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How to Connect Students to a Higher Self

Featuring Guest -

H.D. Lee

Headshot of podcast host.
hosted by: Brandon Stover
EP
74
January 24, 2022

H.D. Lee is Founder of Nomadic School, which is dedicated to adolescents’ and young adults’ exploration of the beauty, truth, and goodness within in connection to Something larger than oneself. He is a seeker and practitioner of wholeness through living an authentic and inspired life. The life roles which bring him insight, healing and growth are son, father, friend, learner, artist, musician, writer, teacher, and coach.

H.D. Lee runs a life coaching practice with a focus on self- actualization and Self-realization. In other words, his work often involves the questions of the discovery and fulfillment of one’s potential, as well as life meaning and purpose. His clients are young adults, adults, and couples who come from more than twenty different countries and cultural backgrounds. H.D. Lee serves in an advisory role for the social educational non-profit HundrED in Finland, and Xinzhai-Better (心斋-貝德幼兒全人教育中心) in China. Fluent and literate in Chinese, French, and English, H.D. has lived or worked in the US, Germany, France, England, Taiwan, China, and Belgium. Formerly an information technology and business consultant for many years, H.D. Lee also taught transpersonal & positive psychology to international students at Sofia University (USA). H.D. is currently launching a school .

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what you'll learn in this episode

  • What is the Self and how you can discover it
  • How the economic system & industrial complex have effected education
  • Why traditional education does not help learners wrestle with the fundamental question of life
  • How to create a transdisciplinary school model for student discovery of the self
  • How to help students find meaning and purpose through learning
  • and much more...

How H.D. Lee Believes We Can Push The World To Evolve

Well, I think the answer for that would be quite simple and that is we have to evolve ourselves  because our ability to make an impact is necessarily limited by our own process of evolution and transformation.

Selected Links & Resources From This Episode

Connect With H.D. Lee:

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People Mentioned

Timestamps

  • (00:00) - Introduction
  • (01:10) - How Dean's life culminated into education
  • (06:41) - Why start a new school
  • (11:52) - Dean's mission with Nomadic School
  • (12:38) - What is the Self & how do we discover it?
  • (16:32) - How the economic system & industrial complex have effected education
  • (21:44) - Why traditional education does not help learners wrestle with the fundamental question of life
  • (23:44) - How to create a transdisciplinary school model for student discovery of the self
  • (29:12) - A day in the life of a Nomadic School learner
  • (34:25) - Challenges of starting a school with a radical model
  • (39:29) - How to help students find meaning and purpose through learning
  • (47:56) - What is the meaning of life
  • (49:11) - Call to action
  • (51:02) - How to push the world to Evolve

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FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

HD Lee

[00:00:00] Brandon Stover: Hey, you welcome to evolve the show to help you become a hero and solve the world's greatest challenges. I'm your host, Brandon Stover, founder of Play-Doh university. And I interview social innovators, entrepreneurs, and thinkers about the global problems we face and the solutions they have created to solve them.

Today's challenge education,

Our guest H Deanly is founder of nomadic school, which is dedicated to adolescents and young adults, exploration of the beauty truth and goodness, within a connection to something larger than oneself. Dean currently runs a life coaching practice with a focus on self-actualization and self-realization.

In other words, his work often involves a questions of the discovery and fulfillment of one's potential. As well as life's meaning and purpose His clients range from young adults to adults and couples and come from more than 20 different countries and cultural backgrounds.

And today Dean is going to share how we can support, facilitate cultivate and nourish discovery to a higher self and bring meeting to a student. If you want to hear more interviews about the education crisis and how we can solve it, then head over to evolve the.world/research/education.

so as we'll be discussing education today in much of your model incorporates the path of developing oneself. I wanted to touch a bit on your education and I've read that you've quoted before that learning has been the love affair of your life.

So formerly you received a bachelor's in economics in the nineties, but then undertook a masters in trans personal psychology in 2014. What happened during that 20 year period in your personal development that changed your path and how did this self-education differ from your formal.

[00:01:43] H.D. Lee: That's an amazing question. So I did a lot of growing up between the time when I got my my, my bachelor's, my undergraduate degree in business economics. And the time nearly 18 years later when I earned it by my graduate degree, my masters in transpersonal psychology. a big part of that was just, you know, working in the business world working for, for big companies like Pricewaterhouse Coopers fortune 50 companies and very small companies, video game companies and things like that, kind of.

As one would do when you graduate from, from college, you do you want to be out there in the world because you're, you're, you're supposed to be preparing for work and, you know, so just all the excitement of, you know, making money and becoming financially independent and all that. So a good part was that.

then I moved to Europe from, from the U S and T at the end of 2007. And then I became a father you know, quickly after that. So adapting to the life, work and culture in Europe particularly in Belgium, but also in other countries and other countries where I worked. So there was a S it was a very steep learning curve for me to adapt.

