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Today, I get to talk with Nathaniel A. Turner. For context, this episode was recorded on September 21st of 2021. So let me tell you a little bit about Nathanial Turner. He's an entrepreneur, renowned speaker, author, philanthropist and leading parental empowerment activist. The human propulsion engineer is the author of multiple books including Journey Forward : How to Use Journaling to Envision and Manifest the Life You Always Wanted, The Amazing World of STEM, Raising Superman, Stop The Bus: Education Reform in 31 Days and It's a Jungle Out There : Powerful Parenting Lessons Inspired by the Lion King. Turner appears regularly in numerous national media outlets. The TED talk speaker strives daily to change the world. He wants to make the world a place where race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status no longer dictate the writing of anyone's destiny. Nate happily shares his template for living our best life, including being intellectually ambitious, globally and culturally competent and humanitarian driven. So let's get right to it.
Hi, I'm Lindsay Lyons and I love helping school communities envision bold possibilities, take brave action to make those dreams a reality, and sustain an inclusive, anti-racist culture where all students thrive. I'm a former teacher leader, turned instructional coach, educational consultant and leadership scholar. If you're a leader in the education world, whether you're a principal, superintendent, instructional coach or a classroom teacher excited about school-wide change like I was, you are a leader and if you enjoy nerding out about the latest educational books and podcasts, If you're committed to a lifelong journey of learning and growth and being the best version of yourself, you're going to love the Time for Teachership podcast. Let's dive in.
Nathanial Turner, welcome to the podcast.
Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here.
I'm really excited that you're here and I would love to just invite you to share. I know we read your professional bio at the start of the episode.
Is there anything else that we should know about you that listeners should understand in terms of who you are and the conversation you're bringing today to the Time for Teachership podcast.
Cool. So the that you just used the word "who" and I would say that the thing that I like people to know about me, but not so much about me about themselves is that I believe that the most important word in all the human languages, the word "who". And I believe that, because "who" is what will show up on your obituary, "who" will show up on your eulogy and "who" will show up on your tombstone or wherever it does, there's some remembrance of your life. And so I encourage folks because I'm encouraged to do this every day to be led by my "who". And how I do that is I ask myself daily: who did you help, who did you serve and who knew their life matter because of an interaction with you. So that's my one word : "who".
That is a fantastic way to introduce yourself. Wow and so much wisdom right off the bat. So thank you for that.
I'm curious to know, I love Dr. Bettina Love's work and she talks about freedom dreaming and she describes them as dreams grounded in the critique of injustice. And so with that in mind, thinking about freedom dreaming through that lens, thinking about, you know, what education could be, what is the dream that you hold for education or you know, the family role in education? However you kind of concede with that question.
Sure. So I'll see if I can answer each aspect. So what do I expect? What would that my dream for parents and that parents would actually be what educators proclaimed parents are, which is that their children's first teacher. And so I would, I dream of a day when parents are actually prepared from conception to be their child's teacher from conception through college graduation. That doesn't do very much. So what would that look like? It would look a little bit like Lamaze would look like Lamaze for parents where parents were being trained and coached along the way so that they did every step of a child's life.
They were more than adequately prepared. So, hey, I'm getting ready to have a baby? Well what should I be doing to make sure my child succeeds academically in the future. Oh, I should be reading to the baby in the womb. Oh, I should dance with the baby as soon as the baby is here. I should play language tapes or in the crib. But there what kind of I should eat a certain kind of food and I just serve a certain amount. I should read all the classics with my baby when they're small and we should continue to read those classics that will show up on an S. A. T. Or A. C. T. Test or whatever down the road. So that's right. That's one of the things. Or their parents understand that there is no work life balance and that these offsprings that they brought to the planet, they deserve their undivided attention as much as possible and that they have to be focused on that more so than their own career. So that's one aspect. What I hope for students? I'd like for students to actually have a process to be successful. Most children that I meet,
most students don't know how to succeed at school. I was one of those kids. So an interesting story with my son. When he returned from Brazil and decided to apply for college, he applied for 31 America's top engineering schools and was accepted to 27 of them, had more scholarship money than most schools most graduating classes get on their own. But when he started his freshman semester, freshman quarter, he was like three weeks in and he sent us a Google hangout message and said, "I can't do this, I don't think I could be an engineer." Because what had happened? He lived in Brazil, played soccer, been away from being a student for a while and suddenly was getting ready to be an engineer. And the process of being an engineer was so much different than the process of just being in high school. So what we realized is that he needed a system so that he could be successful. So I said, "hey man, if we can just get through this one, this one quarter. Hang in there. When you come home, I promise you we'll create a system".
