Sometimes it seems we have given more thought to how to raise a beautiful flower than we have given to how to raise a child.

Luther Burbank, a world famous horticulturist, spent his life experimenting with and raising almost unbelievably beautiful flowers. He was a man of nature and interesting opinions. Here is what he thought about raising children:

1. Keep them outside (away from books and study).

2. Respect individual differences; you cannont expect them to develop alike.

3. Be honest with the child. “The child is the purest, truest thing in the world. “

4. Don’t be cross with a child; don’t be harsh.

5. Give them the best possible environment.

6. Let them have music, art and laughter – – a good time – – one of cheerful occupation. Surround them with beauty.

7. Give them (like plants) sun and air and blue sky.

8. Shun education in the academic sense, as you would the plague.

9. Give them simple, well-balanced food.

10. The integrity of the child’s nervous system is impaired by “education” for the first ten precious years of his life.


The Spark by Kristine Barnett took my breath away. Once I had started reading, I could barely stand to put it down until I had turned the last page.

I’ve always been a human potential junkie. Somehow I intuit that all things are possible; limits are illusory and it’s just a matter of turning things in a slightly different way to achieve a WHOOSH!! into an entirely different reality.

Here is a mother with a non-speaking, severely autistic child who, by following her own loving and nurturing instincts discovered that her child had an I.Q. higher than Einstein’s. (As you may have guessed by now, I believe all non-brain dead children have genius waiting to come forth; their own sacred, hardwired SPARK.)

What did she do? She encouraged him “to lean into his passions.” She noticed that allowing children to do what they love brings all of their other skills up as well.

She says “Showing a child that you take his or her passion seriously and want to share in it is the most powerful catalyst in the world.”

This is exactly where traditional education goes off the track: it just keeps pounding all those lovely round pegs into those intractable square holes, insisting on trying to make all children just alike. Tragic – – That’s what it is.

The learning center, which is the subject of this website, will allow every child the freedom to pursue his/her passion from morning ‘til night and give strong amounts of genuine, serious support and enthusiasm.


Recently I saw a rather wonderful T.E.D.x talk about children and play. It was based on solid research, delivered with calm but very firm directness, and simply rang very true.

As a child who woke up every morning thinking about what I was going to play that day, it struck a strong chord with me. As a grandmother who notices the difference in the kind of play I experienced as a child and the kind I  see my grandchildren experiencing, I found it quite compelling.   Here it is. I hope it will stimulate your thinking and that you will share it with others who care about our children, our grandchildren and humankind.


Margie is my dear sister who lives in California. Although I don’t see her often, we stay in close touch by telephone. Close is what we are: not in miles but in heart and mind.

Wonderfully wise and epigrammatic, she’s always coming out with lovely original thoughts. Here’s her latest:

“The reach of the imagination is immeasurable, and the restriction of it is unthinkable.”

How often in schools are flights of the imagination encouraged?

The Truth Comes Out

It’s probably only fair to tell you that when it comes to thinking, talking, writing and working to help release the human potential, I am probably a bona fide fanatic.I think I know where the influences came from that made me this way. (This format won’t allow me to make paragraphs, so I’ll start each new one with a star.)
* For one thing, (and this really is a big thing, strangely enough) I moved from East Tennessee to Monterey, California for the first year of my marriage, and spent all the time I could at nearby Big Sur, called by Robert Louis Stevenson “the greatest meeting of land and water in the world.”
* So everlastingly expansive, enchanted, wild and free is that surreal seascape that every time I saw it, thoughts equally as untamed and unlimited swirled within me, almost against my will and right mind. Henry Miller said of it, “This is the face of the earth as the creator intended it to look.”
* The main thought that came to me there was “If this is possible, what else might the creator have intended?” The answer always came back: “Plenty more.” Millions of wildflowers create a crazy quilt of brilliant neon colors against ground covers of sage-green lichens, and chartreuse mosses. Vigorous winds twist gnarled trees into spectacular shapes while they tease the mist lying in coves between rugged mountains. Below
are turquoise lagoons, surely populated by elusive mermaids.
* Enormous foamy waves crash against craggy rocks while gulls cry, and sea lions bark. Ocean smells are mingled with lavender, eucalyptus, and pine, along with the negative ions, which energize everything within you.  And then – – oh!- – – and then, there is that inscrutable deep blue totally placid sea beyond, that seems to go on forever and ever, hiding who knows what? “Puff” the magic dragon, at least.  Possibilities, possibilities, possibilities . . . . .Yes! Anything seemed possible: all creativity, all chemistry, all physics, but especially all beauty, intricacy and subtlety.
* Although I’ve never been to the Esalen Institute located at Big Sur, I’ve long held wonderful notions about “The Human Potential Movement” that grew up in such a place. It’s easy to understand why it happened there and why it continues. But, I have not gone just yet because I almost don’t want the reality of it to “burst my bubble.”
* Another major influence was my unusual houseboat up-bringing on a clear and beautiful blue-green lake near Norris, Tennessee. It trained me to notice endless varieties of shapes, colors, textures, sizes, winds, and weathers, as well as the subtle energies and small miracles of transformation. Always, the secret processes that turn the unremarkable into the magnificent and the lowly into the exquisite confounded me. As if all that were not enough, there was star gazing from the flat houseboat roof: peering through the Milky Way into endless worlds beyond this one while the contemplation of it would just about pull the brains right out of my skull some nights.
* Later in my life, I discovered the act of gardening, the carrying out of creative stewardship that is so bountifully and gloriously rewarded. It left me in a state of awe about what could be – – – with just a little thoughtful sowing and tending,
* Through it all was a constant observation of uniqueness and the heady realization that no two “anythings” in the entire world are exactly alike. How stupefying!! How amazing beyond belief! And those mysterious processes are always underfoot, gradually unfolding.
* Also giving me jolting sparks of amazement has been the act of looking around in large libraries, thinking about all the questing, creative and infinitely varied minds that have so quietly but effectively injected their own divine juices into the spicy and mysterious stew of civilization.