Well, not just the cultural, so, you know, the language as well of where I'm living. So that was a very steep learning curve. And then being a father at the same time for the very first time, I mean, those two have my hands quite full.

[00:03:15] Brandon Stover: Right.

[00:03:16] H.D. Lee: So that's what happened during those 18 years. But what kind of culminating in the transition from my work in business to becoming a life coach and, and teaching psychology and to now preparing the the start of a alternative school for teenagers, what happened there was actually this, the seed of you can do anything you want to do, which is, I think kind of a model or slogan that the Americans are quite familiar with and, you know, people come around.

Also no quite well like, oh, you're from, from the U S so, you know, if you just put your mind to it, you can do anything. Right. I mean, people see that to me, you know, Europeans and friends from, from, you know, not from the U S but that that's, he really, you know, to grew to my mind when I was in the U S between 1988 and 2007.

And so I've, I've often asked myself the question, you know, what, what do I really want to do? and that question just become became bigger and bigger and bigger in my life. And I don't know if you're going to be asking about this later in the interview, but a series of, you know, things happened in my, in my life, which, you know, led me to understand that my path goes far beyond just you know, climbing the corporate ladder.

And getting the material, things, material success. And so I started to search for that in my basically around my, my mid to late twenties. So after I graduated from college and then that search continued for, well for good 10 or so years before I stumbled upon a transpersonal psychology. But then I had already kind of been preparing for my, my, my shift and in my career because already my, my late twenties, I began to study spirituality, psychology philosophy, but also learning about many other very mundane and down to earth topics.

Such as well information technology you know, how to develop a computer system, how to program. Leadership training communication training and well, you know, very fun stuff from, for myself as well, filmmaking I studied quite a number of different things, but I've essentially been very thirsty to, to learn.

And I realized at the end of my college years, that in fact that prior to that were up until that point, I had been basically just trying to survive, and this didn't even occur to me at 22 years old, that the reason why I did it degree and economics and businesses was to ensure my economic more than my financial survival, because I knew I could not depend on my parents. And but that, that drive to survive was so unconscious that I just kind of like, okay, just let me get my university degree. Let me get my first job. So I don't have to worry about money. But then once that word was kind of taking care of my, my love for learning, which was always there. Cause I even loved traditional schools, which I guess we're going to be talking about.

But in this interview as, as imperfect and as outdated as our current educational system is, I loved, I looked at still. And, and when I had the freedom to then to eventually explore what I really want to learn, well, you know, I was like a kid in a candy store.

[00:06:41] Brandon Stover: Yeah. Well, what called you after this journey? What called you forth to start?

[00:06:47] H.D. Lee: I've always believed that there is a life mission for myself. And I constantly thought about it and dreamed about it and took all of the practical actions that I can take to find out what that is.

So that meant a lot of reading that meant taking a lot of different types of courses that meant you know, doing all kinds of different jobs. I think I lost count. I've worked for at least, I don't know, nine or 10 different companies I've worked in three or four different fields from information, information technology to.

Procurement supply chain to sales. I've been a trainer, I've been a contracts manager. I mean, I've done all kinds of stuff prior to starting new in my career as a life coach and as a, as a teacher in psychology all that is all that is to say that I've never stopped kind of exploring and trying to find out what, what is the answer to that question is which is what is my life mission.

[00:07:46] Brandon Stover: Hmm.

[00:07:47] H.D. Lee: And when I became a father now two kids who are now 11 and 13 years old. And when they were little, I, I wanted to, to teach them the things that I felt were really important. So I think play was very important. I played a lot with my kids but in addition to that, I spoke to them about spirituality.

I spoke to them about kind of what I was able to understand to the best of my bill. What is the nature of life and, you know, what is the nature of reality? And through that, I did a lot of hands-on pragmatic kind of teaching work with my kids. So I taught them the Chinese language reading and writing the piano.

I taught them meditation. We did a lot of, kind of you know, so exercises, sports, so kind of marrying some of the things that I would want to learn, you know, had my parents been perhaps, you know, maybe in the same point in their journey as I'm today I would have wanted them to kind of introduce me to these topics early on.

So I did that for my kids. And so in parallel to that, I was quite aware of that. I wanted to work with people. I loved explaining things. And saw the real kind of both, I think a talent and a desire to, to explain things to people, but what to explain, right? Cause I've, I've worked as a math teacher or actually a math tutor.

I've taught, you know well computer software to, to people and companies. And of course I've taught psychology. I mean, I, I was really aware of that. The fact I like to explain things. So I asked myself the question, you know, what would be the project or admission that will combine all of the loves I have in life.