And we did, we create a system of 20 things he would do every day, seven things he would do each week, three things or four things he would do each quarter or semester. He does that stuff even today. The subsequent semesters, or quarters afterwards, he never earned less than a 370 and he worked on 3 degrees and got into seven PhD offers directly from undergrad. But it wasn't because he was bright. It was because you had a system, we call it the Academic Success System or we tell people to lead with your ass. So, that's what I would hope. I would hope, we would give students tools, techniques and strategies so that they could be prepared. And then the last part is I would like schools to be places of mastery rather than places of a grade point averages and test scores. I liked it if a child was a supposedly eight years old and they were a third grader that like my guide daughter was, if she was ready for high school geometry, she could just take, take geometry.
I like it if a child was 14 and they were ready to go to college that they could go to college. Because in fact, I don't see why kids are still in school or young people still in school through 18. We don't live in an agrarian society anymore. So there's no summer, no reason to take a summer off of learning. What to say there was a learning loss. It seems like there's no learning. Learning didn't get lost. It was a misplaced. You want: just stopped! So I don't know. So I'd like to see, you know, that different. I'd like to see the structure of schools be different. I'd like first to go to what are micro schools or in some ways revert to the one room classrooms again where it's just learn and learn to master material as opposed to learning what supposedly is needed for a particular grade level. I apologize if that was a long answer,
That was perfect. Oh my gosh, there was so much richness in there and just ideas for action to like beyond the vision, like you're moving to, like, here's the system and here's what we are doing and here's what we can do.
So I just love the detail and that response. I think one of the things I'm curious about is like that, I think there's so much work in this. I think is like mindset and like just having different priorities, like you're explaining this idea of the one room schoolhouse and moving to college at 14 and like these things that really break with tradition but would ultimately be great. And we have to like wrap our heads around, like how do we shift our minds to envision that and prioritize the things that needs to be prioritized versus prioritizing "This is the way we've always done things. So this is the way it goes." And I'm curious to know like, you know, what are those mindset shifts that you think, either the educational system or families or you know, whoever it is, that that should have that mindset shift. Like what is it that they should be thinking about are prioritizing in this work?
Sure. So I'm gonna go back and do it the same way again. So, I'll start with the parents. The mind shift for parents, is that parents have to stop outsourcing. I mean that's one big mind shift. If there are other mind shift certain, but one big mind shift is that parents have to stop outsourcing.
So what do I mean? There was a point in time where I believe people took parenting and thought of parenting somewhere rose is almost a profession that there was this realization that: "hey, my legacy is the legacy of having a child do better than me.". But somewhere along the way that is lost. So then, and now the legacy is, well, if I can brag on my child having done something good, I'm cool with that. But the work necessary to so that my child can do something and live a life better than me, I'm not so sure I want to do that. So I'm gonna outsource everything: the moment my child is born, six weeks after my child is born, I'm going back to work. I'm going to work and I'm going to give my child to a daycare. Now the daycare is gonna be, my child gets gonna be predicated on how much money I make because everything in America is pretty predicated in many ways how much money I make. So some kids are gonna go to daycare where they just sit in a room and look at tv and some kids are gonna go to daycare where they're actually learning in a room and they're gonna, and that's gonna pay off in the end.
So one of the things I think parents have to stop outsourcing and realize that whether or not I have wealth or privilege or not, it's still my responsibility to find a way to make sure that my child, who I invited to this planet, they did not invite themselves here, but they didn't show up at the border, I invited them here, that they, that I should treat them like a welcoming and honored guest. So that is part of the shift, to just take full ownership for your child's future.
