. But this path will only hurt our nation. We don’t need such anti-college views to spread. Quite the contrary. We very much need “great” college views to spread. We need a lot more anti-mediocrity (and truly “great” higher education) views to go far and wide.
  4. This is more than just philosophy. It has a direct economic impact on young people and their careers.

Let’s spend some time understanding how this all shakes out. First, a seismic shift is occurring in the economy, though not everyone realizes it yet. Specifically, in 2009 the United States had 18% of the world’s middle class, but it is on pace to have only 7% by 2030. (“Globalization Bites Back,” The Atlantic, May 2015) This is causing some big changes. It also has important ramifications for what kind of education we should be providing for our youth right now.

How does this apply to your family? Let’s start from the beginning.

Setting Out

The American standard of living that became the norm after World War II is now disappearing. It increased between 1946 and 1996, but in the last two decades it has declined. Today the pace of this decline is accelerating.

To wit: where an average American middle class family in the early 1980s could make do with one bread winner, pay off their home well before retirement, and retire with a significant savings and company-funded retirement plan, today these things have changed for most people. Such a family now has both parents in the full time workforce to cover the monthly bills, fewer children, higher expenses, little to no savings, vehicles financed by debt, and over $15,000 of unsecured consumer debt—not to mention a mortgage that would have made their parents shudder.

This isn’t even the same lifestyle as earlier generations. And it’s getting increasingly difficult every year.

All indications are that this trend will continue. But that’s only half of the issue. A second factor is just as significant: By 2030 China and its neighbors will have 66% of the world’s middle class (up from approximately 28% in 2009). (Ibid.) Europe’s share of the middle class will be down from 36% to 14%, and Latin America down from 10% to 6%. (Ibid.)

Many people don’t understand the ramifications of this shift, but they are huge. What does this all mean for regular people and their families? What does it mean for the future of colleges, universities, and higher education?

The answer is very important:

First, as noted, the current educational systems of the United States and Canada are based on an increasingly outdated model of “hire” education, one that prepares the majority of young people for middle class jobs with targeted college majors and career training in traditional sectors of the economy. This worked well in a steady high-growth economy where middle class jobs were expanding.

For example, in 1945 the United States had 6% of the world’s population but produced over half of the world’s goods and services. In such an economy, the demand for workers trained by universities in career specialties was high—and pay and benefits consistently went up over time.

But since at least 2006 the demand for middle class workers receiving middle class salaries is declining in North America, and the overall economy is weak or receding. All indications are that this will continue for at least the next two—possibly three—decades. Today the middle class standard of living is shrinking, and the middle class economy is funneling its members either into the “affluent economy” or the “at risk economy.” Most middle class families will move to one or the other—affluent, or at risk—during this generational shift between 2006 and 2036.

Yet few families realize that this is occurring. Nor do they understand what it takes to choose the affluent economy, or how to do it. They are acting as if the economy hasn’t shifted—a sure way to end up in the “at risk” economy.

The Iceberg

At the same time, national debt in the U.S. is high, so the government increases both tax rates and regulations on corporations. As a result, many businesses naturally move even more operations elsewhere—further spurring a growth economy in China and India while simultaneously increasing middle-class economic stagnation in the U.S. and Canada.

North American students preparing for nationalized tests, good grades, and graduating with “good” degrees will increasingly find that there are fewer prosperous jobs for them. The demographics are what they are. For many college graduates, unless they go on to additional professional education, their options will be much more limited than those of graduates during the last 60 years. The competition for fewer jobs will be much higher, and a lot more graduates will be left in the “at risk” economy.

Since 2010 a significant number of new four-year college graduates have been unable to find the kind of work historically available to those with university degrees. Many of those who do get jobs receive lesser pay and decreased (or nonexistent) benefit packages. They also have much higher student and credit card debt than earlier generations. And this is getting worse.

Europe is a decade ahead of us on this same downward trend, and the outlook for middle class jobs (anything demanding college degrees or paying the equivalent) is bleak. (See “Young, European and Broke,” The Wall Street Journal, August 9-10, 2014) In some nations—including Italy and Greece, for example—such jobs are almost nonexistent.

This is not what most parents want to hear. But the reality is the reality. The key is to respond wisely, not to act as if nothing has changed.

Second, as many of today’s parents persist in counseling their youth to pursue college training with the goal of career advancement, they should also tell them to either go on to quality professional studies, become skilled entrepreneurs, or to study Chinese as well.

Why? The trends are clear: there will plentiful well-paying jobs for the middle class in the years ahead—in the growth economies of Asia. But not so much in Europe, North America, or Latin America.

The Asian economy is now much like the U.S. economy of the 1950s-1990s: high growth, lots of middle-class jobs, increasing pay and benefits, and universities focused on job training to support the growth economy. In contrast, the U.S. economy is increasingly like the Riviera Economy (Spain, France, Italy, Greece) of the past twenty years: with a declining growth rate, and fewer high paying middle-class jobs.

This is leading to higher debt, fewer jobs that offer middle class wages, and less security or longevity in such jobs. To deal with this, we desperately need our colleges to upgrade. Instead, many colleges today are simply arguing that with increased demand, a college degree is even more necessary.

This is technically accurate, but a bit disingenuous. With the global middle class shifting rapidly to Asia, the percentage of North Americans who will get prosperous jobs in the low-growth or negative-growth U.S. economy is decreasing.

That does make a few top jobs a higher prize, and it makes professional studies beyond college, or entrepreneurial success, necessary for many of those who really want to compete in the globalized market. But what about the masses, the majority of those who now belong to the middle class?

Below The Surface

Parents and students need to own their responsibility to seek excellent higher education that truly empowers them to thrive in the actual economy (not what worked back when the American economy was in a sixty-year upswing where the demand for middle class workers kept growing [1946-2006]).

