This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
BY Matt Kramer
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
Viktor E. Frankl
Dedicated to my son, Graham, and his brothers and sisters all over the world.
Clouds gathered for a brief shower. then moved on. Having visited the ruins once before in 1980. 2) Could I create a simple plan of action that could effect positive change with a minimum of resistance or opposition? I had an inspiration for the first question. The three of us retired to our bunks. sightseeing trips. I wanted to expand upon the usual four hour tourist visit. After dinner. At the end of the day.INTRODUCTION I first conceived of the ideas contained here during my trip to the Amazon River in April of1986. and city south of the U. Many feel that to try to tackle the world's problems is a naively admirable but hopelessly useless effort. My mind was buzzing with questions and ideas. border.S. an excellent handbook with a massive amount of relevant information (travel methods. My thoughts then moved to consider the paradoxes of life. I sat in the now pristine ruins in awe of the beauty and the majesty of the setting. I had left Los Angeles four days earlier and I felt very clear and unfettered of the complex mental processes required to run my nightclub in the city of the angels. yet there is such an overwhelming degree of pain and deprivation as well. the rains came again. If there is any one book that will educate the novice about the geographic and cultural layout of South America. It is updated every year. My goal is to design a similar handbook which would 2 . leaving behind a magnificent rainbow. My traveling companions and I found a room that cost us each $2. My companions and I made arrangements to stay overnight so we could spend two days exploring the region.00. hotel and restaurant ratings. town. this time in full force. for the four hour train ride back to Cusco. dangers to avoid (including some specific people by name) about every village. that there is so much in the world to enjoy and celebrate. partially by the contributions of the travelers who used it. I went into the hallway so as not to wake my friends and I began to write. this is it. and military events provide overwhelming obstacles that stun most of us into apathetic immobility.M. The trip began in the Andes Mountains in the legendary ruins of Machu Picchu. An idea began to form. Will there ever be a condition in which everyone worldwide has their needs met? What would it take to create a status quo in which the entire human race is able to enjoy life? There are thousands of conflicting values. economic. I rode the bus to the bottom of the hill and walked about two miles down the train tracks to the little village of Aguas Calientes. crossed purposes. but I couldn't sleep. I was wrestling with two questions: 1) How to process the information necessary to identify areas which needed change. The majority of the tourists left on the buses about 3:30 P. and unresolved conflicts that sabotage these goals. In planning this trip I used a book called The Rand McNally Guide to South America. I thought about how lucky I felt to be able to enjoy such an experience. The relentless onslaught of political.
yet few people.000 children could receive full health care throughout their childhood. will be better equipped to enact change. is there a subject about which a majority of people could agree?" The answer: Children. seem to employ them. they will be able to lay the groundwork that will enable the next generation to continue the changes. organizations. if any. armed with the communication and problem solving skills described in later chapters. It is necessary to make this a multi-generational plan. An excellent resource can be found in Parent Effectiveness Training by Thomas Gordon. There are myriad problems deemed as yet unsolvable by the world's leaders. Worldwide. My position is that there are excellent problem solving techniques available. 70. and governments is to contribute to the establishment of Planet Earth as a children's planet. they will begin to establish the possibility of alignment. there would be much less destruction. then Planet Earth will be universally beneficial for everybody. Are these expenditures truly indicative of our priorities? Could these dollars be better utilized towards feeding and educating children? My question is: given human nature and the current state of affairs. "in this world of major and violent conflicts. This is the preliminary design of the Blueprint to construct a Children's Planet. With this concept in mind. there's too much resistance from those who benefit from the status quo. If children are truly our first priority. 3 .identify the sources of and possible solutions to problems that sabotage the quality of life around the world. We can appreciate that our neighbors and even our enemies (for those of us who feel we have enemies) love their children. By so doing. everybody loves their children. can we restructure our priorities to truly nurture our children? Experience shows that demanding immediate change doesn't provide workable solutions. consider the following statistics: For the equivalent of one week's national nuclear arms spending. then how can decisions be made that are detrimental to their welfare? If the criteria of our decision making process included an assessment about how well each action supports the well-being of our children. If they are motivated to get into the decision-making positions. Its purpose will be to provide a blueprint for building a society that works. This book will inspire people not to give up. This work needs to be effective against the proclivity of many people to be apathetic about their ability to make a difference in the world. This increases the potential of resolving the conflict in a mutually beneficial manner. When conflicting parties agree to meet. We all love our children. Part of the solution is to make the ideas contained herein accessible to as many people as possible. 1 Furthermore. This article is a vehicle to introduce the idea: If the number one priority of all people. on a planet wide basis. including decision makers. To illustrate some of our national priorities at this moment. For example: A key element to begin successful problem solving involves identifying the needs and goals of each party. a way to begin to resolve their differences is to acknowledge the areas about which they both agree. Our children. businesses. seventy billion dollars per year is spent solely on the preparation and maintenance of nuclear weapons for war. Much of the value lies in its techniques for communication and problem solving. I ask myself.
