LET’S BE CLEAR

August 7th, 2010

Posted by Cam Mosher

Interesting to learn about the people who wander around the Internet looking for ways to be a nuisance, promote self-serving products and websites, and generally attempt to ride free on other’s efforts.  I notice, as a newcomer to blogging, that I have been a bit naive, but my education is improving.  Good thing this is a moderated blog!

The general purpose and rules for this blog are clearly stated in an earlier post AND in the “about our blog” link on the left. I invite both posts and comments that are generally relevant to the topics and overall focus of solving problems and empowered living (for posts, use the Contact Us link on the menu).  As the moderator, I generally disapprove of three kinds of comments I have noticed among those so far submitted. Those that are clearly (and only) advertisements for something, those that provide a URL that links to a pornographic or “blue” site, and those that are an Internet version of graffiti: crap sprayed on a wall.

If you want to promote your own product or site, set up your own blog. If you want to paint graffiti in my “to moderate” inbox, it only takes a quick moment to wash you out of it as trash; you are a minor inconvenience.  If you want to join in the discussion on the topics of this blog, please continue!  The latter group is most welcome.

And thanks to the growing numbers of readers and contributors who seem to take genuine interest in what we are doing here!!

Cam Mosher

BE, DO, HAVE

July 29th, 2010

From Cam Mosher

There are three words that tell each of us a lot about how we are wired in life.  Be, Do, and Have.  The order in which these words are arranged gives us the key.

Most of the world is wired around HAVE-DO-BE.  Have-do-be people are validated by what they possess.  These  folks see life as, “If I have these things (possessions, position, title, power, popularity, reputation, money, toys, etc.), then I can do what I want, and then I will be happy and fulfilled.”  Such people are focused on getting.  They validate themselves by what they have.  If they lose it, they lose their identity.

Much of the world is wired around DO-HAVE-BE.  Do-have-be people are validated by what they do.  Many religious folks and performers tend to see life this way.  Do-have-be people see life as, “If I do these things (be good, keep the commandments, say my prayers, pay my tithes and offerings, help other people, obey the law, etc.), then I will have the approval of God and my fellow men, and then I will be saved and eternally happy.  Such people are focused on doing.  They validate themselves by their accomplishments and good performance, by their ability to perform, perhaps even through their amazing martyrdom.  If they lose that ability to do, or fall short in their performance, they lose their identity.  Some of these folks are the committed victims of the world, the “poor me” crowd.  Their identity is tied up in what is DONE TO THEM.  “If you just look at what is done to me, you will have sympathy for me or God will have pity on me, and then surely I will be happy or at least finally be given a place in Heaven.”  They see their misfortune as a way to earn their way in life, or their place in the afterlife.

Some people are wired BE-DO-HAVE.  Be-do-have people are validated by who they are.  These folks see life as, “This is who I am.  If I live true to who I am, what I do flows naturally from who I am, and I have results that are consistent with who I am.”  The focus is on being and the qualities they possess as a matter of character and development.    Such people see life as a journey of discovery, discovery of who they are and developing and growing.  They see the challenges and experiences of life as opportunities to learn and grow.  Their validity is tied in with who they are, not what they have or what they do.  Loss of possessions may be inconvenient, but is not cause for loss of identity.  Loss of ability to perform may require a shift in how one performs, but does not cause any invalidation of self.  These people are focused on the fact that they exist and are open to what experience teaches them about themselves.

I am of the opinion that BE-DO-HAVE is a personal philosophy that brings the greatest satisfaction in life.  I have some incredible heroes who exemplify this wiring to me.  Viktor Frankl and Stephen Hawking are two.  I recommend learning about them.

I would like to believe that I am making some personal progress toward the ideal of BE-DO-HAVE.  It is a satisfying journey so far.  The title of my book, I’m OK! I’m just not finished, is a statement of my belief that every person is OK as a human being.  And that life is a journey of discovery to acknowledge that we are OK and express it.  Having both strengths and weaknesses is part of being human.  Our strengths are not special commendations, but are our opportunities to give of ourselves; our weaknesses are not condemnations, but are our opportunities to learn and grow.  Life is not long enough for any of us to ever really finish discovering what a magnificent being he/she is.  But all of us have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of our magnificence, if we are willing to see ourselves through that lens.