Third, the healthcare field is (partially) an exception to this sobering news.

On the one hand, in the U.S. jobs will remain abundant in the healthcare sector. The downside is that financial compensation will be relatively much lower than during the 1970s to early 2000s. The remuneration model of pre-Obamacare medical careers is largely gone, and compensation in many parts of the new healthcare system will significantly decrease.

3 economies 2 Fourth, entrepreneurship will be a major high-growth sector.

Few in the education industry are ready to hear this yet, partly because many education employees have carefully avoided the rough-and-tumble world of entrepreneurial competition. But like the Riviera Economy experienced during the past two decades, in the United States those who excel in entrepreneurial and business ownership will lead the middle class (and much of the upper class) from 2006 to around 2036. Most everyone else will fall behind.

In the new economic reality, nearly every sector is a growth sector—for entrepreneurs (but not for employees). There is opportunity for enterprising leadership in innovative business, education, health care, technology, service, law, accounting, manufacturing, marketing, entertainment, and many other fields. But in all of these, there will be fewer of the historical well-paying “jobs and perks,” and these will go to a few top competitors. Almost everyone else will entrepreneur or find themselves in the “at risk” economy. And—to be clear—truly successful entrepreneurs will do even better than top employees.

Which brings us to “Titanic Education.” Put simply: with a non-growth or negative-growth middle class economy, why do U.S. and Canadian parents keep educating for a high-growth economy that doesn’t exist any more? And why do many colleges and majors do the same?

Answer: most people don’t understand the difference, and they don’t realize the reality of a shrinking portion of the world’s middle class in North America. They see the economy struggling, but they don’t do the math.

Educating the current generation of youth and children for a shrinking market share based on middle-class careers in North America is like training farriers (who shoe horses) and coopers (who hand-make barrels) in the 1930s. Yes, there will be jobs in these fields during the 1950s thru the 2010s—but not as many as before, and they won’t pay nearly as well. As for benefits and perks, forget it.

New realities bring new forms. We need to educate today’s young people to succeed and flourish in the “affluent” economy of the 2020s and 2030s, not in what once worked during the middle class growth economies of the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton and Bush years.

Moreover, we should educate them for success in growth sectors, not sectors in decline. Yet most high school level teaching and university career training is still channeling students into declining sectors and roles.


Seriously. Look at a typical university catalog, find the list of majors, and study it. As you think about each major on the list, ask yourself if those who work in the corresponding field are typically affluent in the newly emerging economy.

Then go deeper. Most of the sectors listed will have fewer resources to go around for at least the next twenty years, meaning either fewer jobs or lower paying jobs. Or both. To get the affluent careers in these sectors, young people will either need to distinguish themselves in professional education well beyond four years of college, or in entrepreneurial successes in the same fields.

The reality in all this is simple, and it’s worth repeating several times: A lower percentage of people will enjoy middle class wages in a slow- or no-growth economy. That’s the reality. With this increased global competition, quality higher education is more important than ever. And its importance is increasing.

There are at least three (3) excellent ways to get a superb higher education, as outlined in PART I of this report.

But global trends and increased economic competition have raised the bar. Those who rely on a level of college learning that passed for acceptable during the last sixty years, without reaching higher and achieving the new standard of quality higher education, or who stick with the old middle-class career/”hire” education system in declining-sector majors, will resemble the famous quip: “Arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.” It may keep them busy, but it’s not going to work out well in the long term.

Americans who remain attached to the increasingly outdated 20th Century model will see their communities and families fall further and further behind economically. They’ll blame the system. They’ll blame Washington or Ottawa. They’ll wonder why someone doesn’t help them. They’ll blame their alma mater. But the decline will keep happening until their family embraces an education/career model that actually works in a flatter, non-high growth economy.

As these changes occur, too many Boomer and Gen X parents, grandparents, and advisors are “fiddling on the Titanic.” Despite the mixed metaphor, the truth is important: Many adults today are funneling their youth into a situation where they’ll eventually have to scramble for a place on the economic lifeboat. Meanwhile, the system itself is sinking.

The Raft

Sticking with “Titanic Education” isn’t a very good idea. Higher education matters now more than ever! Get a great one. Find truly high quality four-year and graduate programs, or great internships/apprenticeships, or working directly with great higher education mentors. Don’t settle for anything less. And focus on majors, internships, or mentors in high-growth sectors. Higher education makes all the difference.

And, again, higher education is very different than “hire” education. The first is part of the affluent economy, and the second is increasingly part of the paycheck-to-paycheck economy. Yes, a “hire” education will help many graduates get a larger paycheck than most of those with only a high school-level education, but it still isn’t going to be enough to make an effective path to the “affluent” economy for most people. It worked during the high-growth economy of the 1950s to the early 2000s, but the reality has shifted.

This is a major change to the middle class environment, and families/students who don’t realize it are in for a very unpleasant economic surprise in the 2016-2036 economy. Recommendation: Stop believing that the “Titanic” model will work. Right away.

But even more is needed. Get a higher education that will actually work in the new economy.

How? Let’s reiterate the three major paths to career/economic success in the increasingly global competitive 2016-2036 market:

1) Study hard in college, then go beyond four-year college and get a quality professional education as well. Then—and this is the key—add Affluent Economy skills using a post-school advanced internship (such as clerkships for law school grads or interning after medical school). Learn the vital entrepreneurial skills as part of this real-world internship.

2) Study hard in college and simultaneously apply the kinds of Affluent Economy supplemental study and skills acquisition covered in the ebook 19 Apps. Doing the 19 recommendations in this little book will very effectively upgrade your college training to top Affluent Economy preparation. Note that a great way to do this is to attend a college with an excellent entrepreneurial training emphasis—and immerse yourself in it.

