The Human Gap

When Oskar Schindler was asked why he sacrificed his fortune and risked his freedom and his life to help Jewish families in Krakow, he responded, “I know the people who would work for me. When you know people, you have to behave toward them like human beings.”

Empathy begins with knowing someone.

This coincides with Dr. Karen Osterman’s research at Hofstra University. Osterman summarizes her research by saying “The more I know about you, the less likely I think of hurting you.”

We must close the human gap. We must become known.

Reflections on Work (from my experience)

- See your work as service to humanity and the world.  Don’t work just for money.  Your work is an ever-changing process of serving the needs of others.

- Be compassionate and empathetic to all you serve.  Seek to understand their needs.

- Use common sense.  Simple language, simple solutions, keep to the basics.  Be a person of character.

- Treat your colleagues and workmates like dear friends and beloved family members.  Don’t just hire people.  Adopt them.  Bring them into your heart and your home.

- Care deeply about your service.  Those we serve offer us a blessing of opportunity.  Our work would not exist without those we serve.

- Be clear on your values.  Make sure your personal and professional values are in alignment with each other.  Openly share your values with all you serve and all who work with you.

- Focus your work on integrity, courage, authenticity, and transparency.  Be vulnerable and generous.

- Encourage the personal and professional growth of everyone you work with and everyone you serve.  As our work grows, we share our growth and we become more productive and purposeful.

- Work on building trust everyday.  If you make a mistake, make a sincere apology.

- The ends DO NOT justify the means.  The process of the work is essential.   The answers to problems are often found in the process.  Trust the process. 


LifeSkills Conference 2016

Our challenge continues to be finding a way to deep, meaningful conversation. “Around 10 billion text messages were sent globally in 2012, but how many of them involved conversations that inspired, consoled, or touched people?” - Empathy by Roman Krznaric

Our LifeSkills Conference is dedicated to deep, meaningful conversation. We challenge ourselves and each other to be vulnerable, authentic, and transparent. Through activity, as well as small and large group conversation, we explore the deep and sensitive aspects of being human. Our empathy and courage take us to new territories in human trust.  We slow down and become attuned to the needs of others. Our empathy is built on mutuality. We risk being open with others and they, in turn, feel safe to open up to us.

“The antidote to shame is empathy… if we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” - Brene Brown

We must be kind and gentle with ourselves and join together in compassionate community.


DaVinci and Experiential Learning

What are our primary means of learning? The politics of education would like to keep us trapped in our outmoded limitations of words and numbers. Our human history tells us that our primary and most effective means of learning has been experiential. Leonardo DaVinci has always been one of my heroes. His seven principles of learning are all experiential.
  • Curiosity (Curiosita) – An insatiably curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning.
  • Demonstration (Dimonstrazione) – A commitment to test knowledge through experience, persistence, and willingness to learn from mistakes.
  • Sensation (Sensazione) – The continual refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to enliven experience.
  • Smoke (Sfumato) – Becoming open to the unknown. A willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty.
  • Art and Science (Arte/Scienza) – Whole-Brain thinking. The development of the balance between science and art, logic and imagination.
  • The Body (Corporalita) – The cultivation of grace, ambidexterity, fitness, and poise. Balancing the body and mind.
  • Connection (Connessione) – A recognition of and appreciation for the interconnectedness of all things and phenomena. Systems thinking.
DaVinci developed his explanation in anatomy and drawing by dissecting bodies. John Dewey believed that “all genuine education comes about through experiencing it.”

Our Social Emotional Learning Toolkits provide educators with a hands-on experiential, enjoyable series of lesson plans that are activity-based & integrated into every content area. Please visit for more information on our K-12 Social Emotional Learning Toolkits. They will bring life back to your classrooms and your students!

Endless Immigration

We all lead lives of endless immigration.  I find as I grow and develop, I am always arriving in new lands.

Working towards becoming a good man leads me constantly to new experiences.  When I became a husband, I immigrated to the country of Sandra, her family and all the blessings of her unconditional love.  When I had children, I entered the world of fatherhood.  I am still trying to find my comfort in this country.  I sometimes feel judged for being other then what others want me to be.  In the world of work, I am a nomad, moving from mission to mission.  Each service point, an oasis of purpose and meaning.  Many friends have welcomed me into the hearts of their country.  Some have asked me to leave. 

I am aware we are all immigrants.  We will always be leaving one shore to find another.  This life has been a great adventure.  There is still one more leaving and entering.