There is an interesting statement from Jesus in the New Testament.  Matt. 5:48, Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect. Regardless of how one feels about Jesus or the Bible, that statement is cause for reflection.  BE is the imperative form, a commandment.  And it is in the present tense.  It says “Be perfect now!” And it gives God as the standard of perfection!  So how does one keep that commandment?  Well, it does NOT say “DO perfect” or “HAVE perfect.”  Perhaps we can BE PERFECT, with God as the standard of perfection, by focusing on the word BE.  If I am true to myself, to the best sense of myself that I have in the present moment, is not that being perfect, perfectly true to myself?  In that sense of perfection, is there room for ongoing growth and additional learning and discovery?  Can I improve on my DOING, as I continue to learn and grow?  Of course, but I firmly believe that I am OK and you are OK! Are now, always have been, and always be.  Nothing you or I ever do or ever  have will alter who we are.

I like to think that such a view of self is worth pondering.

Cam Mosher

TWO KINDS OF PEOPLE

July 29th, 2010

From Cam Mosher

I had a great discussion with my son yesterday.  He is a businessman in his forties.  It is good when my kids give me good counsel.  That suggests that I did reasonably OK in raising them!

He told me there are two kinds of people in the world, those who put the shopping carts away in the return racks, and those who leave them out in the parking lot.  Hmmm.  I took a look inside and realized I am a fence sitter.  Sometimes I put them away when it is convenient (i.e. the rack is close, or the weather is good).  And sometimes I leave them between the cars or push the front wheels of the cart over a nearby curb.  It got me to thinking about a table game we used to play when my family was young called Scruples

Scruples provides cards with moral or ethical situations and asks players to decide YES, NO, or DEPENDS on each situation.  YES and NO require clear moral compasses.  DEPENDS is that place on the fence.  Sometime DEPENDS seems necessary, but it does allow wiggle room for stuff like convenience or the weather.  Actually playing the game is way less important than using those cards to have a great family discussion on the issues involved and learning together that taking a stand on moral and ethical issues requires some internal preparation.  What would happen to the Problems of the World if we did a better job of teaching our kids about moral compasses and all of us did some introspection along the lines of Scruples?

My son got me to thinking, not only about myself, but about the world, and about what my blog is all about.  I take issue with the world and people not having a clear moral and ethical compass.  Yet I realized that my own compass is not clear on every issue.  Regarding the shopping cart issue my son raised, I realized that I have lived “DEPENDS.”  That is a sad introspection.  It actually caused me to make a new decision that on that issue:  I will from now on say YES!  At least my shopping cart will not be left for someone else to put in the rack or for the store attendants to have to gather from all over the lot!  Convenience?  Weather?  No matter!

Putting the shopping cart away, stopping on a yellow light, being honest in our dealings, obeying laws that make living in community better for all, being thoughtful and kind, these behaviors are the rent we pay for the space we occupy on the planet!

Looking deeper at this issue, why do we take a stand on any moral or ethical issue?  What is the motive that drives us?  Is it because we fear the disapproval of others, or of God?  Not go to Hell?  Is it because we want to impress others, or impress God?  Do we want acknowledgment or a reward of some kind?  Go to Heaven?   When I was a boy of maybe 8 or 9, my father sat me down and taught me a lesson.  I don’t remember the specifics of very many of the lessons he taught me, but this one was riveted into my memory so powerfully that I remember his exact words, these many decades later.  He said, “Cameron, people ought to live good, not because they want to go to Heaven, but because it is the way to live!” And that was indeed the way he lived.

So among the people who behave a certain “good” way, there are different motives regarding that behavior.  One group does it because they fear punishment, from society or from God.  Another group does it because they want to impress others or get approval from others or from God and maybe get brownie points with neighbors or in Heaven; they do for the reward.  Others do it because it is simply the way to live.  Acting “good” for external reasons, or for internal reasons.  The same behavior, different motives.

