Lego Block

The lego block. Pure genius. 

Even as toys get more complex with remote controls and flashing lights, the lego block remains supreme. Fads come and go, but there is always lego.

Its pure simplicity is its brilliance, but also its power. 

A block with endless possibilities. A unit of wonder.  A cell that can be built upon in any way you imagine to form shapes of incredible complexity. 

Just like our own human bodies, small units of wonder, protons and neutrons that are arranged to create infinite combinations of cells and organs. 

That is the power in the lego block. 

The winners of all categories in life understand the power of the unit. 

Yogis have units of poses 

Meditation the breath

Construction, a wood plank

Artists, a color

Experts who master their art, understand the components it is made of. 

In the end our success is mastery of the unit.

However, until recently, education did not understand this fact.  Education like every other field is made of blocks, of competencies, of skills that create a curriculum of competencies. However, while educators claim to “teach” we never let them touch the unit. We don’t let them build, we give them sets. 

Lego also has this business. For $200 bucks you can have this.

I get the appeal. It’s easy. It’s no risk and you get this pretty globe. I would even say therapeutic like knitting. 

It’s also good business. Lego can charge crazy money for this packaged experience and you really have no idea what the true cost is? You only see a packed deal. 

That’s college. A lego set. The sets are majors. English, Science, etc with clear requirements and a large check to go with it. We funnel our students through these sets and yes we can charge a lot!

But let’s be clear, that is not true learning and today’s jobs don’t come in majors. Nor does mastery come from this track as we haven’t given them the block. We haven’t allowed them to create and stack. They have only learned regurgitation. They have learned to follow instructions that come in the format of papers and tests. There is no expectation nor should we expect it after completing a list of steps, that a student on demand can make another lego globe or make an iteration that is all there own. That currently is not part of the learning process. 

Education needs to change to allow students to be the builders. Give our learners access to the blocks and build their own unique shapes that map directly to their core interests and goals.

We’ve seen other industries go through this transition fueled by the consumer’s demands for the block, the power.  The music industry is a good example. 

Remember the days when we bought albums?  Entire albums of music to get that one song. We would pay 20x for that one song. And remember what we did in return?  We created mixtapes! You could not stop us even then from creating.  We want the song, but in the order and next to the other songs we want to listen to. 

And that is what the modern student is saying. I want the unit. I want to MYX my education. I want to be the decision maker and create something truly my own that gives me the exact skills I require for my next. My own reMYX. I will create. I will build. 

I am the master of the lego block.

The movement where education is a continuous self made soundtrack is upon us. Where personalization reigns supreme. 

The future of higher education is here and the student is holding the mic. 

And with that I drop mine!

Ukraine

We have all been so challenged as parents these last years. Having to explain things that we never thought we would have. We explained to our children the need to wear masks, we explained why they can’t see grandma. We did unthinkable things, but that is what we do. We protect our children.

And now parents in Ukraine have another impossible task to explain to their children. They need to explain why they now sleep in bunkers, halls, and their fathers may not return home. Why they are at war. And why its not stopping.

And then within that horror, there lives another set of parents, cancer moms and dads.

The cancer parents who already lacked words to explain to their child that there is an enemy living inside their body trying to kill them, now have to do this in basements of hospitals that are losing electricity and lack the critical drugs these children need to fight.

How does a mom of 3 children with one in treatment for cancer and a husband on the front lines survive?

I only know one answer: With community coming together to save her. 

Let’s do this Nightwing!

This is where we BAND TOGETHER.

We are getting these children out. HELP US!

Donate here

Mentorship opportunity

Dear friends of MYX,

At MYX, experience is everything.

It’s what we do best.

A MYX education is more than credentials, our students get hands-on, real-world experience applying their new skills and kicking the tires on potential academic and career pathways.

The MYX Project, is one of the integral parts of a MYX education. Through the MYX project, students showcase mastery of what is required for their “next.” As you can imagine, they are as distinctive as our students. These Projects enable MYXers to leave with more than theoretical knowledge and a transcript. They leave with a compelling portfolio of actual work that shows future employers, admissions officers, or investors that they’ve acquired real skills through the application of what they learned.

