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Are you American enough to read this?

Might you agree that Americans are under-educated and over-taught?

In 2011, Steve Denning wrote this in Forbes Magazine: "... being educated includes: a demonstrated ability to listen carefully, to think critically, to evaluate facts rigorously, to reason analytically, to imagine creatively, to articulate interesting questions, to explore alternative viewpoints, to maintain intellectual curiosity and to speak and write persuasively. If we add to that a reasonable familiarity with the treasures of history, literature, theater, music, dance and art that previous civilizations have delivered, we are getting to close to the meaning of educated."

Mr. Denning has created a long and inclusive list, and would be an almost insurmountable task get all that knowledge in a single lifetime using traditional educational means and resources. I would like to suggest that a different approach to civics education is an excellent way to start. Teaching civics with and emphasis on the learners life instead of facts and details engages them from the beginning. Civics won't make omniscient experts of everyone, however we can have a different understanding of civics, take a different approach to teaching the subject, and generate enthusiasm for learning more.

FIRST, we should have an agreeable understanding of civics. Most pubished definitions are very polished and academic sounding. I think most of the published definitions would turn most people off to the subject ... and it's most people who should be interested.

I have spent most of my life studying and participating in various forms and aspects of civics. More recently I began learning more about how other people regard civics. This life-long effort has led me to conclude that lots of really smart people have parts of the concept, but no one (else) has completed the picture.

This is Mark Keillor's definition, and I hope you see its value:

  • CIVICS is a study (and consequent understanding) of the ...DROPP





  • PROTECTIONS ... in some examples ...

... of citizenship and/or membership in a group or organization.

We are all citizens of multiple communities and we are all members of groups and organizations. Think Dallas, Arizona, church or other religious organization, the family, the neighborhood, sports teams, social media groups, left-handers, immigrants, veterans, etc ...

After this introduction, let me get to the point. I am writing this blog to effectively communicate the importance of civics education and how it will benefit YOU, your community, your business, your country, your family, your descendants, your relationships, and your quality of life in general. My life experiences and research are what I want to share with you in simple language with illustrated examples and references ... in an easily understood manner and in relatively short, digestible segments.

In this multi-directional journey, we will explore the many components or "ingredients" of civics education and civics understanding. A good journey should be a memorable as the destination and I think you will enjoy what is coming. Among the components of our journey will be an understanding of community, the American Dream, relationships, building community wealth, historical and pre-history examples, Biblical references (primarily Old Testament), increasing your personal wealth, how politics fits in, about your job, taxes and public spending, infrastructure and public services, America's Founding Fathers and founding documents, debt and deficit, leaders and leadership, import and export, and more. Your comments may temporarily lead us down side roads, and that will be great adding more value to our discussions.

Let me tell you about my journey with civics education through this last day of 2023. I found interest among some churches and non-profits where I have connections. These were due to my personal relationships and the support of a few members who saw the value I brought to members, families, and clients. However, neither the churches nor the non-profits were interested enough that they would add civics education to their already tight budgets, busy staff, and popular programs or services.

That, I believe, was extremely unfortunate because the programs I presented were extremely successful, some even made money for the "sponsors." Part of my plan in those early trials was to collect comments and suggestions from participants. What they wrote to me on evaluation forms and to my email were amazingly ALL constructive and positive. The best reactions are posted on the Civics Day Camp website, so please read them.

According to an Internet survey that I conducted over a three-year period, virtually everyone in America believes that civics education, leadership education, and economic literacy are important to their communities. Some of the results are shown in the graphic to the right. There are several more related graphs that I will be publishing in future posts.

Now about the obstacles. I mentioned that my earliest sponsors were not interested in continuing the program for their members and clients. I have written to and met with dozens of potential sponsors in the part of the state where I live. PUBLIC SCHOOLS are driven by state-mandated curriculum. and student driven extra-curriculars. That's all they can handle and feel they are accomplishing their purpose by offering the minimum required civics related classes. Note I said civics related, not civics. PRIVATE AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS are much the same as public schools with the difference being that they intend to be more successful and efficient at meeting, or exceeding, the same curriculum requirements as public schools.

I had high hopes for VETERANS ORGANIZATIONS, but had a rude awakening. After visiting and meeting with local post leaders, I learned that local posts are heavily focused on a few local charities and providing food, drinks, and entertainment to their members. Unless a new idea is brought in by an influential member, little will be added or changed. National veterans organizations seem to be formed to help Veterans with problems. Though the Veterans they serve do need the help, their advertising and fundraising campaigns create a perception of Veterans as a needy population.

Veterans of all stripes have much to offer, and civics education should be one of them, especially since no one else is taking responsibility and it is a critically important task. To begin with, Veterans are the most patriotic subset of Americans ... in America and among expatriots. In addition, many are highly educated, certainly well trained, and wise. They are responsible and dedicated. Veterans have much to offer America at all community levels and I hope to see a greater involvement in achieving my mission from my fellow vets.

I have already demonstrated that CHURCHES and their members can benefit from civics education. First of all, their members generally attend services in family groups. Second, churches are communities, organizations that prosper and accomplish their missions with the help of civics principles (DROPP). I believe that civics should be learned, experienced, and lived in family groups and settings. Civics should be shared around the dinner table, at family gatherings, and be instilled in the American values that have become prominent thanks to the foresight of our Founding Fathers and founding documents.

Let me put in a plug for CIVICS DAY CAMP, the "live version." The live version is designed for groups and organizations with a particular focus on multi-generation family groups starting with 6th graders with no upper or outer limits. You can read more about it on the CIVICS DAY CAMP website.

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