Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Raising a Child in a Declining America

America is a great and mighty nation, and it stands for wonderful things like liberty and opportunity. America today is not as great as it was in the past and it is greater than it will be in the future. That's decline.

This is not to say that we should all dig bomb shelters and stock canned goods. We aren't on the way to some lawless social collapse. Great Britain declined in the 1800s and went from an empire on which the sun never set in 1770 to America's much loved, goofy cousin in 1990 (and is on their way to surpassing us once again today). England is certainly not a bad place to be, but their time on top of the world has well passed.

An article in today's New York Times explains that the American middle class is no longer the most affluent in the world. The Europeans and the Canadians are surpassing us. We can no longer take it for granted that our economy will grow for everyone and that each generation will do better than the one before.

Such decline is natural in the way of nations. The things that make a nation great also lay the groundwork for decline. Accumulation of wealth and power creates an environment in which the ambitious seek to accumulate more and more for themselves. The stability of the society removes the existential need to put the national interest above your own. 100 years ago, although there were still greedy, shady people in America, there was the need to keep the big picture in mind. The world was a scary place full of potential enemies who could do far more than destroy a building or two. Today, no two other countries together could challenge us militarily and this perception of security allows certain people to put themselves ahead of the national interest.

This is simple a fact and one that should be considered. The Koalid will be born in three months That is also a fact.

A lot of people facing those two facts might despair. Woe are we, the Koalid will not have the opportunities I had. Boo hoo.

Funny Somewhat Topical Ecard: 'In 100 years we have gone from teaching Latin and Greek in high school to teaching Remedial English in college.' - Joseph Sobran.In the poorest places, there are people at the top doing well. In the richest places, there are people at the bottom doing poorly. There is opportunity everywhere, especially in America, and even in declining America.

In America, education is getting worse and worse as a certain e-card I recently saw online laments. Some parents would despair that their children will be ill-prepared. I see this situation and determine to make sure that the Koalid is educated in all ways, with academic as well as social and business skills.

Real wages for American working people have declined. No longer can a young person just go to the local factory and get a good job that will support their family to retirement. Well, I guess that means the Koalid will not be working at a factory. She will, however, due to her education and preparation be ready to face whatever is in front of a young person in 2032, to identify the opportunities which exist and to seize them.

A nation in which we have lost the spirit of exploration and innovation is not ideal, but for a young person who has been raised to preserve the entrepreneurial instinct, it is a land full of opportunity. The next 100 years in America will be rough on the average person. Thus, it is all the more important that the Koalid is above average. She become so by divine providence (although faith in God will hopefully help her), but by planning and preparation: the same recipe that has lead to success since the dawn of time.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I have always been the kind of person who likes to have an overriding purpose. When I ran Phoenix Games, all efforts were directed towards that project. When I worked for American Income Life, that was my primary purpose. So, when the release date for the Koalid was announced, it was clear what my new driving purpose would be.

Phoenix Games, my first offspring:
900 square feet of
amazing community.
Everyone says that everything changes when you have kids, and that you have new priorities, but I see so many parents who can't seem to find time to give the kids the attention they need. While they are a priority, they have to make room around other priorities.

Everything I have focused on previously has had some aspect of improving things for someone. Phoenix Games was built around creating a community that benefited all those associated with it. An incremental benefit for many people.

Now I have the opportunity to make a fantastic, tremendous, total difference for one person. The choices I make, the resources I dedicate, the lessons I teach will mold and create a whole person. Of course, this would now be my near total focus. What other priority could possibly have such potential.

Given this, why doesn't every parent give total dedication to their children? I believe that there are two answers: the first answer is that they still have goals they have not reached and the child must compete with those. I am fortunate to be at a place in life where I have already done many amazing things, and there is nothing that I feel is incomplete. I am ready for the next great priority.

The second answer is that they don't know what to do. They do not know exactly what the goal is in raising a child, and even if they do, they don't know how to get there. Give them too much attention, they could become spoiled or dependent. Drive them for success too much and they could become burnt out and rebel. And the instant feedback is of no use because children often rebel at doing what is best for them.

Beautiful, but not my source of faith in God.
I have a deep faith in God because I see evidence of His work in my life. I don't mean the beauty of the trees and the flowers. I mean coming to a place in life and realizing that entirely without my knowledge or effort, I have been prepared with the tools I would need to meet this challenge for years in advance.

This is one of those cases. Over the past few years, the road of life has pushed me in a way that gave me the skills for my current professional endeavor, providing me knowledge of persuasion, training, and motivation. Fantastic skills for a business consultant. In my work, I help business people to identify and achieve their goals, not mine. Understanding their needs and what they are trying to do, I select my skills that can help them to be successful.

Sound like anything else I'm preparing to do?

I don't know what the Koalid will want to do with her life, but I intend to develop my skills to help her exploit whichever talents she chooses to pursue. What other project could possibly be as engaging as this?