Whenever children die of unnatural causes or are denied the opportunity to reach their full potential. we meet resistance. Much of our history is a document of our reactions to natural disaster or man-made conflict. The majority succumb to the frustration and eventually numb themselves into a desensitized state of semi-awareness. were similarly frustrated by the inclination of human nature to create systems that resist change. we are glutted with information. It is purposely short. There are few choices from here. Even then. those in positions of leadership have failed miserably. I want you to get the germ of the idea. 4 . As individuals. I want your ideas. our newly awakened individuals become angry. As soon as we make a stand and say that things must change. They become anxious and put enormous energy into finding solutions. A common pattern for many individuals begins with an awakening awareness of the magnitude of the problems. because we fear the unknown. even if it is for the better. a problem must grow to dramatic proportions before we will take action. most mutating out of old situations. we are threatening the status quo. we are unprepared to recognize early symptoms of potential problems. this is called operating from behind the power curve The trick is to evolve beyond the crisis oriented mentality. This is a real possibility. The opportunity to attain such a state is sabotaged by the realities of violent conflict. A valiant few carry on.Eventually there will be enough people of humane conscience in power to reverse the historical patterns of our destructive tendencies. As a result. some new. and potential nuclear annihilation. we fear change. By that time. The news is awash with waves of problems. The solution is to develop a system that works successfully for the present and future instead of always operating in reaction to crisis. Otherwise. we will often not act until the crisis invades our personal community. and support. we have lost control of the situation and it runs us. In aviation. It will not happen without a game plan and a guide to get us there. We are constantly acting in reaction. Often this is the response generated by people who. famine. Contained within this article is the introduction to the skeleton of an idea. much of it confusing and contradictory. Contact me. creating new organizations or actively participating with the organizations that are working to meet the needs of their particular crusade. History is proving that to us. most likely we will have lost crucial resources and precious time to prepare. criticism. THE STATUS QUO The achievements of mankind hint at the possibility of a great and dignified existence. As a result. At this point. earlier in their lives. They are thwarted by the patronizing or apathetic response of their peers and elders. Change is usually brought about as a response to crisis. By asking or demanding that systems or policies change. The trap is: when there is no potential crisis.
rather than ignoring or misinterpreting the information. clothing and medicine. For example.THE GOAL The outcome would be the global acceptance of a philosophy that allows all children the opportunity to have a nurturing childhood. and ideas so that they can be understood by others. Often when a child has an emotional outburst. define the obstacles. A friend breaks a doll. a foundation exists to effectively problem solve and lessen the impact of conflict. these responses will make the child defensive and not address the problem at hand. judgmental (it was very thoughtless and inconsiderate of you to leave your toys all over the floor!). The child comes to the father and says. 2) Communication skills: learning to verbalize feelings. With active listening. (Get out here and pick up your toys!). Three skills in particular can transform a troubled family or community from conflict to harmony: Active Listening. and Problem Solving. For example. guilt manipulative' (Why do you always have to have a problem. 3) Problem-solving skills: learning to identify and state problems and goals. These responses do not address the real problem. You could respond angrily. the two may be better able to utilize problem solving skills. the father trains himself to actually listen to what's being said thereby allowing the child to express his or her emotions. Father shows acknowledgment of the problem: "It sounds like you're upset and angry about your doll being broken. I hate her!" Traditional responses may be: 'angry' (Don talk like that and stop your crying). This will include fulfilling the needs of education. they are capable of building a better world." The problem has been clearly stated. 5 . the educational system will have as its context: 1) Support for a healthy self-image for every child. the parent's response is to the outburst itself and not to what's really being said. It is my assertion that a society that provides for the welfare of its children provides for itself. suppose you come home to find your child's toys all over the floor. "Chantal broke my doll. I never get any peace). 'shame' (you should know better) etc. People who are confident in themselves are better able to rationally hear what others have to say. When these children grow into adults. Once the child feels heard. In return. shelter. I Messages. needs. listening and understanding the communication of another individual. When people understand and respect each other. food. what a little pig you're becoming). For example. Again. and create mutually satisfactory solutions The incorporation of these skills leads to healthy interaction and improved self esteem. she/he becomes more open to input. labeling and name calling (you are the messiest child in the world. Active listening in conjunction with clearly stated 'I Messages' leads to a healthy arena in which to solve the problem.
" With this process. 3) and the tangible effect that a particular behavior has on you ("I might trip on one and hurt myself. The Vacillator style where the parent alternates between the Super Parent and Martyr. we also gain the honest respect of our children. The Martyr/Doormat style-where the child is in control. the 'I Message' opens the door to using the problem solving skills. Some sources describe three basic parenting styles: The Super Parent . In 1993.The 'I Message' takes the focus off of the child and expresses your feelings about the behavior itself. Eventually my research transformed into a new direction that focused on the ways that sociopaths and other people exhibiting anti-social behavior have impacted society in ways that are invisible for most of us. 2) a description of the behavior that displeases you ("when you leave your toys all over the floor"). Back then I don’t think I knew the word. the myths no longer have power over us. I received mediator training and have been working as a professional in the field ever since. These myths are damaging to us and offer no constructive means for handling conflict situations when they arise. The 'I Message' has three components: 1) communicating the feeling that you are experiencing ("I feel very irritated"). visit http://predatoryleaders. we can open ourselves up to seeing problem solving as an ongoing process. For more information. As I continued my research into ways of ending war and creating a children’s planet. With this awareness. Some people who have children are narcissistic and/or sociopathic.") In this way. conflicts or problems will inevitably arise. CONCLUSION This paper is a revision of the original written in 1986. I eventually recognized a major flaw in the idea for this blueprint: not everybody loves their children. I have incorporated it into solutions for a problem with the working title of Predatory Leadership. “mediation”. we not only have a tool for effecting change in the child's unacceptable behavior. This "skill provides a format for expressing negative feelings without doing damage to the child's self esteem. Consider that no matter how good our relationship is with our child. I have not given up on the Blueprint for a Children’s Planet. <<>> 6 .the authoritarian Style. Parenting loses some of its vagueness and mystery. incapable of feeling any love for another human being other than in the form of an object to be owned and controlled.com/ I look forward to any feedback you may wish to share. As we learn to accept this inevitability.
7 .C.1. D. the dollars spent on defense are still hugely out of proportion compared to what is spent on children's concerns on an international level. Washington. 1986 figures from the National Center for Health Statistics. While the end of the 'cold war' has somewhat de-escalated this trend.
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