Bear Heart’s first job

Encouraging a child to earn their own money does more than teach them responsibility. It gives them the confidence to tackle anything. In this lovely excerpt from “The Wind Is My Mother,” Bear Heart tells the story of his first job: earning money planting cotton.

Bear HeartMy dad taught me to hitch a team of horses to a wagon and a plow when I was eight years old and when I was ten he gave me two acres of land, saying, “If you want to plant something, go ahead. If you don’t plant anything, let it grow wild. Maybe some rabbits will come, feed upon the plant life and you can kill a rabbit to have something to eat. It’s your choice.”

Don’t let it sit idle, let it yield something — that’s what he was teaching me.

So I planted two acres of cotton — it was good cotton, my very own, but I had to work it and do all the plowing. I knew which plowshare to use if I wanted to plow deeper and I knew how to plow between each row to lessen the weeds from coming up.

I tied the lines to the horses behind my back — when I hit a root or a rock under the ground it would pull me forward and I’d hit the cross bar on the handles of the plow. Often I’d fall but I’d dust myself off and keep going on.

When the cotton grew up, I’d check each boll to see if there were any boll weevils in there and, if there were, we didn’t have any spray, but at least we could pray.

Jimmy Carter on the number one human rights abuse

I just watched former President Jimmy Carter’s May 2015 TED talk entitled, “Why I believe the mistreatment of women is the number one human rights abuse.”

It’s riveting and enlightening [in a dark sort of way]. And it’s something we all need to know about if we are to eliminate such major abuses around the world. Just 16 minutes long, it’s well worth a watch.

The History of the U.S. Constitution we weren’t taught in school

us constitutionThe U.S. Constitution outlines the government of the United States, but very few know it’s actual origins. This post originally appeared on this blog July 2, 2012. It seems worth re-posting every year.


If you’re like me, I learned in grade school that the U.S. Constitution was based on ancient Greek democracy. Which was a creative stretch of the truth, since ancient Greece was not a democracy.

My research as to what children are taught today about the origin of our government is also disappointing.

Apparently the Founding Fathers simply created it out of thin air, or were influenced by European governments even though there was no democracy anywhere in Europe at that time.

The True History of our Constitution

The truth is that the U.S. Constitution is modeled in both principle and form on the Great Law of Peace of the Native American tribe known as the Iroquois.

This is absolutely, unequivocally historical fact.

Ten Commandments of Climate Change from Pope Francis

pope francis thinkWell, just when I thought Pope Francis couldn’t be any cooler, he has come out with an eloquent 10 commandments for stopping climate change and the “disturbing warming” of our planet.

One would think he was Native American.

These 10 commandments were part of a 182-page encyclical on climate change entitled “Laudato Si [Praised Be To You]; On Care for Our Common Home.”

Encyclicals are teaching documents traditionally addressed to Catholics worldwide, but this one was addressed to “every person living on this planet.”

In it, he said, “The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish.”

climate change

Your surprising super power: inexperience!

inexperienceHave you ever thought that your inexperience might be your super power?

In leadership seminars I took many years ago, I consistently heard the phrase, “knowledge is power.” But is it always?

Sometimes the more you know, the less you see, because you think you have nothing new to learn. Just like a computer with too much data, it just might slow you down.

I have also found that naivete and inexperience can be powerful allies in life.

Years ago I was at a party and walked into a room where a group of friends were playing on a small pool table. Curious, I asked what they were playing.

“Pocket billiards. Want to play?

“Sure,” I replied, “what do I do?”

Pointing to the various pockets and handing me a cue, my friend said, “shoot this ball into this pocket and that ball into this other pocket,” etc., etc.

Much to my friends’ amazement, I did exactly that, because I was too naïve and inexperienced to know it was supposed to be hard!

So there was a super power I didn’t know I had.