One of the critical success factors of a successful Project is having a feedback session on project ideas with someone related to the field of study. It is just one phone call/ zoom, but this is an important part of the project process. Not only do students receive critical feedback, but gain practice in the art of building networks.

I reach out to ask you to join our network of professionals with stories to tell and perspectives to give.

The time commitment is no more than 30 minutes per term (every 4 months) at most. All done over zoom! I assure you this will be an incredibly enriching and rewarding experience!

Please list all of your interests. You don’t need to be an “expert” just experience.

For example here is the list of the fields of interest I listed:
Entrepreneurship, cancer research and innovation, education, cognitive sciences, teaching, administration, dance, installation art

To join the Network, please complete this form.

Thank you so much for your consideration.

Last one standing

She was the last one standing.

I wonder what that is like being last. I don’t think any of us envision being the last one standing. Instead we envision our funeral full of people swapping stories and passing tissues, but what if there are few people who know your story left?

My last grandmother died. This was just shy of 102 and she was the last one standing. All of her friends had passed, her husband had passed, and honestly her mind had passed. For the past 3 years she hasn’t really known where and who she is.

How could she? No one was left to remind her.

Our identity is tied to others. We have meaning because others see us and value us. When the value goes away, we may lack purpose suffer from depression, but when the entire group fades, where does that leave someone? Alone.

While I mourn my grandmother, I also am happy for her too. Her life was not hers in the end. She did not have the community to bring it to life. But someone has to be last. It has to be someone and I assume it is left to the bravest.

I hope to be as brave as you grandma. Brave enough to be the last one standing.

Delayed

He was getting annoyed, I could tell. His gaze following me across the room as I place the third meal of the night in front of Jacob. Yes third. I may have overdone those prayers in the hospital praying for him to eat. He eats!

But back to the child that never eats, Benno.

I promised him I would be ready by 6:30PM. I made that promise at least a dozen times within only a 4 hour time period as he reminded me over and over and over again. Truly painful. And as promised I am there right at 6:28PM, two minutes early, which I point out to him…only once.

He is giddy with excitement. And he did not joke when he said the VIP experience. There picking us up was a limo, black and decked out with lights. Benno was pickled pink. I can only describe it as a spastic jumping movement, but he did this all over the limo, from seat to seat. Until he settled right where I thought he would, by the door facing forwards. This kid plays it safe. 

He was non stop verbiage. While it can be argued that non stop verbiage is his homeostasis, this is that on hyper drive. You can just nod away, he doesn’t really care. He is mainly talking to himself. But I do listen. I hang on every word. I note that we need to remember to go to the counter as the airline is giving away free products. Benno hopes to get a neck pillow. Alrighty. Our ideas of a good time could not be more different, but this is Benno’s trip. I’m just a passenger here for the ride.

I can’t help but notice my son’s apparel. He is in full camo (dark, gray type) and wearing a helmet with a mic and on the back of his helmet he has night vision goggles. I ask him if he really thinks this is an outfit to wear to an airport. He is surprised by the question. What do you mean? What’s wrong with it? I begin to try to hint about looking like a terrorist, but decide best to not go down that route. 

Turns out it doesn’t matter, he just keeps talking.

Non stop verbiage.

We arrive.

Spastic bouncing recommences. 

We get out and go to check in. Turns out we are too early to check into the flight.  Benno has ensured that we are FIRST to get there. I am about to make a comment. “Does this mean I get to sit in the airport longer? Oh yeah. Thanks Benno with my signature cutting enthusiasm. 

But I stopped myself as I see we are not alone. Dozens of people are hopping about trying to check in. Some of them just stand there and putting their information into the machine over and over expecting a new outcome.  And the people sighting was legit. Vegas buffet had nothing on this smattering of species. My favorite was the guy (I’m assuming as he had chest hair), hopping around in a ballet outfit with a unicorn horn. I now understand Benno’s utter confusion previously. He is dressed just fine. He fits in great and no one seems to care that he looks like he is carrying a weapon.

While I watch, Benno just chips away at that machine and he does manage to check us in within 4 minutes. Not too bad. However, I spot with my watchful eye someone at a kiosk walking away with a neck pillow. I point this out to Benno, who without skipping a beat frantically gets to the kiosk, only 2 people beat us there. Benno is pleased. Not bad. We get to the front of the line and bang neck pillow around our necks. 