What I think children have to do? Well, part of children's issue is what happens at home. So some of you can't ask them because they're trained many times to do nothing because they've been in the household for nothing. So in Indiana as an example, I don't think you have to go to school till you're aged seven. So if I've never been asked to learn, if I've never been encouraged to read, if I've never been encouraged to do math, then it's gonna be very difficult. But we have to find a way to help children be able to see what's possible. And I think one way to do that is just ask kids the question.
guys I met, we talked earlier. If the world were perfect, you'd want to do what? Because I don't think most adults ever asked children what they wanna do. They might say, I want to be a basketball player. And then if they say that I say, well, cool, you want to be Lebron James. Well, he is six foot eight and 260 lbs. and runs a 4.5 40. So this is like, let's look at your genetics, Can you do that? No, Mr turner, I probably can't do that. Okay, well let's pick something else that we can do. There's a lot of other things and then once you can tell me what it is you want to do, Hey, there's this thing called Backward Design, we can start designing how to get you to where you want to go and we can give you the tools and techniques. So I think the idea is to get Children to dream audaciously, but then find the support systems to help them to do that.
What do I want to see what's the mind shift for educators? That education is not a destination, it's a part of a process and perhaps we should move from calling people educators to maybe enlightenment coaches,
where, because for me, when I think of when people say I'm educated, it's past tense. I attended Butler University. I was educated at Butler University. I went to law school. I was educated as a lawyer at Valparaiso University. I attended, you know, Valpo Graduate School, so I have a Master's degree. So those are all past tense. Very few of us are talking about what we're doing today to remain enlightened. And so I think that's an aspect that in education, even the educators have to change their mind about the knowledge content and realize as Socrates says : "I know that I know nothing."
That is so powerful, especially because I think about like the various teachers who have either worked with or had as teachers who have, you know, use the line, well I have my degree and it's like, oh I don't know, that's the message, we want to center it there right? Instead of like the modeling of here's what I learned today and here's how I learned it today and like here's what you know, we're all gonna learn today, what do you want to learn today? I think you just captured so much in there from asking students what they want to learn to, you know, all the way to, to thinking about like that redefinition of what it is to be a teacher and a lifelong learner and that model.
So really great mindset shift there, I love those. You mentioned the Backwards Design, which I am a huge fan of and so I'm thinking now we can move to kind of the actions. You know, like what does this look like? And I know you have a really powerful process that you alluded to earlier that you have developed your own child and thinking about Backwards Design. Could you speak a little bit to Backwards Design in that process you've created?
Sure. So I know Backwards Design is an educational theory and I believe it was established and I can't get a person's name, but I know it was a Vanderbilt. So in 94 I was a fledgling when, you know, 93 I married. In 94 in the farm, my wife announced that she was pregnant because I always tell people in 94 I wasn't pregnant. Today men say we're pregnant. No, no, no, 1994 she was pregnant. And so 94 she says, hey, I'm pregnant.
She says, no, it's plus it's plus and I see this early pregnancy test.
And long story short, I'm like, okay, I'm gonna, we're gonna fail miserably. This neither one of us are prepared for this. We both had these tumultuous childhood. And so I thought here I am, I'm about to graduate in December, I learned and I'm gonna be a father in October. And I'm like, and I don't know where I'm going to work, I don't have a job. I mean I'm about to have this law degree in this joint Master's degree, but I don't know what I'm gonna do. And I said to myself, man, if you had gone to a better law school, if you have been more prepared. So when you were taking the LSAT that you were applying for law school, the elite law schools would have invited you to attend, you would not be sitting here right now trying to figure out what your next step is because you have all kinds of options throwing your way? And I said, okay, well where, what school would I have gone to? And I'm like Harvard of course I would have gone to Harvard, then one ranked school and so I wrote Harvard for an application and then my wife and I, when we got the application, we took the application apart and decided that if we could, if the world were perfect, if we could do what we needed to do, could we get a child to meet the academic qualifications of Harvard?