I suppose the result of living “good” is the same, regardless of the motive.  Maybe it doesn’t matter.  My father lived by an internal motivation; he was not particularly focused on pleasing God.  I tend to ascribe a higher value to internally-driven motives over externally-driven ones.  For example, honesty to keep God’s Commandments has a lower value to me than honesty for its own sake simply because it is the way to live.  So when my son posed that question to me and I had to introspect, I realized that part of my rent for my place on the planet included even putting the shopping carts in the rack!  Not because I want anyone to see me, or God to approve of my action, but simply because it makes the world a bit easier for all of us to live in community together.

We might start Solving the Problems of the World by looking at how we live at this level of detail, and make some clear decisions about our own moral and ethical compasses, take some clear stands to behave in these simple ways that work in community, that make living together easier for all of us.  That is the least of our rent for our own individual spaces in the world.

You have to decide.  Of the two kinds of people in the world (on any issue!), what kind of person are you?

Cam Mosher

IMMIGRATION PROBLEM IN CANADA?

July 29th, 2010

From David Cameron, Nova Scotia

Big illegal immigration problem in Canada? Not really, since relatively few Americans want to pick our broccoli badly enough to sneak in! We do get the odd ship-jumping in Halifax & Vancouver has some Asian people-smuggling going on-but those folks all end up living/working in the Asian community so there is little mainstream backlash about it. Canada is probably a little easier to immigrate into legally than the US. Our farmers are able to legally hire Mexican and Caribbean workers for harvest, even here in Nova Scotia-which has led to some really interesting strong ties & stories of mutual respect and love & support.

Our politicians aren’t saints, but wouldn’t be caught dead hiring an illegal alien as maid, child-care person, etc., they would be so dead in the water politically, along with their whole party.

We do have a minor traffic in English-speaking “floaters” who come as tourists & like it too much & over-stay their visa’s & get work under the table. Eventually they go back and either organize themselves to immigrate legally, marry a Canadian or give it up. Unfortunately our laws and their execution aren’t always as smart or compassionate as they could be. We, like the US, have political biases that profoundly affect who can get in with relative ease and who isn’t welcome at all. Dark, Muslim, Mid-Eastern people are now having a harder time of it, getting in. Also the way we don’t support immigrants adequately is a problem-leaving fine people with degrees in medicine, engineering, etc., driving cabs because our associations, guilds and societies refuse to acknowledge their credentials, kind of a professional private enterprise vs. political bigotry, but the politicos obligingly ignore this and don’t legislate solutions.

I see in today’s paper a federal judge is holding up Arizona’s tough-on-immigrants law. And for good reason, as far as I can see. Most US anti-alien sentiment doesn’t distinguish very well between those there legally and the illegal variety, hence the laws drafted tend to have horribly humiliating/alienating impacts on the legal immigrants. Also tend to leave out reasonable humanitarian considerations that would recognize that familial bonds tend to be stronger in Mexico and many other cultures than in middle class America, and need to be taken into account, i.e., if you let me in, in my mind, you have really allowed in my whole extended family. Here in Canada where multi-culturalism prevails, this principal is understood and again, some accommodation made in that regard. Not to say therte isn’t strong general anti-immigration sentiment here-especially among industrial workers-doubly ironic in that almost 100% of them or their families started life in Canada as immigrants and there is very little industry left in Canada anyway since it has all moved off-shore to the places immigrants traditionally come from, where people work for less.

Another irony I see in US anti-immigrant attitudes is that it is precisely the intentional cultural export of the vaunted “American Dream” that has so fueled a desire in the less developed countries to emulate the US, to have what Americans seem to have, even if it means having to sneak into the US to get a higher paid job.

Another irony is that while some illegals are just the most desperate, many are often the smartest, bravest, most resourceful, hard-working and tenacious of the poor people of their country and generation.

So it would be good to take a hard look at one’s immigrants, legal & otherwise. America, like Canada is a nation of immigrants and today’s immigrants may be bringing to our shores exactly what we need, as they always have.

David Cameron

HYPOCRISY; ALIVE AND WELL IN UTAH

July 21st, 2010

From Michael Gifford, Salt Lake City

Well, I’ve sat with this for several days, not wanting to be reactionary. I remain dumbfounded by the recent events in Salt Lake and the surveys around them.