Benno thanks me. No literally that happened. And I quote: “Good job mom. Look what you found. So glad you’re here.” I wish I could have recorded it. Strange that all it took was a neck pillow. Next time for dinner I may just serve him up a pair of compression socks, which I’m told is also a traveling must. This must be his love language. Noted.

We are now hopping our way in the terminal, Benno frantically looking for our gate. And we get there to see.

DELAYED

What?! 

Now this is my breaking point. 

Benno informs me that “this happens.” 

Now I understand this happens, but this entire flight was in Roblox. We were hanging out in a “video game”and my son paid REAL money to go on a flight, VIP style (with a limo). But all of this was from our couch.  All not “real” (real is in quotes with real intention…for another time, spending a lot of time thinking about what real is- be curious how you would define it).

And I have spent my last three days pondering on this moment. 

I saw the future reality and how in this new reality… our children are building worlds and while you can jump and get to a plane in a 2 minute limo ride, in the end, it’s just as complex and disappointing as the physical one.

Even in the metaverse things will be delayed.

That for things to feel real to humans there has to be “suffering.” There has to be loss. That the games do BETTER (more people buy etc) when it mirrors our own world. That our children are leaving the physical world to create it in a metaverse where they can move faster, but in the end, find things delayed.

The wish

It’s been two years of attempting to get this secret. It has taken a soft persistence and, yes, a bit of manipulation, but I did it. I got the secret. I got him to spill the beans.

I first noticed the secret on birthday number 7. Jacob, a child who is not one for quiet or introspective moments, got serious over his birthday cake. Very serious. I had never seen a face like that cross his face before. He stood there for a good 45 seconds and then he blew. 

Since that 7th birthday, I’ve watched that face reappear over fountains with a penny clenched in his hand. But when asked…”nothing” or “I can’t tell or it won’t come true.”

Steve always applauded this answer. That’s right buddy. But nope, not me. I had to know. My children are not one to keep secrets, this was a personal mission. So for the last two years I prodded. Even when he would come out of a bone marrow sampling surgery and groggy from the meds I would ask, but he was vigilant over his secret. It was his alone. 

But that recently changed. 

 I told Jacob that wishes are more likely to come true if multiple people are wishing the same thing. It gives it more POWER. I told him that I had helped daddy make a dream come true. This perked up his ears and he asked what. Luckily quick on my feet I made something up and he seemed convinced that I have special powers.

And then just like that he was whispering into my ear.

He prefaced, “my wish is impossible…”

First, no one ever dies.

Second, that no one feels pain

Third, no one gets hurt

And after a long pause he threw in and I can eat whatever I want without getting fat.

I listened as if I just learned the nuclear code. I asked him if I could repeat it back to be sure I am wishing correctly. This pleased him. I was taking this secret secretly.

Number 1- no one dies. I ask if this means human beings only. He thought about it and said. No all living things, but then blurted out “there will be too many humans then, that could be bad for the animals and environment.” But when faced with the idea of a human dying, he stuck to his original plan, no one dies. 

Number 2- no one feels pain. Nod of approval.

Number 3- no one gets hurt. Nod of approval. 

Number 4- you can eat whatever you want and not get fat. A smile goes over his face. I laugh. “Eating is my passion! What do you expect?”

So I keep wishing over here. You may think that is silly as Jacob was clear all of these are impossible, but how wrong he is. I don’t think that is true. I already see a lot of progress on all fronts. People are living longer than ever. I have three grandparents that made it to 100 years old or over. I see that mental health is finally being treated and taken seriously and people’s pain is at least validated instead of ignored. I see a safer world. And the fat thing- that is already solved through bio hacking and soon will be available to the whole world. 

I got your wish Jacob. I got you.

I love you.

I’m sorry that YOU experienced all of the things you wish others not to experience. You saw death of your peers, you felt incredible pain, and yes you got hurt. 

But you and I can fix all of that. 

One penny, one candle at a time.

1716480

1, 716,480 minutes.

Turns out that time did tic on.