3a) Work directly with a mentor or in an internship-based program that offers the same (or higher) level of education as a traditional university and also delivers the Affluent Economy skills, knowledge, and lessons.

3b) Or do an entrepreneurial apprenticeship with a proven entrepreneurial leader and simultaneously get an Affluent Economy education using the 19 Apps or equivalent. With the right mentor(s) or program, 3A or 3B can be incredibly effective.

Whatever you do, get off the Titanic, and get on a path that will thrive in the new economy.

(Click here for the final installment, Part III: Two Ways to Go Deeper, of the TJEd & College Report!)

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by Oliver DeMille

The Divide

A college-level education is increasingly important in the new economy. Higher education has long created a significant divide between the “haves” and “have nots,” and by all indications this trend will intensify for the next three decades.

The gap between the affluent (we’ll call this the A Economy) and the middle class (the M Economy) is growing, and higher education is one of the clearest differences between these groups.

The ranks of the lower classes (the R Economy—with R standing for “Risk”) are swelling, as more in the middle class find themselves caught in high debt and paycheck-to-paycheck living. Again, higher education marks the divide between those in the A Economy and almost everyone else.

Moreover, as North Americans compete for well-paying jobs and economic success in an increasingly global marketplace, the old system of “college degree = secure job with good benefits” no longer holds. Fewer graduates are able to maintain their parents’ lifestyle, and the middle class is dwindling.

As a result, those in the Middle Economy are left with a choice: rise to the Affluent Economy or join the Risk Economy. With career opportunities increasingly elusive for young people in this environment (in both North America and Europe), higher education has become even more important.

Where the Growth Is

This shift has also altered a few significant details of what makes a quality education—and what doesn’t.

For example:

  • In many career fields, a four-year degree isn’t enough any more to distinguish a person from other job applicants. A graduate degree, or equivalent real-life success in business, the arts, or whatever field you want to work in, is needed.
  • The largest growth sector now—and for at least two decades ahead—is entrepreneurship and small-to-medium size business ownership. Indeed, such businesses account for 80% of economic growth in free nations. Success in this field is highly demanding, and few schools adequately prepare students for it.

Most universities need to catch up with the realities of the new economy and offer truly effective entrepreneurial programs. Until they do, students who want to avoid the Risk Economy need to supplement their college studies with additional education. [I wrote an entire book on how to accomplish this: See 19 Apps: Leadership Education for College Students]

Read 19 Apps before or during college. Refer to it often, in addition to your traditional studies. Or, of you are already past college, read it now and add the supplemental skills and knowledge. This will greatly improve your effectiveness in the A Economy.

  • Being well trained or well credentialed for a job is no longer enough. Those who flourish in the new A Economy need to be highly educated as well, in the broad and deep sense of getting a truly great education—not just shallow “general ed” classes and a basic career major.

Specifically: success in this economy now depends on a number of vital skills that haven’t been emphasized in most colleges for over five decades, including initiative, innovation, ingenuity, out-of-the-box creativity, agility in the workplace, and the ability to turn book or media learning into real-world application—quickly and effectively.


Other skills that have typically been part of college are still necessary as well, such as tenacity, teamwork, hard study, seminal knowledge in your career field, the ability to learn new things quickly, and “stick-to-it-iveness.”

  • Thinking outside the box, and applying this in effective ways that make a difference in your daily work, are essential to success in the A Economy. Yet these skills are missing in many college programs. Sadly, the nationalized test emphasis of mainstream education often dis-incentivizes them. Interestingly, however, these skills are quite prevalent in many graduate and professional schools, from Law and Medical schools to equivalent programs in other fields, including some on-the-job leadership paths and various internship opportunities.

In this environment, what options do young people (and their parents) have? Few desire to enter the Risk Economy, and the Middle Economy is quickly shrinking. But how can you thrive in the Affluent Economy? The answers are quite enlightening.

Here are some of the options:

  • Youth already in the Risk Economy can boost their prospects by traditional college. In the new economy, college is the new high school. Not punching this ticket can be a real problem for people stuck in the R Economy. (In addition, also ponder the advice below.)
  • Those in the Middle Economy have a choice to make: join the Affluent Economy, or fall into the Risk Economy.

This is a big deal.

And your choices will directly determine where you land.

Note that many graduates find themselves with a college degree but without Economy A skills and knowledge, and most of them increasingly find themselves in debt and struggling to make ends meet (as an unwitting part of the R Economy).

How to Get There

The education is the thing, not the training, because quality Economy A education includes both the knowledge and skills that are essential for success in the new economy. With such education and skills, training (and re-training, for whatever and whenever it is needed) is easy.

Now, let’s get specific. There are at least three ways to get an excellent Economy A education:

  1. Study hard in college, then go beyond four-year college and get a quality professional education as well. Then—and this is the key—add Economy A skills in a post-school internship (such as clerkships for law school grads or interning after medical school).
  2. Attend college, study hard and do well, and simultaneously apply the kinds of Economy A supplemental study and skills acquisition covered in the book 19 Apps. Doing the 19 recommendations in this little book will very effectively upgrade your college training to top Economy A preparation.
  3. Work directly with a mentor or in an internship-based program that offers the same (or higher) level of education as a traditional university and also delivers the Economy A skills, knowledge, and lessons. Or do an entrepreneurial apprenticeship with a proven entrepreneurial leader and simultaneously get an Economy A education using the 19 Apps or equivalent. With the right mentor(s) or program, this can be incredibly effective. It’s worth mentioning that this is the type of education that universities used to offer before they adopted a mass factory model.

Level by Level

In our modern world, all three of these paths are viable options for real success in the A Economy. What won’t bring success is ignoring the importance of college-level and graduate-level learning. In the new economy, get as much education as you can, not just job or career training, but first-rate higher education in one of the three ways listed above—or something equivalent in Economy A quality.