You know, the things I like to do my strengths and it will make use of my experience. So I didn't want anything to go unused, I guess from my, my life journey. And one of the questions I get from people sometimes is, you know, I love to learn all these things, but what the hell is it for? And so ask myself the same question, you know, why, why would I learn about Chinese medicine and then about filmmaking and then about well, psycho-spiritual coaching, you know, what's the relationship there, right?

And it came to me that actually, as I was watching this film was called captain fantastic. That kind of gave me the aha moment about this, a father who was living in the forest with his six children. And he was teaching them everything from martial arts to survival skills, to the rites of passage, to rock climbing, to philosophy political science, physics, languages.

And I thought that guy looks really familiar and And I thought, well, actually, what I really want to do is to start a school like that, where you know, cause my love for teaching and learning went far beyond just my kids. I really wanted to want to work with people. And so that's kind of where the idea was kind of coalesced, you know, by watching a film, like something just came together inside of me and I was so excited, you know, so excited.

And at that point in time, I had already completed my graduate studies in transpersonal psychology, which introduced me to kind of this intersection of psychology, spirituality and philosophy whereby they asked the questions of, you know, what is the self, what is the personality? And you know, what is the relationship between the self and the universe.

How to fulfill human potential and, you know, what is world religions have in common and how w how do they speak to this topic of what the self and of God as well? So,

[00:11:44] Brandon Stover: Yeah.

[00:11:45] H.D. Lee: you know, and that, that became kind of the centerpiece for, you know, the mission vision I would have for the school,

[00:11:52] Brandon Stover: well, before we start diving into nomadic school and the problems of traditional education, could you briefly state your mission with nomadic school?

[00:12:02] H.D. Lee: My mission with the Maddox school clearly is to support, to facilitate to cultivate, to nourish kind of this discovery. Of the self with a capital S higher self and our connection to it. Essentially for people to connect to this, you know, true self and higher self the lines are a bit blurred.

It's not so easy to describe, you know, these concepts, you know, in a very succinct and comprehensible manner, but it's for people to connect to this this deeply, truly true sense of self.

[00:12:38] Brandon Stover: what is the self, how do you begin to start listening to the self much like you did throughout your.

[00:12:45] H.D. Lee: Quite a number of ways to do that, but the simplest way is just to really try to find, you know, what it is. Is it that you really want beyond survival? I mean, understand that even in wealthy countries first of all, countries, there are quite a few of us who are just busy trying to survive.

Right. and even when we are financially in materialistically assured it is still I guess quite easy to get stuck in that serve, serve survival mentality. So that the first thing to do, I would suggest is to, to go beyond that and find out what you really want beyond, beyond surviving, beyond food and shelter and beyond your egotistical needs of being recognized and being praised and loved, you know, what is it that, that you truly want?

and this is going to beg the question of, you know, do you really know yourself because what is it that we truly want? It's not something we actually decide because it comes from. Somewhere else. It's, it's not something you come to with a list of pros and cons, some kind of rational argument that you make is just a it is beyond the rational.

It seems to come from a deeper part of ourselves, you know, definitely in my case, but people are, are more so I think given emissions, you know, as a result of a combination of their life experience of the way they have kind of learned the lessons of their, their life's lessons their life experiences And often has something to do with their kind of promo wound or their sacred wound, something that, you know, they feel traumatized by and emission that just feels larger than themselves, which is both scary and exciting and feels like they're crazy.

[00:14:38] Brandon Stover: I really resonates with the story of your journey because I have experienced this myself when I went to school for architecture and then got a career in architecture afterwards. And I was absolutely in that state of doing things to survive. It came from a mentality when I was younger of being poor and having a single mom and growing up in an environment that survival was. main drive during then. And so I did really, really well in school in order to get a good job and a good career later, I'm seeing that as my way to survive but had found myself very, you know, deeply dispassionate about what I was working on feeling like I wasn't making a difference in the world with the work that I was doing and had reached a depressive state in that opened me up to hearing more from myself and eventually quitting architecture and actually spending a ton of time exploring myself and learning returning back to the joy of learning.

It's something I resonated with in your story as well. Because I really, really loved learning when I was young and after college. Working in architecture for a while. I just started learning a bunch of other things as well in different fields from the body to psychology, to philosophy, to technology.

I started trying out a bunch of different things as an entrepreneur. Seeing what I actually enjoyed and what called me forth and eventually landing back on education and I'm focusing on higher education, but your quote about this mission, being both exciting and scary something that's challenging you, but also bringing you lots of fulfillment is something that I've personally experienced.

[00:16:31] H.D. Lee: Well, you know how it is.