We all know that the illegal alien issue is a serious one. Most of us also know that it is complex and multi-faceted; not black and white. Having said that, the main criticism seems to be that we have laws against people entering our country ILLEGALLY and taking jobs, receiving benefits, etc. Just to keep this simple, I won’t mention that employers hire them, we insist on low prices, those who get regular paychecks have deductions which stay with the govt when they don’t file taxes, etc. The primary issue is a frustration that we have laws that aren’t being enforced.

Now comes the news that some employees of Workforce Services have ILLEGALLY gathered information and provided a list (accuracy be damned) of illegal aliens to the press, govt agencies and others. This list includes names, addresses, social security numbers, etc. These state employees have contracts that forbid the compilation and disclosure of this information. We have state and federal laws in place that make what they did illegal. I saw the open hypocrisy of these lists immediately, and just assumed that the people who created the lists would be held accountable for their violations of the laws, and the Attorney General’s office is investigating with action to follow.

What blows my mind is a KUTV, Channel 2 survey asking how the people of Salt Lake feel about the list and the perpetrators of it. With thousands responding, over 56% feel that the perpetrators should not be punished!! Many people interviewed, including some politicians, call the perpetrators heros and patriots! How, on God’s green earth can they decry illegal aliens and then give sainthood to state workers who knowingly violated several state and federal laws. The hypocrisy blows me away!

I shouldn’t be surprised, given the recent behaviors in Utah (including lies and deceit from the state’s biggest institute). Still, I keep hoping that, even in Utah (no especially in Utah, where we know what it is like to be persecuted and hated without cause) that we will show a little more humanity. I guess I’ll have to wait a little while longer!

Mike Gifford

Salt Lake City

PERCEPTION AND REALITY

July 20th, 2010

From Cam Mosher

I am going to shift from solving the problems of government to more personal areas.  Let’s begin with some realizations on Reality. Follow along with me here.

Here is a way to understand life.  We all live in a box.  Each of us lives in his/her own individual box.  Projected on the inside of that box is our entire perception of reality. Our perception of reality is unique to each of us as individuals! To comprehend that, consider that, as human beings, the only means we have to get information from outside of us is through five physical senses: sight, hearing, smelling, touch and taste.  I will grant one more sense, an inner intuitive (some call it a spiritual) sense, where we have thoughts, ideas, realizations, etc.  But that is it.  Everything that comes to our perception comes through one of those senses.  The key word to all this is PERCEPTION.  All these senses, including that inner, intuitive sense, are Perceptual Senses!

All any of us have regarding reality is what we perceive to be real. No one knows what is real.  Ponder that for a minute.  Our perception IS our reality.  But our reality is projected on the inside of our box!

What is it that filters reality into our perception of it?

As we entered mortal reality as conceived beings, and began to experience it, we formed conclusions about reality as we experienced it.  Those conclusions became our beliefs about reality, each belief a definition of that piece of reality that we experienced.  The sum total of those beliefs became what I call our individual BELIEF SYSTEM, the sum total of our uniquely personal definition of reality.  Our beliefs are the filter through which we perceive reality.  If we have not experienced something, we have no belief definition of it, and hence it does not exist in our reality.

You can relate to this by thinking about a time when you heard or read a new word.  You took some action to find out what it means, then suddenly that word was all around you.  It had always been all around you, but for some reason you had not encountered it before in a way that gave it meaning to you.  It did not exist in your previous perception of reality because you had no belief definition for it.

Because your Belief System is your entire definition of reality, and you created each of your beliefs through some conclusion you made about an experience of something you encountered along the way, you have literally created your own reality that you continue to experience in life.  It is unique to you.

So the question I pose is, WHO IS RIGHT about your perception?  Of course, YOU ARE!  And the next question I pose (to all the people you are with in life, including you of course) is, WHO IS RIGHT about all your individual perceptions?  And the answer, of course, is ALL OF YOU ARE!  Each of you perceives reality in your own unique way, and each is RIGHT in your perception!

Apply that to your relationships.  In any situation, each of you perceives it uniquely, and each of you IS RIGHT about your perception, because IT IS how you perceive it!  Therefore the question is never WHO IS RIGHT?  Because both of you, or all of you, ARE RIGHT in your perception of the situation.  When there is a decision that must be made, the only relevant question is, can we stay with the communication long enough to evolve an outcome that we all can be satisfied with?