Learn the Economy A skills and knowledge, or you simply won’t thrive in the A Economy.

This is real.

And it is vitally important for every family.

In TJEd we affirm that college-level and graduate-level education are simply essential for most young people today, and they are becoming more crucial every year. But it’s important not to just assume that enrollment in a good school is enough—to really get the skills and learning necessary to effectively compete and flourish in the global economy, and the A Economy, you’ve got to get a truly superb higher education.

Start with an excellent Core, Love of Learning, and Scholar Phase, and then take it to the next level with the highest quality higher education.

There is more than one way to do this, as outlined above, but it is essential for most members of the rising generations.


(To download the ebook 19 Apps: Leadership Education for College Students)

Click Here for Part II of this TJED & College report “Titanic Education”….

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by Oliver DeMille

The Beginning

library This was the turning point. Always before, I picked a book here or there, I dabbled, I started a book and then let it sit for months. But that day changed everything.

It was summer. It was hot outside. In fact, it was hot enough that even my Dad took a break from our farm work in the midafternoons. And that’s saying something! He woke us up early and kept us working late. We hauled hay, fixed fences, cleaned ditches, picked fruit, and did a bunch of other things to keep the farm running, day in and day out. In summer hours, it didn’t get dark until nearly 10 p.m., and we’d come home from the barns and fields sweaty and exhausted.

Knowing we’d be up before the sun, we usually went straight to bed. Both of my brothers and I knew that if we wanted to do something fun, we needed to do it during the heat of the afternoon.

On that day, I showered after morning work and rode my bicycle to the city library. I’d done this many times before, returning my latest reading conquest and looking for a new one. Like other times, I perused a lot of titles—not quite excited about any of them.

That’s when it happened.

Mrs. Mayer, the librarian, noticed me—like many times before—but this time she stood up from behind her desk and walked over to where I was looking through the youth section.

beware the anti-readers DeMille-Great Minds read, read, read “I notice you spend a lot of time trying to find the right book,” she said.

I nodded.

“I’ve also been watching the titles you check out. It’s quite a broad selection.” She paused, and I said nothing. “Do you read them all?” she asked.

“Uh…no. I start reading them all. But I don’t like some of them, so I just bring those back and look for something better.”

She nodded. “That’s what I thought. Well, I’ve been watching the ones you keep for the full two weeks, versus those you return in just a day or two, and I have an idea for you.”

She walked back to her desk and beckoned me to follow. She picked up a book from her desk and handed it to me. A piece of torn notepaper was inserted inside the front cover, and it stuck out at the top just enough to read the name written on it in flowing cursive letters. The name was mine.

“If You Let It”

Obviously she had thought of me before I arrived that day and selected this book for me—then written my name and kept it on her desk. Okay, that was impressive.

“I think you’ll like it,” she said. “It has a lot of action. It’s fun to read. And it also teaches important life lessons. Some people might tell you that it’s just a brainless novel, but this author always fills his books with big ideas. It will make you think deeply. And if you let it, it will teach you what it means to be a good man.”

I looked at the cover of the book. The title was The Daybreakers, and the author was Louis L’Amour. I had no idea what a “daybreaker” was, and I had never heard of Lewis Lamoor, as I pronounced it that first day, but the afternoon was passing and I only had a few hours left to read before our farm work resumed—so I grinned, thanked her, and checked out the book.

It was life-changing.

When I took it back to the library just a few days later, she looked up from her desk, and her face turned disappointed.

“You didn’t like it?” she asked.

“I loved it,” I told her. “I couldn’t stop reading. I finished it already.”

DeMille-Great Readingy She brightened, then stood and said, “Follow me.”

She led me to a long shelf of books and said, “These are all by the same author, Louis L’Amour. I’ve read them all, and each one has its own lessons and ideas. This shelf will keep you busy all summer.”

I stared at the long shelf in awe. Mrs. Mayer smiled, and she quietly went back to her desk.

I couldn’t decide which book to choose, so I picked three.


It was a great summer. I didn’t just read, I became a reader. A dedicated reader. An avid seeker of knowledge and wisdom. And the lessons and great ideas just kept coming. In fact, as L’Amour and his characters talked about other books, great classics like Plutarch’s Lives, Walden by Thoreau, Juvenal’s Satires, the writings of John Locke, and many others. When I read of these books in L’Amour, I found myself yearning to go read those that his characters mentioned and read as well.

L’Amour also included deep philosophical principles like the proper role of government and good citizenship, along with an on-going debate about what makes a good man and a good woman; I found myself entirely enthralled.

What makes a nation strong? Or weak? L’Amour taught it. What makes a society free? Or not? He taught this, too. What makes a good marriage? Or a good leader? His words addressed many topics. But in a way that kept a young boy turning the pages, pondering, thinking. I kept reading…

Of course, at the time my focus was on the excellent stories, the fascinating characters, and the lands they lived in. Their choices, their challenges, their romances, their work and life-missions. I was moved, touched, and inspired. I was taught. I learned. With each chapter, I yearned to read more. I quickly realized that I wanted a truly great education, just like his leading characters.

Like I said, that day changed everything. In the years since, I’ve read and re-read the L’Amour titles, learning so much from Bendigo Shafter, Johannes Verne, Lance Kilkenny, Barnabas and Jubal, and so many other characters.

I had enjoyed reading before, but on that day, without realizing what was about to happen, I rode my bicycle home, found a shady spot on the back porch, and opened the cover. I didn’t know I was going to become an avid reader and lover of the great minds, great ideas, and great classics that afternoon. I had no idea.

I wiped the sweat from my brow and sipped a large cup of water as I read. Even in the shade it was hot….


ACTION ITEM: Whether it’s coming summer in your area, or heading toward winter, you going to want some quiet moments to read a great book. Whether the evenings are chilly and dark, or long and balmy – there’s no better way to spend them than discussing great ideas with people you care about! 