And then of course there is “the field,” that matrix of subatomic particles all around us, just beyond our senses, which scientists have come to realize, is teeming with invisible possibilities awaiting the creative mind of mankind to fashion. I almost begin to dance a jig, so eager am I to co-create.
* But, by far and away the strongest influence of all has been the time I have spent around babies and young children, before they have become corrupted by this imperfect world of ours. To my way of thinking, babies are absolutely the noblest work God has ever been able to fashion. I just know He (or She) would agree…
* A new and long-hoped-for baby brother arrived in our family when I was at the impressionable age of nine. Towheaded, perfect and totally adorable, he became my constant favorite plaything, my human “wind- up toy,” and the object of my own private study of how kids learn and develop. How I scrutinized his every move, and how amazed I felt at his gradual endearing developments! How I marveled at his flawless wee toes, the adorable little round muscles in the calves of his legs, his bright, curious big brown eyes, his first earnest efforts to understand and be understood, and his expressive range of emotions! “How on earth did this miraculous living creature come to be?” I wondered. magic had landed right in my lap!
* Later, with the arrival of my own children, I resumed this intense study and, as you will see, became passionately obsessed by the human potential that is merely hinted at by something as wild, and wonderful and full of infinite possibility as the Big Sur coast.
* But then – – then – – Oh… daily reality: whenever I see dull-witted, slack jawed, half inebriated people lying around as “couch potatoes,” and think about how they started out as little babes bursting with marvelous potential, it simply rips my cord, as they say. I deeply know of their astounding make-up, and the incredible possibilities latent within them. I feel almost crazed to try to help them get back to it. I sense that they feel they are imprisoned and hence doomed to the lives they are leading.
* Perhaps because I was a breech birth during which both I and my mother nearly died, I value freedom of movement almost above all things. When I perceive the trapped state of human beings it gives me an almost physical pain.  Ah! Well…so now, at least you know with whom you are dealing.
* As you read my writings, you will probably note that I have chosen to quote Albert Einstein a lot. There’s no doubt that he had one of the most brilliant minds of human history, and was an intriguing example of human potential at its best, even though he modestly denied it. But when I started noticing quotes from him, I was amazed and delighted to realize than his mind was not only full of equations and theories, but was also packed with exquisitely beautiful wisdom pertaining to learning. We need his wisdom, and so I have liberally sprinkled it around and make no apologies for doing it.
* You’ll also notice that I borrow from Maria Montessori quite a bit. She, more than any other human in recorded history, had a passion for helping children really learn. She was the first to give her life to assembling (out of her own creative mind and imagination), the first comprehensive prepared learning environment for hands-on learning. Her deep and sincere respect for and love of children shines like a beacon of light through everything she wrote.
* With everything in me, I sincerely believe that it is time for humanity to set all ages of people free in a totally well-prepared natural learning environment, reawaken their natural instincts to master it and see what happens. Like the Kitty Hawk, if it gets off the ground and actually flies, the Concorde can come later.


Apologies for the long lag. Technical difficulties with a log-in password are to blame. Sixteen digits of every kind (not chosen by me) had to be in perfect sync in order for me to open the editing page.

Sometime technology is enough to hare-lip the queen.

At any rate, I will re-start my engines by this wonderful quote from A Course In Miracles:

“Your whole purpose of learning should be to escape from limitations.”



Today I read the words of a sincere, hard-working teacher who is also a young mother – – it brought back full force the piercing pain and dread that I experienced 47 years ago when I realized what would be happening to my own children once they started school. How is it possible that things are still so bad?

Surely to goodness, we’re ready to try something brand new.

Have a look:




Do you think for yourself?  Always?

Or are your thoughts still in the mold that was created for you when you were a child?

Many are not even aware that they are NOT thinking for themselves.  The mold becomes their comfort zone:  safe, predictable, accepted by peers, languidly pleasant, non-threatening to the culture at large.

Progress (the exciting and rewarding upward development of mankind) depends on those who actually encourage their own original thoughts and seek to discover where they may lead.

“The most necessary task of civilization is to teach people how to think.  The trouble with our way of educating is that it does not give elasticity to the mind.  It casts the brain into a mold.  It does not encourage original thought or reasoning, and it lays more stress on memory than observation.”  – – Thomas Edison

“Elasticity of the mind”:  Hmmm.  Try it;  you’ll like it!


The public library I frequent is adjacent to a school playground.  It is interesting to listen to the pitch and tone of the children’s yells as they burst from the door at recess time.

George B. Leonard, author of Education and Ecstasy made some insightful observations:

“It has been my experience that, wherever the classroom situation is repressive and antithetical to learning, the playground situation, in direct ratio, is hyperactive and equally antithetical to learning.  In true play the child is intent, responsive, unhurried, completely involved.  There is a lovely seriousoness about it.  The child who explodes out of and in reaction to a static, non-learning environment is hurried, unresponsive, indeed almost spastic.  This is not delight; it is desperation.”

I yearn for the day when people of all ages can truly play and play all day with lovely seriousness, and in so doing begin to hugely benefit the world with their insights, discoveries, creativity and inventions.