Now apply this to solving the problems of the world!  There are over six billion of us on the planet.  Each person has his/her own unique and personal definition of reality, hence perception of it!  Over six billion different realities!  And who is right?

So the question is never who is right, but can we have communication, and stay with that communication long enough, to find solutions that we can all be satisfied with?  Or must we fight with each other, kill each other, enslave each other, trod each other down, in an eternal drive to BE RIGHT?

I would really love to have some conversation on this post.  Comments?  Other posts?  Here is where the real meat of solving the problems of the world lies, personally, and as a human species.  It is never about who is right, it is always about finding outcomes that can satisfy everyone.  That is what I call CONSENSUS.  It is a skill and a process that can be learned and taught.

Cam Mosher

IDEOLOGY VS. PRAGMATISM

July 20th, 2010

From Cam Mosher

The first principle of empowerment is “Life Is.” Another way of saying it is “Get Real!” To see these principles, click on “Our Work” above.  One of the greatest blocks to solving problems is that many of today’s problems are stuck in the world of ideology.  People insist on “being right” about some ideological principle and refuse to look at what is practical and reasonable to solve the problem.

Folks, we have problems to solve. That is WE, all of us.  Somehow the solutions have to include all of us.  And that will require compromise solutions, not positioned ideologies!

For example, the drug problem.  We have a very lucrative criminal industry that exists to fill the demand for drugs.  The only realistic and practical way the problem can be addressed is to reduce demand.  But we are spending loads of money and effort trying to address it at the supply end.  As long as the demand exists, greedy people will find a way to provide supply.  Our current efforts are basically a waste of time and our tax money.

Solving the drug problem is very simple.  Legalize drugs.  And at the same time, do two more things: 1) provide government sponsored clinics where addicts can get the drugs at low cost (that immediately takes the profit out of the drug business and eliminates the criminal industry), and 2) require all customers at the clinics to get treatment for their addiction.  While we are at it, add a third thing: put into the K-12 curriculum a well designed drug education program so that all students get a good education on the dangers and appropriate uses of all drugs and how to live wisely in a world where they are available. Include in this curriculum some good general education on setting appropriate boundaries in life to address the problem of peer pressure.  While treatment probably won’t eliminate all addicts, it will make a dent in the demand and eliminating the profit will bring the supply under government control.

Will this make the drug problem go away completely?  I doubt it.   But it will remove addicting drugs from the criminal industry, and bring them into a realm where theycan be dealt with as a public health issue.

Is this a better approach than the current criminalizing approach?  I don’t know.  But it hasn’t been tried in my lifetime.  And thousands of lives are being lost now to super-wealthy and super-powerful international drug cartels.  How many of them could be saved by taking the profit out of drugs?  Would more youth learn to avoid drugs if the drugs weren’t illicit? I don’t know the answers, but since it hasn’t been tried yet, why not find out the answers?  Seems worth the risk. What we are doing now is not working  Think about this mantra of addiction treatment : “Insanity is continuing to do the same thing, expecting a different result!” A mantra of success in business is “If something is not working, try something else!”

Another example where a practical solution is attacked on ideology: the immigration issue. Those who oppose some sort of “amnesty” because of ideology need to consider the practical realities.  There are only three ways to deal with this issue.  One, round them all up and send them home in boxcars; two, make it so onerous here that they will pack up and leave; three, create a reasonable way for them to pay their dues and gain legal status.  This third option is called amnesty by some.

Option one is totally impractical.  Come on folks.  Rounding up twelve million people can’t and won’t be done.  And if it could, the cost would be prohibitive, both in terms of money, human misery, and international relations.  Those who oppose amnesty seem to think rounding the people up will somehow take place, or they simply ignore the fact that if it doesn’t happen, the problem will just continue with no change and the millions will remain underground.

Option two was tried in Germany under Hitler.  In the thirties, the social environment for an entire ethnic group was made so onerous that many did in fact leave.  When they did not all leave, or leave fast enough, Hitler decided to eliminate them in the gas chambers.  That was a simple solution, but in the United States of America?  I hope not!