Come join us for Mentoring in the Classics and
fall in love with reading all over again… >>


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(and a Fun Invitation…)

by Oliver DeMille

Spring Fever Reader

canstockphoto-momandsonreading When springtime comes, it’s more difficult to keep the kids in their classrooms. They might be there physically, but their minds are increasingly outside in the sunshine, running amidst the flowers, listening to the sounds of birds, and feeling the warm breeze.

And actually – the adults aren’t immune to this pull, either!

In the little town where I grew up, nine months of the year were spent attending school, and three months were not. But the months of April and May were, somehow, clearly understood as a “halfway place”. Yes, we had to stay in school for a few more weeks, but we were encouraged to lean into summer—meaning that our focus on summer things could increasingly take a higher priority than school.

And what, exactly, was summer about? Not school, certainly. It was about: Playing. Working. Sports. Swimming. Vacation. Fun. All of this was part of it—certainly. But summer, at least in my family, was mainly about Reading.

Not the kind of reading that was assigned by teachers, but the kind you did on your own, for fun, for interest, for excitement.

Jumping In

beware the anti-readers DeMille-Great Minds read, read, read

Perhaps not all families approach summer that way…but why not? They could. Maybe even should! :)

Think about it. There’s nothing more effective for learning than reading a good book in the shade, getting lost for long, hot hours in stories and ideas that bring smiles and deep thoughts.

So, with summer ahead, isn’t it time to jump in and get some spring reading done?

For our family that’s exactly what it’s about. And, this year, we want to invite you to join our family in reading four really great books in the days, weeks, and months just ahead.

You can read others of course, but here are some awesome (and fun) spring and summer classics we’re going to tackle this year, in 2015:

APRIL: The Fourth Turning by Strauss & Howe

This is a powerful book about the world we live in, how it is changing in some very important ways, and what it’s likely to look like in the next ten years. Once you read it, you’ll never view the world the same. It’s an easy read, full of important ideas. And if you have any older children or youth in your family (ages 8-18, for example), it teaches about four personality types (based on generations) that will help you understand your kids better—and help them understand you! The discussions you’ll have with them will priceless. Plus, it’s a really fun book. Of all the books I’ve quoted over the years, I think this one is at the top of the list, right along with Pride and Prejudice.

MAY: Anne of Green Gables

This is one of the best books ever written on how to mentor girls. If you have a girl in your home (ages 1-18), this is a must! It’s deep, and it’s fun. It’s easy reading, and very enjoyable. The chapters are short—perfect for a quick read in the warm evenings, or read together with your kids for a few minutes during hot afternoons after lunchtime. If you’ve read this book before, you know that it’s so worth re-reading! And if you’ve never read it, now’s the time! It’s a great book. If you are a teacher of any kind, including children’s main teachers (parents), this is a truly excellent read for you.

JUNE: Bendigo Shafter by Louis L’Amour

This is one of the best books you’ll ever read about how to mentor young men (ages 1-18). It is a fun story, fast paced and full of action. The romance is very sweet and compelling, and it will engage the women and girls as well as boys and men. If you are a dad, this book is a great way to connect with your son(s). It teaches a man’s way of getting a great education, growing up, and raising a boy into a man—making it fun for dads. It will teach dads to really mentor their boys more effectively. In fact, it will do the same for moms by helping you get inside your boys’ heads and really understanding them. A powerful book! Don’t miss it! If you are a teacher of any kind, reading Anne and Bendigo will improve your ability to inspire young people.

JULY: Little Men

This is another great classic, and it builds on Anne of Green Gables and Bendigo Shafter to help parents and teachers mentor both boys and girls. What really works in helping our kids get a great education? And what are the powerful things we can do to create the right environment in our home—the kind of environment that naturally reduces family conflicts and encourages love, support, and positive relationships to flourish? This book is a must read! It’s truly enjoyable, fun, and great—for you as an individual, or read as a family together in the heat of summer!

DeMille-Great Readingy Why and Where

We are reading these specific four books together for a reason: they teach us how to be better parents and mentors, and that’s a great focus for summer!

So let me invite you now to make these books part of your great 2015 spring. They will bring a higher sense of life, excitement, and increased learning to your year. Those who read them will experience an improved, more effective learning year than those who don’t read such great classics—and we’ve seen year after year that it will translate to your whole home and family. Join us for this 4-book 2015 reading fiesta. It’s going to be a blast!

In my little hometown growing up, my three favorite places to spend summer were the town library (picking out books to read), the city park (reading on the grass in the shade during the hot afternoons), and our back porch (reading on the couch, into the evening and long after dark). We’re going to repeat such fun spring and summer reading this year with our family, using these four great books, and we invite you along on this exciting journey through these books!

Action Items:

  • Own your copy of the book! These are great additions to your family library, and worth returning to over and over.
  • Read with a pen in hand, and a question, concern or goal in mind. Write in the margins with little symbols (! / ??? / :) ) and underline, circle, star in line with the txt.
  • In the blank pages and spaces at the back of the book (and in the front as well, as needed) keep a running record of important ideas, listed by page number, such as “64: why relationships fail; 72: little girls’ greatest dreams; 99: watch the character rationalize a bad decision
  • Share what you’re reading by blogging, discussing or reading passages aloud that may be of interest to your family

iStock_news It’s no coincidence that these same 4 titles are the upcoming events for our Mentoring in the Classics series!

If you’d like to go in depth and enjoy mentoring and discussion with others who are reading these titles as well, come join us for Mentoring in the Classics >>


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What is TJEd?

Published on 14. Apr, 2015 by in Basic TJEd, Blog



What is TJEd?

by Oliver and Rachel DeMille

The Purpose of Learning Since TJEd places such high value on parents leading out and personalizing in their homes, the answer to this question can vary quite a bit; and there are some principles that are constant.