So that was our sight. Harvard was the destination and everything we did, we did backward right to do that. So Harvard's first element on their application said we want obviously students to do well academically and like, well we don't have a baby yet, but what do we do while you're pregnant to make steps? So we started doing those kinds of things, reading in the room, right? And she would increase their vocabulary and make sure she ate properly and make sure she exercised so that her delivery was easy, so we didn't put any additional emotional stress on this unborn baby, right? And you know, make sure that I didn't cause her stress and I was a loving and kind of a, you know, a happier version of me that I possibly could be. And then when the child was here, like what would we do from an educational standpoint? So we want to make sure we can, the child can read early. So what does the science say about having a child read early? Well buy these big posters and show the infant pictures and make the sounds and all the pictures and spell out the letters and tell the colors and do all that kind of stuff. And you wanna introduce new languages, play language tapes in the crib and so instead of hearing ga ga goo goo come out of our mouth, you would hear "hola como estas bien y tu" right? "good morning", "guten morgen" takes your place.
So that was part of the "here's what Harvard says we have to do academically". And then the second thing we didn't recognize was that before the application that Harvard also asked for students who are world citizens, then that was the word they used in 94. Like wow, so that today that really speaks to cultural and global competency. So like, okay, well and we have to make sure he can learn at least speak another language. So that was the language text right? And then at every step we would get, we would want to introduce him to people who spoke another language. So we had, we bought like Reader Rabbit and Jump Start, with today is Duolingo and other things are available. But the night before there was CD-ROMs and you put the CD in and the child would listen to it and do stuff on the screen. And so it was a little bit interactive. And then the last element on the Harvard application was that you, they were looking for students who cared for something greater than themselves and like, okay, well then that's what we call today, humanitarian driven. He said, well everything he does in his life has to have a component where he is doing something for something, some calls greater than himself.
And so that became the template that we use now which is intellectual ambition, which we call a little bit more than just grades but wanted to make sure you could do think critically. Second part is global and cultural competency : Hey, we want you to be able to speak in other people's language, but we also want you to understand other people's culture. You cannot be the person who was always asking people to understand your situation and your history. What about having a context for other people's history and other people's experiences? Because when you do, it's going to make it easier for everybody to come together. And then the last part was that we wanted him to care for something greater than themselves and everything that you would do in your life have to be predicated about that, because as I was, as I mentioned earlier, people are always gonna judge you by who you are, by your words and your deeds.
Wow, that is so powerful and also just so brilliant to be able to just deconstruct that application and then figure out from the womb, like what are we doing?
So I love that approach as an educator and a Backwards Design thinker myself, I love it and I appreciate all of the really tangible things from someone who even is just figuring out they're pregnant to be able to listen to this episode and be like, all right, it starts now, here we go, that is fantastic. I'm curious to know as you kind of got to know your child and learning kind of what he was interested in, like what was the path of kind of facilitating that engineering and he's ending up at the engineering school and so what was that like to kind of facilitate that learning about, you know, being an engineer and those kind of skill sets?
Sure, so the interesting thing is I had no preconceived notions or any intentions that he would be an engineer. In fact engineering was the furthest thing that I would imagine he would ever do. He was so good with writing and language and so forth. You know, here we are with an African American child who is 16 and is fluent in four languages and conversational and two others.
So you're like, okay, he loves to write and he started this little foundation and he's caring for. It is written about a book. He's writing a book about what are we gonna do today, which is to encourage other parents to be more involved in their children's lives. And he started this foundation to work with homeless teens.
I have no idea what he is going to be interested in that. What I would tell you we did Lindsay. And again, is it brilliant or is it accidental? Right. Is it trial and error? Right. I always tell people he's kind of like the project and he's been the test case dummy, right? Sometimes that we just wanted to make sure, essentially I would say it's a little bit like the proverbial buffet table. We wanted to make sure that he was prepared to eat anything he wanted to have off the buffet table.
I grew up in Gary, Indiana. I was not prepared if you can imagine life as a buffet table and that the best things in life, the filet mignon, the Dom Pérignon, the caviar that are all at the left end of the table and I had the stuff at the right end of the table, the hot dogs, the bright, the sausage in the can, the crackers, the cheese. When I showed up at the buffet table, they would point to me and say no, you stay on this side of the table, with the inexpensive stuff. You're not ready for the other stuff.