On to option three.  Amnesty is completely ignored by many in the right wing on ideological grounds.  Yet it is the only practical solution, at least practical part of the solution (see my earlier post on IMMIGRATION REFORM).  The dues paid would cover some of the cost.  The legalization would add to the taxpaying rolls, adding more to cover the cost, and bring millions out of the shadows into the light of society and commerce.  And the accompanying (and necessary) reform of immigration laws would finally bring this problem into permanent solution.

As long as people remain stuck in their narrow ideological positions, these (and other) critical problems) will remain unsolved and we, the American people, as well as millions of others, will continue to suffer.  We must recognize that solving these and other problems will require compromise and working “across the aisle.”  Let’s get with it!

I appreciate your comments and opinions.  If you don’t agree, submit your own solutions.   To send in your own post, use the Contact Us form in the menu on the left.

Cam Mosher

THE CASE FOR STATESMANSHIP

July 19th, 2010

From Cam Mosher

For some decades there has been a growing pattern of stubborn partisanship in government and society.  Whenever people get stuck on ideologies, insisting that their particular viewpoint is RIGHT and the only way to believe, the problems that face us can’t and won’t be solved. The only result is either dictatorship or gridlock.  This applies to government, religion, social and cultural issues, and all aspects of human relations!

In our amazing republican form of government, the best good for the greatest number is found in finding compromise, modeled by the Founding Fathers who created it.  The Fathers represented states with very different attitudes on very pressing issues. Out of this diversity of opinions, ideas, and regional differences, they forged a system of government that requires debate and demands compromise in order to function for the greatest good for the diversity represented in the nation.

This required that the Fathers put the good of the nation higher than their own personal viewpoints. They held those viewpoints, and argued them, but when the decisions had to be made, they demonstrated their ability to work “across the aisle” and find compromise solutions. This is true STATESMANSHIP.  To me, the greatest legacy the Founders left us was Statesmanship.

I refer to my earlier post, “WHAT WE NEED IN CONGRESS.”  Our form of government is messy, by design! Whenever either party has a supermajority in any legislative body AND there is a demand for ideological purity on either or both sides, we have polarization. The supermajority may get their will and impose it on the minority, but this is dictatorship.  And the minority will invariably become a voice of NO against the imposition!

I call myself a conservative (see my earlier post, “MY MEANING OF CONSERVATIVE AND LIBERAL,” in which I give my personal definitiion of the terms), but in government, I am a centrist, meaning that I believe that for government to function and come up with workable solutions to the problems we face (the economy, banking, health care, immigration, unemployment, national security, the deficit, the national debt, education, the environment, energy, global climate issues, technology, foreign relations, poverty, race relations, drug abuse, and on and on), we must elect representatives to Congress and our state legislatures who are capable of working across the aisle to find compromise solutions.  Otherwise we will continue to have bitterness, rancor, division, we will be ruled by dictatorship of the supermajority, and the problems will continue and grow.

In the current atmosphere of ultra partisan movements and “idealogical purity,” we are fostering exactly the opposite of what we need to address and solve these problems

The movement we most need now is a move to the the center. Some might call it a move to moderation, a word that is anathema to some of the talk radio folks. We must recognize that as a nation, our collective political position is nearer the center, and extremes at either end do not represent the nation as a whole.  We must reinstate a valuing of Statesmanship and elect people who can work across the aisle to find compromise solutions that represent the incredible diversity of this great nation.  If solutions are to be found that work for all of us, they must be found somewhere nearer the center.  In our diverse nation, the extreme viewpoints of both the right and the left will not bring us together with solutions that really work!  The current partisan movements are throwing out the very people who can solve the problems!  No matter how you personally feel and believe, you cannot have your exclusive way in a nation as diverse as ours.  Let’s get real!