Here is the TJEd philosophy in a nutshell:

Every student has inner genius, and the best educational results are usually attained when a mentor continually assesses what the individual student needs and tries to help deliver it.

That’s it. The rest is just possible ways to do this.

Standing on their Shoulders

Think of the best teacher you ever had… What made him or her so great?

  • Did he truly care about you? Did she give you a vision of who you could become? Did he love the topic so much that it was inspiring?
  • Did she challenge you to be more?
  • What other things made your best teacher so good?

Leadership Education-Greatness and Goodness Whatever your answer, all of these are part of the Thomas Jefferson Education philosophy. It all boils down to a mentor taking stock of what each student really needs most, and then helping him get it.

This means different things for different students, so TJEd is always individualized. It also means different things for the same student at different times, because any student will need different things at age 7 than at age 16, for example.

The central points of TJEd can be summed up as follows. You might want to stop and think about each of these as you read:

  • Every student has areas of inner genius and/or potential greatness.
  • The purpose of education is to help the student find and develop such areas of inner genius, along with obtaining general knowledge and skills that will be helpful in the student’s life and help the student really flourish personally and improve society through dedicated service.
  • Students typically find their areas of genius by pursuing studies they are passionate about.
  • Great mentors can help students get passionate about new areas.
  • The focus of great mentors (parents, teachers, coaches, etc.) is learning, not educational systems or bureaucracy.
  • Part of great education is identifying one’s life purpose or potential life missions and preparing for them through the learning process. Even when a student’s plans change, as they often do, the enthusiasm generated by pursuing learning for a life purpose usually translates into further passion for later missions.
  • Mentors can help students expand their areas of passion outside their comfort zone, but the passion should be “pilot” and the other things should take a supportive role.
  • Great education nearly always flows naturally from great teaching and mentoring.
  • The simplest way for a mentor to start being a great mentor is to identify the greatest teachers, coaches and mentors from his or her own life experiences, clarify in his mind what made these teachers so great, and seek to emulate the best things about these great teachers—always with an eye toward the personalized needs of an individual student.
  • The role of education mentors and teachers is to inspire students, by example and by whatever is personally inspirational to each individual.
  • The responsibility of getting a great education is that of the student, not the mentors, parents or teachers. Mentors inspire, students study and learn.
  • Parents are the only true experts on their homes and children; teachers are the only true experts on their classroom.

great education is inspired education Perhaps the greatest support to this TJEd philosophy is the methodology, which is summarized by the 7 Keys of Great Teaching.

Again, the 7 Keys are not the philosophy, but they are a powerful methodology that mentors can use, modify, or not use, as needed to best help the individual student learn most effectively at a given time.

Want to learn more?

If TJEd is calling to you, I would not recommend “winging” it. Don’t just mimic a friend, or browse and guess. You’ll feel so much more confident and empowered when you do your homework. There are lots of freebies available on this site to help you get a “feel” for whether TJEd is a fit for you. Check out the links at the end of this post! :)

Once you’re past that point, and feel like it is a fit – the 7 Keys Certification is set up specifically to help you become a self-guided learner, design your ideal family education culture, become conversant in the language of the classics, and really *own* the principles of Leadership Education so you can be your own expert. Check it out!

think read 1 http://tjed.org/7-keys-certification/ (It’s on deep discount right now with Coupon Code SIMPLEBONUS13)

And please, do join the discussion about how to apply TJEd in your home and classroom. There are thousands of inspiring and supportive parents mentors on our Facebook group sharing daily in the dialog, with ideas on how to, which resources, when this-or-that, etc.

With Rachel DeMille as the moderator and dozens of ad-hoc mentors who go out of their way to be helpful, you’re sure to find answers to your questions!

Join now >>

Resources to Learn More:


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A Major Revolution in Teaching Math

(Are You Using It Yet? It’s So Much Easier and More Effective!)

by Oliver DeMille

Old and New

mommy math Have you heard about the new way of teaching math? It’s revolutionary, because it works so effectively. If you do this, teaching (and learning) math will be so much easier, so much more fun, than other ways to help your students study mathematics.

Actually, this new way is a very old way. It’s the classic way. The way effective parents and teachers used to do it. But we’ve mostly lost it in modern educational circles and curricula, so it’s new to us.

By way of introduction, there are 7 important levels of teaching math—and modern math instruction usually only teaches 1 of these levels. This puts our kids, and their teachers and parents, at a distinct disadvantage.

And to be clear, the other 6 levels don’t make it harder – they make it easier! Why teach only 1 level, when the other 6 are essential parts of math, make math more meaningful, relatable and fun?

Solvings and Solutions

The answer is that the national multiple-choice exams like the ACT and SAT only test one level—so, naturally, most teachers and schools ignore the other levels. They consider them unimportant.

But they aren’t. All 7 levels are vital to genuine math understanding. We need to teach them all. Otherwise, we get a few kids who can ace the tests but don’t really understand that depth of the mathematical principals, and, worse, we get around 80% of the kids who can’t even excel on the exams. They simply don’t click with the one level of math we teach.

But almost all of them would click with one of the other 6 levels, as teachers who use all 7 levels experience routinely. And when a student clicks with 1 level, the other levels become easier, more simple, and frankly, more interesting.

Each of the 7 levels is very important to any authentic and lasting understanding of the mathematical field.

[For help in internalizing, personalizing and applying these levels, try our free class that incorporates these 7 Steps >>]

Sir Cumference Dragon of Pi 1. Stories

Discover stories about math and the mathematicians (historical and also in current life) who use, study, and love it.

Want ideas? Here are a few:

2. Shapes, Patterns, Symbols, Numbers, etc.

huff-kid-parabola Fall in love with shapes, patterns, numbers, symbols, etc. Students who skip this step are always going to feel some sense of disconnect with math – like it’s a foreign language, and they don’t have a dictionary. This is true even of many students who learn to do well on the tests.