And what we wanted to do is just make sure that he had the opportunity to choose wherever he wanted to be on life's buffet table. So it wasn't until he went away and spent time playing soccer in Brazil that he then said : "I think I'm gonna be an engineer." And Netanya, which is my wife and I said : "What, an engineer? Okay, alright." And of course he's done well enough in math and science, to meet the academic requirements, but it was never our plan. That's what he was.
I appreciate you saying that too because I think sometimes we do have, or I've definitely had students come through my classes where they are like my parents that I'm doing this, and so that is what I'm doing and I, you know, in talking to the student, you get to know them and you're like, well, what is it about being a doctor for example, that you want to do? I actually hate medicine and I hate science and I, okay, so you actually don't want to be a doctor, interesting. And so it's, I think so much of what you're talking about is so great because not only do you have to structure this backwards plan, but it's also fluid and flexible enough to actually follow whatever it is that your kid is passionate about and I think that's so important both for families and caretakers as well as for teachers that we just need to be able to follow the passions of our students because otherwise you're just gonna promote disengagement and be like, I'm just doing this because my teacher told me, or my parents told me and that's not good.
Yeah, I mean we wanted to make sure you had a like a wide variety of things he was introduced to. And so when you get enough things you get to introduce because the child can say, well I don't like that and I said, well, have you ever done it? Well, no. Well how do you know you don't like it?
So when our son first started playing soccer, he doesn't, he hated it. "I'm gonna be the worst person out here." I said : "you are, you are the worst. You've never played. You're terrible, so you're at the bottom. Let's just start with that." And then he played and then we start talking about soccer. But soccer is a metaphor for life. I said, well you're not any good at it because you don't practice. You're not any good at it because you don't do the right things to be good at it. You're not any good at it because your mindset is terrible. So let's talk about how to change your mindset. Let's talk about visualization. So can you imagine you're in a car with a four year old and you're talking about visualization and then one day you're in the car and you look in the back seat and the four year old has their eyes closed, and you said, "What are you doing?" He said, "I'm envisioning how I'm going to play today." Right, okay, right, "and I'm going to school, I'm gonna steal the ball and I'm gonna go down the field and I'm gonna score a goal." And he goes out and does that. And then you're like, oh well right.
And so now that four year old understands something about life that some 14 year olds or 24 years don't. Hey, I am as I think I am. And so that becomes, you know, a part of his routine that he uses for everything. But the intention was not that he would play professional soccer. One day, he enjoyed it so much, he said, "hey, I'm ready to leave the country and see if I can't live out my dream of playing professional soccer, but mom and dad, you prepare me as I speak fluent Portuguese and I speak fluent Spanish and I speak Caroline and I speak English and I know some German and I know some French. So I got a few options, I can go some places and I can try it out." But yeah, the goal was never to make him do anything. It was to just give him a breath of information and opportunities that he could choose what he wanted to do his life.
That's so powerful and I appreciate that you've been talking about like, you know, the realities of the structural pieces of our society paired with this, like within our family, we can have a locus of control of this, we can visualize this.
And so I love for you if you're okay with it, to speak to the misunderstandings about, you know, for parents and for teachers right? Of underserved and underrepresented students. And so like what I'm just imagining like that family school dynamic and I know many teachers have had misunderstandings and misconceptions about families, who have marginalized identities and are underrepresented in systems of power in our school structure. And so I just love to hear your thoughts on that.
Sure. So one of them said was America is number two in gross national spending or per pupil spending in the world. We're number two. When you look at our math scores, I think we're in the 30s and the science scores were in the 30s and the reading, I think we're 17th or something like that. So we're spending a bunch of money and we're not having great outcomes. So what is the point to that? The point to that is that America if you believe that income is the reason that students succeed, then you need only look at how our outcomes are internationally and we're spending more money and virtually everybody, but we have results that rival Turkey and Rwanda.