[00:16:32] Brandon Stover: Well, to help our listeners understand the problem from first principles, what are the root or core problems with traditional education?

[00:16:41] H.D. Lee: I took a few courses at the Institute for humane education, which I highly recommended love. And I took a kind of assistant theory type course there and the way they explained it, it made a lot of sense to me, but basically the S the system is going to function according to the purpose for which it was designed.

So and if you look at the current industrial age model of education, the purpose for what it was designed is to produce workers and. You know, I'm probably like the 10000th person to say this. Cause a lot of people have already said this. But indeed, that's true. So, you know, the system kind of asks question such as, you know, how do you fit into the system, right?

So you're not here to change the system, but you're here to fit in.

[00:17:26] Brandon Stover: Hmm.

[00:17:26] H.D. Lee: So students are more like that as passive recipients and to be orderly and to be controlled and the system, most of the asks, you know, how are you going to contribute to the system?

So the system is designed so embedded within the economic system is the educational system. And the educational system is thought to, anchor the economic system, if you will, and the economic system itself is there too. Well to, to grow indefinitely as companies this fictional entity has ostensibly you know, more power than, than, than governments.

So their, their aim is to grow and to benefit their, their shareholders. And they need the raw human resources to, to feel that growth that indefinite and interminable growth. So how are you going to contribute? Can contribute to that system? And so that's one of the things the educational system is designed to, to do is to get you to think hard about, you know, what's the, what is the job that you're going to do?

And do you have the skills to do that, right? And they kind of kind of pigeon hole you, or kind of put you in a category, like you're either about engineering major or you are a mathematics major, or you're an arts. But what if I'm both, you know, what if I'm about arts engineering, right? Like they don't give you that kind of organic approach to learning and studying.

And then I would say the third problem is the, one of the problems is that that they have a one dimensional evaluation of the human potential. So when potential is understood as kind of your intellectual power, you know, how well are you able to memorize? How are you able to calculate or critique?

It really sharpens the kind of the intellect of the psychological factor faculty. Of which there are many other aspects, you know, the imaginary, the creative the, the feeling emotional aspects, the intuitive and the physical aspects sensational or sensorial, I guess maybe that's the better word, but they, they really only sharpened the intellectual aspect of the psychological, psychological faculty.

And therefore we only have a one dimensional development of, of our potential which becomes very lopsided. And it becomes, self-evident the further we look on to the kind of people we quote unquote produce because kind of a factory style approach to education, the kind of people we produce for, for companies, for governments, they all think in a highly kind of organized and, you know, kind of.

Military industrial complex approach to, you know, conquering the market, conquering the natural world. It is all about competition. And it's kind of I think because of the, the, the time and age from which the educational system has evolved, especially during the times of Darwin, I think is in the 19th century.

If I'm not wrong with my timeline, you know, that one of his theories about the survival of the fittest, that that was, I think you surfed by, by well, you know, people with power to, to kind of enforce us. Okay, well, this is gonna be kind of the the bets though for how we for how we look at our world for how we devise our systems.

And, you know, it becomes very much the survival of the fittest kind of approach to education to. To everything. So so people are in one way or another constantly filling certain whether it's for their job or the company's filling certain from their competitors is all about competition. It's all about survival.

So I think one of the biggest problems with the current education educational system is that its emphasis is on survival. It's on competition. It is, has a lopsided approach to the understanding and development of human potential.

[00:21:44] Brandon Stover: embedded in nomadic schools, mission, as you were mentioning before is to have learners, educators and their families wrestle with these fundamental questions of life. How has traditional education lost its way in supporting this exploration?

[00:22:00] H.D. Lee: I think traditional education is very much informed by the materialist rationalist view of the world. Of which the only thing that matters is what's T w is what is tangible and material and all that, which is not, which is not tangible in material are relegated to superstition or, you know, something to be dealt with you know, by maybe by your religious organizations or who knows what so why am I saying this?

Yep. So, so essentially school Guinness thought it as a thought, as a place for for people to, to deal with the what's tangible what's material. And, and a second meaning of the word material important, right? What is important? And what is regarded as important is is what is being regarded as important by the system and what system is that?

Right. So that system is the economic system towards which economic structure is a well is basically a factory for this, this this economic system. So the questions of, of love, you know, too hard to measure too difficult to, to talk about well, why would we even bother with that in school? And, you know, the question of God, you know, too much trauma from, from our, our past history and, and rightfully so, but then, you know, the baby gets thrown out with the bath water and. No talk about spirituality, which is not the same as religion. And then many other topics that, that could be important such as our potential, such as our, our identity.

[00:23:44] Brandon Stover: what is the solution and new model of cinematic school that you're proposing as an alternative to this traditional model we've been seeing?