Many of the math games in our home were found in thrift stores and yard sales. Keep you eyes open – opportunities will come your way! Want ideas? Here are a few:

3. Math-Loving Mentor

math-clock Nothing can beat an in-person connection with a math-loving mentor! Find a math-loving math mentor who cares for you, who can pass on a love of math to you. And, when you read and study math, make sure you do it from someone who LOVES math, and shares it with creativity and delight.

For example, check out these authors, who are simply amazing in their ability to help math-phobics learn and love math:

4. Spreadsheets

spreadsheet_canstockphoto25236565 Use and understand spreadsheets, business plans, and other mathematically-based technologies in everyday life and tasks.

A sort of a cross between a Word document and a calculator, spreadsheets are valuable for everything from capturing lists and data (like Christmas card lists, to-do lists, book lists, classroom performance data, etc.) to calculating “what-if?” scenarios for budgeting, debt management, business planning, etc.

What can you use spreadsheets for?

  • Profit and Loss
  • Budgets
  • Inventories
  • Charts and Graph
  • Using as database
  • Invoicing
  • Working out loan interests

Want help with the basics?

5. Math Classics

Read math and mathematically-based classics (e.g. the great mathematicians such as Euclid, Newton, Einstein, etc.). This brings relevance to the topic. Students who do this simply never ask, “how am I ever going to use math in real life?” It’s already become part of their life experience. Sound counter-intuitive? Just wait until you read a math classic. The masters themselves tie math to myriad other subject areas and every-day life.

See our lists of math classics (Not exhaustive! Just some great ideas on where to start… :)

do-the-math_canstockphoto6130675 6. Do the Math

Study and master math problems, techniques, language, proofs, and testing skills from basic arithmetic through algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus. You can even study higher fields of math like Conic Sections or Dynamics.

7. Math Classics in Depth

Study the great mathematicians on a higher level than # 5, by really going deep in your math readings. Learn to truly think mathematically. This is a great source of fun and personal improvement for many math teachers. And parents can learn to love it as well. Of course, Level 7 really only works after you’ve spent time on the earlier levels.

Leona-Tai_Fun-with-fibonacci-parabola Once you are ready to try level 7, here are a few books to get you started:

Math Problems and Life Problems

math-study-hourglass-steps The truth is that some students can jump around from level to level, because they grasp one kind of logical process even without understanding the foundations upon which it is built. But without such foundations, they’ll often run into a wall in their learning.

And even some of the best “Level 6” math students will learn to emphasize facts over morals, details over people, and rote processes over creative thinking or genuine reasoning and application.

Also, the problem with this list of 7 levels differs for those who are naturally “good at math” versus other types of learners. All 7 of these levels are valuable and very important for anyone learning (or teaching) math. For children and youth (and adults) to whom math doesn’t come quite so naturally, levels 1-5 will make learning Level 6 much, much easier and more fun.

Yet, sadly for most students, few adults help them realize how much levels 1-5 can help them. And few teachers understand how much they’ll benefit by engaging Level 7 in addition to the other 6.

Thus most students in nearly all schools are directed to Level 6 and receive very little of the other levels. But this is a mistake. These other levels take nothing away from Level 6; in fact, they broaden the young person’s Level 6 abilities, skills, interest, engagement and effectiveness.

Likewise, if a child or youth tends toward high literary, artistic, or athletic successes, experiencing the natural creativity of Levels 1-5 can be very inspiring when he or she studies Level 6.

Skipping and Starting

Again, parents and math teachers will do well to closely review—even memorize—the 7 Levels outlined above. Write them down, post them on your mirror, and keep them in mind as you work with your youth during his or her teen years and beyond. Skipping the first 5 levels will reduce his educational experience and overall development.

For more resources and training on how to use this 7-Level approach to math excellence, we have developed a mini-course, offered free here >>

Do the Math (not just the math, you know?)

multiplechoice If you plan to teach math or science to others, including in your home or beyond, knowing the other levels besides Level 6 (Level 6 is arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, etc.) will also help you relate to and work with students who aren’t natural mathematical learners.

If you are a natural math learner yourself and also a teacher, this is incredibly helpful because it will help you speak more fluently with students who aren’t natural math lovers.

Of course, natural math learners don’t just learn math and science using mathematical-style thinking, they tend to learn everything this way. If you are parent or teacher helping such a student, the key is to make sure he or she gets enough exposure to Levels 1-5. This is so important.

And it will significantly upgrade the student’s math success. I can’t imagine why anyone would try to teach or help their kids learn math with only one level. That’s like trying to play Ping-Pong with the paddle in your mouth and both hands tied beyond your back. It can be done, but why on earth would you limit yourself that way?



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important Now, for the week of 3/31/15 – 4/7/15, get our award-winning MIC for just $10/month and our exciting new BBF subscription for just $8/month!

(promotional rate on BBF only available to subscribers of MIC >>)

March Madness pricing It must be spring fever!!

For the week of March 31 – April 7, 2015, we’re offering our premium subscriptions at a deep discount! Just $18 per month total for both our award-winning Mentoring in the Classics AND our exciting new Black Belt in Freedom! Jump in now for maximum savings.

WAIT! If the deep discount isn’t compelling enough to make you leap in, consider this: Even if you’re not planning to participate fully in the study plan right now, here’s why you should subscribe now ANYWAY:

  1. The audios are a convenient and easy way to keep your mind enriched and your heart inspired. Even without the readings, you’ll be amazed at what listening to these audios does for your sense of empowerment, confidence and vision, as well as the mood and rhythm in your home!
  2. Even if you just “bank” the content for later, it’s totally worth the cost of the subscription! This is *you* building a library of resources that you can return to again and again, and that will be a blessing to your family, long-term!

