I just got accepted to the Northstar Youth Worker Fellowship 2019-20! This is one of the most profound breakthroughs in my life, and absolutely in the last 3 years. It’s equally a miracle that I have this in the aftermath of one of the most insane destructive houses I’ve lived in, on top of my 2 new jobs in the field. The following article is relaying half of my replies to the application questions (the relevant ones). I just reread everything and put it all together in the bigger picture, realizing that the research topic I’ve chosen overall is based on the practical study and application of my universal philosophy, Intrinsic Abundance. It should become apparent as the story unfolds that this isn’t just a profound opportunity for me, but for so many more people.
It is the potential for astounding transformation and opening gateways to self-determination that even I can’t imagine.
I’m not letting anything get in the way of my unrelenting dedication to exploring this philosophy.
Northstar Youth Worker Application 2019: Nemo Sundry
**What work-related challenge or problem would you like to work toward solving?
Economic competence and empowerment. An integral part of the youth independence crisis is the severe lack of economic independence and competence to lead one’s own life, yet it remains invisible. To self-liberate from dire situations- family abuse, limited work history, dependence on toxic jobs, dependence on abusive relationships, handicapped by schooling, and continuation of the cycle for as long as they are economically dependent.
When the individual explores at the street level in their own community and local economy, they become aware of whole new worlds, and this exponentially grows their choices in ways that can’t be seen otherwise. Becoming really skillful with economic choice and understanding on the human level allows people to make decisions so subtle and precisely individual that it transforms a past of poverty into a future of abundance, resilience, and sustainability- which improves life for people around them.
Part of the trend that perpetuates this problem, besides blindness, is bias against economic competence and cultural resistance that fuels ignorance- including rejection of entrepreneurship, currency, or any activity that makes money. Additionally- conflating responsibility with punishment. While this cultural resistance is often aimed at “the rich” or “people in high positions of power”, in effect it actually cripples economies at the bottom end and harms the working class, including youth in dire need of a chance to lead their own lives.
**What organizational or community policy do you believe would advance/improve the practice and field of youth work?
Expand respect for youth autonomy in areas that create the biggest barriers to empowerment and increase economic health at the organization-level. Many youth agencies have developed extensive strategies on how to respect youth autonomy when they make harmful or disempowering choices that continue to perpetuate their situation. Youth workers at many levels recognize the importance of taking small steps and respecting autonomy to give a client the best chance of making real improvements.
The key is the individual’s own realization of their needs and boundaries over time. We should look in the other direction at barriers that prevent young people from attaining self-determination, and consciously make space for those unconventional life choices. This includes emphasis on non-school choices in work and future, being honest and realistic about college in context, supporting promising entrepreneurship in unconventional ways (Amazon seller, online business), and creating self-funding organizations that remove government regulations that currently hurt clients and our ability to help. In the bigger picture, organizations need to become economically competent based on self-determination if they are to successfully support the same wellbeing in the people they serve.
**What good idea would you like to promote related to your work with young people?
In my work I highlight the myth that external materialism defines abundance and poverty. Instead I reframe the focus around self-determination. If abundance is autonomy, competence, and interconnection, then poverty is dependence, ignorance, and isolation or abuse. This unearths the root unmet needs, and most importantly the needs that drive motivation and purpose in life, while stepping outside of societal norms and hearing the person’s individual heart.
Self-determination is universal, and uniquely powerful because the combination of these 3 needs transforms life for all of us. We all need to be respected as individuals with the space to make decisions about our own lives (autonomy), yet we also depend on each other to uplift, support and build symbiotic relationships (interconnection). And we need the wisdom and skill (competence) to design this well. My aim is to continually find real-world examples on the micro and macro level and separate each step to show how these three needs play a role. This is also how conflict mediation works, by listening for the general need underlying the surface story or conflict, and reflecting that back to each person so they can get beyond those barriers- it reveals key information and therefore solutions that can’t be seen any other way.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES:
Self-Determination Theory by Ed L. Deci & M. Ryan
Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg
Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn
Free to Learn by Dr. Peter Gray
The Conscious Parent by Shefali Tsabary
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön
(economics) the work of Thomas Sowell, Dr. Warren Farrell, Johann Hari, Jordan B. Peterson*
*In April 2018 I released an extensive video and article analysis of Chapter 5 from 12 Rules for Life by Dr. Jordan B. Peterson– while I find inspiration in his work around responsibility as a gift, self-determination and pragmatic application of self-improvement, I find Chapter 5 completely contradicts these tenets. Dr. Peterson’s understanding of youth autonomy has evolved since writing it, which can be seen in this profound conversation on youth and family with Dr. Warren Farrell.