[00:23:54] H.D. Lee: Well, first I think the, the model itself, there has to be an R model for nomadic school.

There is a a transdisciplinary kind of connection to this question of self, the question of who am I. So whatever it is that we propose for the students to study in nomadic school, we want to somehow tie it back to this question of self, the question of. The relationship between the self and the world.

And when I say world, I don't mean just human societies and the planet. I mean, everything in the universe. So and so, whereas the model and traditional school is very much about kind of the development of skills for the the end for, for the end of well cure career competitiveness DEC, those kinds of things for nomadic school, the model facilitates your discovery and exploration, and eventually the the, the journey of Finding your path and living your mission.

So the motto that I believe is going to help us do that is well, first and foremost, experience experiential learning. And by that, I mean that anything we learned is going to have a lot of you experience it yourself. So if I take the example, let me think of a good example. If we're going to be learning about the, the reality that you have multiple aspects to who you are as a person, we won't just be reading about it from a textbook about personality theater.

We're actually gonna have you investigate this inner reality that the personality within you as composed of more than just one part, right? So you're going to do a lot of reflection and you're going to be doing maybe different creative activities from dancing to seeing to scientific investigation of certain phenomenon, to understand that there are different parts to who you are.

And so that's very experiential. So that's one of the first principles. The second principle would be that as much of the learning as possible would be we would invite the students to be self-directed and intrinsically motivated so that we are, if we do impose some kind of structure or curriculum, which we are, and we will, but we try to do it in a way that's very skillful and flexible and organic.

So So for example if one of the things that we want the students to to learn is to learn about the relationship between different things, right between economics and sociology, putting sociology in the sciences, for example. So in phenomenon based learning, we might say tell us a topic that you want to know more about and then investigate the, the reality or the explanation behind this phenomenon.

For example, a student might say, well, I'm interested in why the divorce rate is so high in our society. And by investigating this phenomenon, they will touch on the economic realities of how hard pans have to work and that they don't have time for each other. I'm going to find out about the psychological reality of how many adults are not mature.

In fact, even if they are making a living, but they haven't grown up yet emotionally they might end up exploring the question of love meaning what does the essence of love and what constitutes and guarantees the healthy continuation of a relationship between two to two adults.

And what role does love have to play in that? So by this investigation of a simple phenomenon of why is the divorce rate so high in society, they can touch on already on economics, on careers, on personal development and on something that's related to philosophy and even spirituality of. So so we want students to be intrinsically motivated and take charge and direct their own learning to some extent.

And this is one of the questions that we wrestle with, which is held tightly to hold the structure for the students. And for for me, as much as I, I respect and admire the courage of the approach of democratic schools or, you know, summer hill schools and things like that. Like for me, that's one end of the spectrum where a student have complete freedom and choosing what they want to do and compare that to the other end of the spectrum, where you have little to no choice on what you learn and how you do it.

And we want to strike that balance and give as much to invite as much of the intrinsic kind of will of the student to get involved in their own learning process. So if they don't have a say in what. I learned that they at least have the same how they do it.

[00:29:12] Brandon Stover: Sure. Could you give an example maybe of what a typical day for a student at nomadic school might be?

[00:29:19] H.D. Lee: Yeah. So a typical day would begin with just people connecting to each other. So a relationship is kind of the third principle that I have yet to talk about and, and how the learning model would be different than the medic school. But but I won't talk about that for now. I'll just talk about what the day to day will look like.

So the day-to-day, we would begin a day by connecting to each other, and that means that we will take some time. It might be happening. It might be a little bit more 45 minutes an hour, maybe to, to share what it is we want to share from our personal lives. Maybe something happened yesterday and somebody's family.

Maybe someone had a dream that they thought was very interesting to the wanting to share. And so have that time to talk to each other on a very personal level and then do something to connect with each other. So not just talking and sharing, but probably think some kind of physical activity, which could be some kind of dance, some kind of exercise to move the body and to wake up the whole the whole person basically.

So we would take the time to connect, to start our day. And then and then what we would do after that is we would. Tackle the topic or topics for the day. And here we are inclined or at least I am inclined to not stuff five or six different topics into the learning process. Throughout the day, it is quite possible through one course itself to touch on many different subject matters, but not the way traditional schools that where you have one hour of math, when are the English or whatever language in an of science in art history.

[00:31:05] Brandon Stover: Sure.

[00:31:05] H.D. Lee: So we would be more inclined to take the Montessori approach, at least in the the early years to, to the early years where students have three, our blocks to really get into what it is they want to learn. So that. In terms of time, we will give students a lot of time to, to get into the topic.

Now, what is that topic going to be? Right. And here we're also going to be different from, I think the great majority of the schools and that if the topic for the day or for the week is let's say about nutrition, about food, because nomadic school does not have a actual fiscal school. And a lot of it would be in person.