Is This You??

Have you passed on Mentoring in the Classics or Black Belt in Freedom because you don’t feel you can keep up? Let me talk you down off that ledge, please. Read on…

When you pay the little bitty bit to subscribe to MIC or BBF (or both), the content is yours to keep FOREVER. No expiration, no due date. Think of it like buying a set of books, one each month.

We’ve all seen offers like that for encyclopedias or classics or wildlife cards, recipes, Dr. Seuss or Disney or whatever. BBF and MIC are simply monthly acquisitions for you to put on your shelf.

The value never decreases, and you can use them on your own timeline. The price is so low right now, it’s worth it! Bank them. Listen to the audios for inspiration even if you’re not reading the texts right now, for whatever life-season reason you have. It’s okay! Just do it. Get what benefit from them makes sense for you right now, and bank them for later. I bet you won’t ever be sorry!

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Here are the links to sign up using our No-fooling April pricing. But act now — these prices are going to buzz off soon. March 31 – April 7 is your window period, so don’t miss out!

Learn about and/or subscribe to Mentoring in the Classics >>

Learn about and/or subscribe to Black Belt in Freedom >>


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(in 3 very short Acts)

by Oliver DeMille

Act I

Baby playpen Enter a child and a youth.

*In 2014 the article by Hanna Rosin entitled “The Overprotected Kid” was the most frequently read magazine story for the whole year on Atlantic.com. (The Atlantic, March 2015, 15) It really struck a chord. Why does this generation of parents worry that many of their youth are “overprotected”?

  • The term “Helicopter Parents” is now used to describe those who hover around their children closely watching and often over-programming their lives.
  • TIME magazine wrote about today’s generation of children whose parents and adult teachers and guides are so involved that the kids “are desperate to carve out a space of their own” and “teens need a place to make mistakes.”

Exit the child and youth.

Act II

Enter the parents.

  • Brigid Schulte wrote in her book Overwhelmed: “This is how it feels to live my life: scattered, fragmented, and exhausting. I am always doing more than one thing at a time and I feel I never do any one particularly well. I am always behind…with one more thing and one more thing and one more thing…” (cited in Lev Grossman, TIME, March 24, 2014, 58)
  • Why is feeling “scattered, fragmented and exhausted” the “quintessentially modern and increasingly universal experience” for most parents nowadays? (Ibid.)
  • As one article put it, “…you’re too busy to do things like read books” and your days too often “consist of…multitasking snippets.” (Ibid.)

But why? Is this just the way things are today? Or do we have a choice?

Exit the parents.


Enter the chorus.

“A generation of kids with helicoptering parents.

“A generation of mothers and fathers frazzled,
pulled in many directions, always hurrying to the next thing.

“Always hurrying. Always tired…”


Fairytale-Simplicity copy Enter the children, teens, and parents.

“I just returned from living for a year in the south Pacific for my husband’s work,” she said. “It was really fun. For the whole family.”

“How so?” I asked.

“Well,” she grasped for the right words… “For one thing, we only ate fresh fruit and organic-style meats and vegetables. No processed food at all.”

She paused. “I’m not sure how to explain why this made such a difference. I’ve never been very concerned with health, so at first I didn’t realize it was even happening. But after a few months all our normal aches and pains went away. The fog in my head just suddenly cleared up. We all stopped moping. Everyone in the family walked around smiling, happy. We had so much energy. We played and ran every chance we got. And we hugged every time we saw each other. It was…amazing.”

I could tell there was more to the story, so I waited.

“We also walked a lot. I mean, a lot. I felt in such good shape, the best shape of my life actually.”

I nodded with interest.

“But that was just the beginning.

The Meaning of Real

“The really important thing is that we spent pretty much every evening together. All of us—my husband after work, myself, the little kids, and our two teenagers. Every night we sat around together and read books aloud and talked about them…”

Tears began running down her cheeks and she fought for composure. “It was…”

This time she really couldn’t find the words.

Real life?” I asked.

She smiled and nodded. Still the tears ran. Fairytale-yearn copy

“What else?” I finally asked.

“Nothing. That’s it,” she gulped. “That’s the whole thing. It was so simple. And it changed everything. I got my teens back. And the littler kids…well, we all bonded. It was just so incredible…”

Her voice drifted off.

“How long since you got back to the States?”

“Three months.”

“It must be nice to be home, even though you loved your time there.”

Her face took on a confused expression. “Maybe.”

“What does that mean?” I chuckled.

What Makes the Difference

She pondered, then replied, “Well, the aches and pains have come back. And the foggy brain. I didn’t realize how much background stress my body used to feel. And I hardly ever walk anywhere now.”

“Ah…” I sighed. “That makes sense. What about reading together every night?”

Her shoulders slumped a bit, and she shook her head sadly.

AA006003 I asked, “Are the kids moping again?”

“A little.” She paused. Then she said, “Too much.”

I smiled slowly. “You know, they have books here in the States. And evenings too.”

She was surprised at my words, and her head snapped up. She looked me right in the eyes. I could see the battle taking place behind them.

Then she grinned.

“We also have fruits and vegetables here,” she added, pensively. “Lots of them.”

Her shoulders squared again, and she set her jaw. “You’re right, of course. I’m not going to just let the old bad habits control us. We can still eat right, walk a lot, smile more, and read together every evening. It might be more challenging, given our complex work and activity schedules, but we can carve out time to read most nights.”

“It’s the little things,” I said. “Always the little things that really make the difference.”


Whatever your life and your family’s life

is like right now,

there are 2 or 3 little things that would make it
drastically, incredibly better—immediately.

What are they?

Brainstorm. Ponder. Pray. Find out.

And do them.

This very small thing will make ALL the difference
for your whole family.


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