The clock was working, but I could have sworn 1, 716,480 minutes ago that it had stopped. That Jacob was captive and so was I in a living in a nightmare with no way out. I truly questioned and had to watch the clock for days just to make sure it was moving. And at times…I wasn’t too sure.

And here we are 1,716,480 minutes later.

It is Jacob’s LAST day of cancer treatment. 

Yes. I just said that.

It is honestly surreal. I was unsure if this day would ever come. I can name 4 different occasions that we had this date in sight and then BANG change in protocol or some complication and more drugs, more surgery, more pain. 

But here we are. 

Today, September 22nd, 2021

And Nightwing did it.

No normal allowed in this house

ONE DAY. That is all the normalcy this family can get? ONE DAY?!

The boys have been exposed to Covid, a real close exposure. We are now forced to quarantine, which means no school, no “new normal.”

Jacob who has waited 2 years for school, will wait longer AND the hospital isn’t sure if they can treat him next week putting him off protocol. What those implications are…we just don’t know. 

I write to vent as I’m running out of things that are throwable. 

I write to pray to the universe for a bit of relief. 

For a second I thought I got something back today. I was even willing to take the rain drop off with no big goodbye. I was willing to settle. I was willing to look at the silver lining. I was being grateful.

And then gone. The news that the boys may have Covid, that Steve with one lung is at risk, that the kids were hysterically crying last night about not going to school, and that Jacob will miss treatment going off protocol…that lining disappeared fast.

Unfair. Unfair. I’m calling it.

Words!

The best gift is the gift of words.

Especially words you have been looking for.

The proof. The evidence that someone else literally feels the exact same way as you.

It’s validation. It’s also so oddly uplifting even in the darkest of topics. Just knowing- You ain’t the only one out there, matters.

These words were gifted by a fellow fucking tired person!

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.huffpost.com/entry/i-am-so–tired_l_61375f2ce4b0df9fe27b4bde/amp

New Normal

It definitely was not the plan. The plan being the movie playing in my head for the last 2 years.

I envisioned this very clearly. Jacob returning to his school in New York. It marked more than an end of cancer, but the beginning of “normalcy.” 

That I would be able to say  “I’m dropping the kids off at school.”  After two years I would have a house without children to homeschool or oversee online. And my kids would be “normal” and maybe that would make me “normal” too. 

I would create this vision of today in the middle of long nights at the hospital. The visions could not have been clearer. I had certain friends next to me and Jacob’s friends would hug him and point “look Jacob!.”  And when it was time to go inside, I would hug Jacob at the door and watch him go into the classroom. I would hug his teachers. I would hug everyone in sight. I even kissed the floor of the building.  Then I would head to work.

Life would automatically become NORMAL. Plain normal.

That is not exactly how it went. 

Instead I waited in a long line in the rain filling out Covid health forms, in a sea of masked kids and adults. Once at the front of the line, Jacob was moved into a stairwell door and poof he was gone. 

It happened so fast. The day I spent 100’s of days envisioning happened. Jacob was in school. 

I walked away. Cried a bit by myself. Not quite sure what those tears were. No, actually I do.  They were tears of defeat. Defeat. That there is no normal. That there is no “again.” That all I want is to go back to a time that is gone. The people are different, the world is different, why did everything have to change?!

But then I came home and watched this video. 

And I’m changing my tune. Maybe different isn’t so bad. 

Jacob seems totally fine with different and children in general seem fine with different. He didn’t have issue with his entrance. It was only me.

It’s us, the adults who struggle. Who can only envision and dream from what they know. And it seems that we only wish for a future of knowns. We dream of certainty. Visions with no lines. Visions with familiar sites (places and peoples). Visions of no rain. 

And those dreams are only harmful as they require “again.” There is no such thing as “again.” It will never be the same.

There is only now.

And NOW I have two boys in school, on a rainy day in New York and I “go” to work (at my kitchen table). This is my new normal. It isn’t what I envisioned, but it also isn’t a hospital bed. And I am thankful for the now. 

I am ready to build a NEW normal. It will not be the “vision” it will just be the now.

PS- Benno’s first day back to school too! I forget that he too has not had a normal drop off in 2 years! He was distant all last year. It is a big day for him too! 4th grade:)