We would go to the relevant places for students to learn about nutrition and food. We might be going to visit the kitchen of a local restaurant. We might be going to the local farm to the local supermarket and even visit a nutritionist office. So going into the relevant, relevant places to have discussions related to the things that we're learning. And so that could take the whole afternoon, I mean, the the rest of the morning and the whole afternoon. And so we will have scheduled that's somewhat dynamic because one day to the next, or from one week to the next, it might not be the same lo location that we would be to, to do our learning.

Other than that, obviously, as we will move about as a group, and we would even have trips to different cities to different countries that will all be part of the, no, ma'am. School approach to learning.

But outside of that we will not have a rigid five day a week schedule to, to to run the school with what I mean by that is that it might just so happened that this week we're going to be doing a few days of learning at home. And we actually will a lot of time for students to, to do some independent learning and have them choose what it is that they want to learn and follow those courses themselves. So for example, there are a number of really I think great, all my learning platforms out there, two of which that I use personally, that I like a lot is masterclass and my Dolly. And so those are just two examples and I'm sure there are other good ones. But students can choose what online course they want to follow.

And if it's not an online course, maybe they will choose to do a, who knows a pottery class locally that they want to follow by themselves. So students will have time to learn independently and individually a topic that they want, that they choose on the days where we don't quote unquote have school.

And so again, there is no physical location to report to per se. And my understanding and our understanding is that learning is happening all the time. Anyway. So we're not going to confine learning to a very narrow concept, and we're going to have days where students can, can do everything from home.

And then they're going to be days where we're going to be on the road for me before, for seven days. So, yeah, that's essentially the day-to-day.

[00:34:25] Brandon Stover: Okay. With this flexibility, and I know you have to balance the flexibility with also the requirements like of, of running the school and being able to facilitate these different interactions and experiences. What challenges are you facing right now? And trying to bring the nomadic school into reality?

[00:34:45] H.D. Lee: Okay. So the question is, what challenges am I facing and trying to bring the school to reality? What kind of challenges you mean? Just practical challenges or challenges related to administration and like what level of challenge are you? Are you talking about specifically?

[00:35:01] Brandon Stover: Yeah. So the Ms. School hasn't come to fruition yet. And you are currently trying to get your first students. I'm, I'm wondering what the challenges are for you to maybe explain this model to families and, and prospective students, and then being able to actually facilitate this level of flexibility that Uranus.

[00:35:27] H.D. Lee: Got it. Got it. Got it. Okay. I think that the core challenge for, for me right now is w w whereas the vision is quite clear, the actual concrete program itself, the full-time program that would be good for a year, two years or three years. Like those kinds of details on having, you know, that that takes a lot of effort and thoughtfulness to, to pull together.

I would say that is really the, the core challenge. I think beyond that people I speak to parents specifically that I speak to about this vision and this model of education, people either say, what. Or they love it. So for those who are like, what is this, you know, like, you know, they're just kind of shocked out of their, their, their shoes. For those, you know, my challenge is going to be, to kind of show them that, that there is a path to the things that your children are going to want to do that may or may not be through university education because nomadic school in all likelihood is well, I would say, I don't know if it's going to comply to state standards, right?

So I'm based in Belgium and Belgium has a, well there, their requirements, legal requirements for what a student must do by the end of their secondary education, which is equivalent to high school in the United States. And so how are we going to help students to, to earn this certification that they indeed have passed high school?

So that's a question that I'm going to need to be able to answer for, for the parents who are interested, but are a little bit scared for like, okay, where's this going to lead to? So that needs to be worked out still. And and also probably, I mean, I want to offer reassurance, but I, I'm not here to convert the the non-believers I

[00:37:32] Brandon Stover: Sure.

[00:37:33] H.D. Lee: people who see value and who C who resonate with the vision of nomadic school are going to say, okay, let's do it right.

But let me, let me offer them some in some assurance in terms of, okay, there's still a path forward that your child will be able to find, you know, tour. Their careers towards maybe starting their own companies towards, I dunno, apprenticeship internship programs and so on and so forth so that they feel like, okay, not only will my child or children develop fully as a human being, but there is there is going to be a way for, for them to, to attain social financial independence, you know, after, after nomadic school.

So that, that, that's certainly going to be a challenge for, for us to, to demonstrate that. And then beyond that I think the question is going to be financial because without the support financial support of the government who on the one hand will give you money, but only if you follow the rules.

Right? So, so we don't want to be have our hands tied behind our back. So we won't take money from. From any sources, that's going to compromise the vision of the school. And therefore that question has to be answered, you know, where is the money going to come from and how can we make the school equitable and accessible to all those who are interested?