We once held the light of liberty as a standard to the entire world. Now we are just another squabbling nation, so consumed with our own internal bickering that we give little hope nor example of solving our own problems, let alone how to solve the problems of the world.  We can reverse this. But the solution is not to focus on “reclaiming the Constitution” and other such popular slogans.  It is to reclaim the way our government was designed to function under the Constitution, with elected representatives working together in discussion and debate until compromise solutions can be found.  The messiness of the system is our best hope for finding solutions that work.  The words and meaning of the Constitution may be open to debate (that is for the courts to decide) but the Spirit of the Constitution, and the example of Statesmanship set by the Founding Fathers who created it, are the guiding lights that will lead us to solving the critical problems of our times.

Cam Mosher

EDUCATION NEEDS A SOLUTION!

July 14th, 2010

From Cam Mosher

A few years ago, an article appeared on the front page of our local newspaper in Salt Lake City.  It reported that 26% of the graduating high school class in the State of Utah that year could not pass the Utah Basic Skills Inventory Test, a pretty simple survey of basic reading, writing, and math.  I have recently accepted an adjunct teaching position at our local community college teaching Developmental Math, basically remedial arithmetic and junior high pre-algebra for adult students at the college, a collection of people that may in fact represent that 26%!  And I don’t think this appalling 26% statistic is limited to Utah!  I suspect it is fairly representative of the entire United States of America.

On the first day of class, I tell my class about the 26% article, and I get a lot of blank stares.  Many of these college students do not know the meaning of 26%!  They cannot relate it to “one out of four people!” Come on folks, think about that.  One out of four people among recent high school graduates can’t read, write, and do simple math at anywhere near an adult level!

The largest department at our college is Developmental Education.  It exists to provide remedial work for the young adult and older adult students who come to a community college to get educated.  An amazingly high percentage of these students can’t read, write, or handle numbers at a functional adult level.  What in the world are we going to do with them, as the older generations of us die off and the world of commerce, government, science, and education is left to them?

Our public schools are ripping off our future!  It is disgusting that we allow children to progress from grade to grade who cannot perform the basic skills of a literate society, and end up graduating them out the top, unable to handle a literate adulthood!  No wonder our government is struggling to solve problems.  The electorate isn’t literate enough to comprehend the issues and elect wise officials!

I have a curricular solution.  We need to identify the basic skills necessary to function in the United States today and build a basic nationwide curriculum to teach them from state to state. These should at least include:

  • The Basic Skills of Literacy: reading, self expression through writing and speaking, and basic arithmetic.
  • Add to that a basic ability to function in commerce, with budgeting, using money and financial instruments of transactions (e.g. debit and credit cards), financial planning, savings and investing, and some values to guide responsible living in this area of life.
  • Add to that a basic comprehension of how our system of government works, what elections are for and how campaigns are used to promote candidates and ideas, how to contact government officials and legislators, and the importance of being an informed and involved citizen.
  • Include what it means to be responsible for one’s self and family, how to provide for financial security as one moves through stages and circumstances of life, clear up to retirement.
  • And include education in basic health and hygiene.

This basic curriculum should begin in Kindergarten and continue clear through High School, with age appropriate materials.  Kindergartners can start the learning process with simple material in all these areas.  Students should not be moved forward until they can demonstrate basic competency at each grade level.  High School graduates should then be fully prepared to assume adult responsibilities as citizens and participants in society.

Parents must cease being enablers in this dumbing down of American society.  Instead of supporting their “little darlings” against those mean teachers, they must hold their children responsible for learning the basic curriculum and reinforce its importance.

I believe education is the single most important solution to solving the problems of the world, beginning right here in America!

Cam Mosher

WHY I’M DOING THIS BLOG

July 14th, 2010

From Cam Mosher

I have an audacious vision with this blog.  HowToSolveTheProblemsOfTheWorld.com is pretty audacious!  Actually I think there are great ideas out there.  I have a few ideas myself.  By putting out there some problem topics and tossing around some ideas, with comments and responses from involved sources, we might create some buzz, and who knows, someone with the ability to enact a solution to a real problem might actually be motivated to do it!  It takes one person with connections/ability to marshal the resources and actually solve a world problem.  It is being done right now with world organizations started by one person with a vision and commitment.  Why not spark some solutions right here?

To get your idea or topic posted, send me an email with your post.  Three have already done it and the responses and comments are beginning to flow.  Click on Contact Us in the menu on the left and use the form.

Cam Mosher