And so I think that's going to be the challenge, but other, otherwise I think finding people is going to be a problem interest to found these. I think people are, are, are ready for this kind of education.

[00:39:08] Brandon Stover: Yeah.

[00:39:09] H.D. Lee: I'm not saying the majority of people, but I'm seeing enough people are interested where I don't have any doubts that, you know, we're going to have our first cohort up and running.

Well, I would guess within a year. But yeah, the, the question is how do I answer, you know, these very down to earth questions.

[00:39:29] Brandon Stover: I wanted to return back to this idea of helping facilitate a learner finding meaning to their life and purpose. And in your writing, you state that learning is the process to facilitate the search for one's place in the world and be of true service. And I believe that also makes learning meaningful to the learner because you're connecting what the learner cares about in their internal world with what is maybe needed by the collective and the outer world. How does this change the learner in this process? How does this change the learner and bring purpose or meaning to their life?

[00:40:07] H.D. Lee: when you do know your place in the world, that in itself has infinite meaning and half it has infinite meaning in the sense that it brings you in an inexhaustible kind of source of energy. When I say energy, I mean, both psychological energy and even physical energy for you to, to get up every morning and just can't wait to get rid of these started

[00:40:32] Brandon Stover: Hmm.

[00:40:33] H.D. Lee: you know, that people talk about when I can just wait to get up, because there are all these things I want to do throughout the day, and that they just seems too short to do all the things I want to do.

That's when you can be sure that you are on the path, that you are connected to your purpose and that in some way, you know, you are finding your place in the world.

[00:40:59] Brandon Stover: What, what sort of frameworks or maybe activities are you helping the children with, to facilitate this.

[00:41:07] H.D. Lee: Yeah. Well, I really liked the model that is proposed by bill Plotkin, who wrote the book nature and the human soul and his other book Soulcraft. And he proposes a psycho-spiritual model of development. And he talks about, well, he gave very, very good examples, which I resonate with. And I'll, I'll share them here.

Well, you have to answer a few, very real questions for yourself. One of one of which is what kind of people do I enjoy being with, right? Because this could be your friends. I think back to the days when I was in junior high and high school I love to hang out with the nerds. I love to hang out with the gangsters and I like to hang out with the jocks as well.

So they were all my people and I found each group interesting. And I found something within each of them that I could connect to. And so the first question is, you know, what kind of what kind of social scene do you belong to and kind of being able to to yeah. Find your place socially first, because that in turns helps you to define who you are authentically because for, for teenagers, and this is really the group that I'm looking to work with through the medic school.

It's not, you know, children, it's not adults, it's really teenagers and people in their maybe in their early twenties. So young adults, right. And this is the period period. At which we are looking to define an authentic self and authentic self has to be serviceable for the social situations in which we find ourselves, be it school, be at work, be it family.

And so finding our place one of the first questions to answer is what kind of people do I belong, belong with? How do I relate to them? And we'll do they bring out in me? And then in turn, I would be exploring the, the values, the principles that a young person has. Eric Erickson talks about this as well, the, the well-known psychologist and and so at this age, again, at the phase of the adolescents People are either looking for something to support or something to rebill against either way they're looking to, to define and shape, you know, what it is that they believe in and they, and, and what it is behind which they want to give their support.

You know, they want to kind of put their weight behind it. So looking for some kind of a cause that they they resonate with, but through that understanding, okay. You know, what I really care about is it about, you know, about equality? Is it about animal rights? Is it about you know, woman rights? Is it about children's rights?

Is it about protecting nature? Is it about expressing beauty in the world? You know, w what is it that I really care about? So really kind of find your valleys, find your principles, find, find out what it is that you really want to. Connect with and and further explore. So funnier place has a lot to do with, with that as well.

But then beyond that, I think if I refer back to kind of my, my own examples, because I, I, I I've lived, I grew up in Taiwan and then and then later I lived in Los Angeles and then later in San Francisco, like I had a direct response to the places that I was living. I knew what place I liked and what place I didn't.

So, and even if you haven't, you know, live outside of your own home country, if you have moved at all, you know, from one house to another house in my life, I've moved. I dunno, I've lived in like 20 different houses, which is crazy. Like you have a direct physical response to the place that you live in. You know, do you like the place that you live in?

Like I hated Los Angeles because it was too much driving this too much commuting. It was concrete city, you know, no nature within the city itself. One had to drive an hour to go, go to the beach or go to the mountains. So what kind of place inspires you? Where do you want to live? That's also finding your place in the world.

Is it in, you know, is it in the forest? Is it in a hustle and bustle city of sky of skyscrapers? Is it a sprawling suburb, like Los Angeles, you know, where do you want to live? Where do you want to be? And so that's also a very tangible question that you people can ask themselves and that inevitably will help you understand, you know, who you are as well.

And I found that I felt like I felt my place when I moved to Belgium because this place combined San Francisco. It had a bit of Asia as well, you know, not literally speaking by just some of the feelings I would have. And so that's another question and well, and there are other things as well, you know, finding a place in the world necessarily involves, you know, what are your, what is your strength?

What are your talents? Because not because you're still altruistic and you care so much about other people, but just people are naturally self interested. They want to learn about, you know, the smaller learn about the things they want to learn about. Like they, they won't even be able to give you a straight answer about that.

It's like, like my daughter just wants to learn to play the guitar because why there's no way she just wants to do it. So she does it. So, and then when you have that innate urge or innate drive to, to learn something, as I did in my twenties to learn about drawing and painting, well, I did it and it was very satisfying and.

There were certain foods that I've harvested from my process of learning to draw and paint. And that later became something important for my vision for education. So, you know, there was a series of kind of turn of events, if you will, just from exploring what it is that you're good at, but students don't mind people or teenagers, don't ask themselves that question.

What am I good at? Well, they might ask themselves that question, but mostly they act at a very kind of subconscious or unconscious level. Like they just wanna, you know, go do stuff. Like they're all, they're all about action. It's all about the experience. Like, and let's talk, shut up, let's go do this. You know, so

[00:47:56] Brandon Stover: I will run out of time before I run out of questions. So I have, I have a few more, but with all that we have discussed today it would be a crime not to ask. What do you believe is the meaning of life?

[00:48:09] H.D. Lee: The, the meaning of life is going to come to you when, when you are, are, are searching for it. When you are living the big questions the questions being, you know, what is love and you know, what is God and what does that.

W what am I here for like that the meaning of life is going to come to you when you try to live those questions through very concrete experiences, through working, getting jobs, through getting married, getting divorced, having kids, you know, starting on business, all these things you got to live your life 100% authentically and and interact with life itself in order to, to find the answers for these questions to the extent that that is satisfies you.

And because you're going to change, you know, what's going to satisfy you is going to change as well. So it's a it's an unending process. And so for me, the meaning of life comes from, from living these big questions.

[00:49:11] Brandon Stover: Before I get to my last question, is there a call to action? You'd like to leave our listeners with.

[00:49:15] H.D. Lee: I would love it if the listeners will check out nomadic school. The website is www nomadic school.org, O R G. And that if you resonate with with this vision that I have for education, if you somehow want to either participate as a learner, as a parent, as a facilitator or teacher or as a F as a funder well, I would love it for free to have a look at the website to contact me.

Even though we're primarily running the school in person. I'm very much in contact with with people from around the world from Mexico, from India, from the us from China. So that nomadic school can also be started in independently in these different locations. and through this network of nomadic schools, we will have online projects and activities.

One of which we're, we're, we're going to be piloting in January, which is as a initiative where we have adolescents from different countries around the world, pop to each other about these big questions, about love God, about death and different things. And so there's an online component to a nomadic school as well.

So don't be dissuade if you're not in Belgium, because, well, I love to connect with you anyway. And I think no medic school. One of the many answers that are coming up for, for how the world needs to evolve in water. Well, I think in order for, for more important things to reveal itself so yeah.

Thank you for, for asking Brendan.

[00:51:02] Brandon Stover: Yes. Well, we'll put links to all of that in the show notes for everyone. My final question is how can we push the world to evolve?

[00:51:10] H.D. Lee: Yeah. Well, I think the answer for that would be quite simple and we have to evolve ourselves because our ability to make an impact is necessarily limited by our, by our own process of evolution and transformation. So yeah, if we're. If we're not digging deep or for not looking to grow, looking to learn looking to really experience life at the deepest level possible.

We, we, we cannot push anything really. So we have to be able to push ourselves first.

[00:51:44] Brandon Stover: Well, wonderful. Dean, thank you so much for coming on the show. Like I said, I have many more questions, but I think maybe after you have some traction with nomadic school and have put some of these thoughts and implementation would love to have around to down in the future.

[00:52:00] H.D. Lee: Absolutely. Thank you so much. Brandon

[00:52:02] Brandon Stover: Thank you for listening to the evolve. Podcasts links to everything we discussed today are available in the show. Notes. Transcripts are also available in the show notes and everything can be viewed on our website at evolve. The doc world that's evolve the.world.

My one ask for you is to share this episode with others. If you know someone who is interested in social impact, social entrepreneurship, or just making a difference in the world, please share this episode. The challenges in our world need all of those who can contribute to existing solutions or create entirely new ones. so please share the show with those kind intelligent people who are just like you until next time my friend keep evolving.

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