So it is not about money, right? It is about the time that we invest. And so if you imagine the rule of the 10,000 hour rule and you say, well, what does it take if that's true? What does it take to become an expert in something? And you say, well, how many hours is in a child's life from 0 to age 6? Is there 10,000 hours or more? And you know how many, how much of a brain is developed from 0-6? More than 90%? So then I'd say, what are you doing in those first six years? Poor parents, wealthy parents, any parent in between. What are we doing from 0 to 6? I contend if you're doing little than nothing from 0 to 6, then your outcomes, I don't care how much money you have, are not going to be very good. You know, may have a slight difference because if you have wealth, you're probably gonna have a slightly hands-on vocabulary because mom and dad are gonna put you in a position to meet people, but are you going to be a better student? Probably not likely.
I believe there's only 35% of even white students that are exceedingly proficient on the last ACT reading, writing, math and science. It's about 6% for African American students. But there's not 100% of the students that almost 70% of white students are failing as well. So the thing is we have to get involved and stop outsourcing early on and their parents have to again be what schools say we are, which is a children's first teacher. We got to really roll up our sleeves and get involved no matter whatever your income, and your wealth income status are.
Yeah, excellent points. And I think from a teacher's perspective to be able to value what parents do bring to the table in those conversations about their child and about really honoring and just kind of almost making the assumption of yeah, you are your child's first teacher and I'm gonna treat you like you are, versus I'm just gonna tell you when your kid is bad and that's the only communication we're gonna have and it's just, you know, like this broken system of communication.
So I think it's totally a partnership there.
Yeah, I mean if I believe if you and I don't wanna likening children to material, but if we were to likening children to material and I said, "hey Lindsay, every day you're going to get to work with gold." Or, "Lindsay, every day you're gonna get to work with, I don't know cement?". You'd say, "well give me gold every day." like right. Or if you're an artist with the best canvas and all of the best paints and I said, "well you can have that, but I can give you a bunch of broken crayons." you would say, "well of course they give me.". And so I'm like, what happens if we finally start delivering children to school who are not needing to learn to read, who are not needing to learn to write, who are not needing to learn to do math? But if we delivered to school students who are her reading, we're now ready to read to, to learn. We're now already doing math at its most basic level or better.
When my son went to Stanford the very first time for a visit, we met families that were from Asia and from East Europe, or Eastern part of Europe.
But I want to say like Ukraine, Russia who had taken calculus as third graders, like they don't have any more money or any more resources. They just have a different culture, a different structure about what they believe the children need to do. At least those family, I'm sure not everybody is that way, but those that there's a different way to get their children prepared and I just, maybe you should adopt some of that.
Yeah, wow, third grade calculus. I can't even imagine. That was hard for me in college.
There's a gentleman by the name of Glenn Doman, you may be familiar with his work. He has an institute that is... his daughter still maintains it. I'm gonna get it wrong, but it's like the Institute for Advanced Intelligence or something like that. But he started it... I want to say in the 70's, coaching parents to work with children who have brain injuries. And he was teaching children with brain injuries how to read by 18 months and do complex math problems like 1267 times 7892 and those babies with brain injuries could do the math problem.
And when I saw that, and start and picked up his books like whoa, hold on a second, my child don't have a brain injury. His daddy brain is a little questionable, baby's brain is fine. If he could do that with those children, why aren't we all doing that with every child? So we picked up the dominoes, that was how to give your baby encyclopedic knowledge, how to teach your baby to read, how to teach your baby to do math, those kind of things and started trying our best to apply those things as best we could in Nathan's life.
Wow, that is really powerful. I think there's so much to think about in terms of what you've shared with us today. And so I'm just imagining a listener being like, okay, I'm ready to go do these things and I am ready to get started. But there's just so, so much I could be doing. Where do you recommend that someone starts as like maybe a first step or something to get the ball rolling with this way of being and parenting and teachers partnering with parents and that kind of thing?
For the parents, I think the very first thing to do is just to simply ask yourself, "what are your hopes and your dreams for your children?" And that's where I start and where I end. That's what informs my conversations with teachers. It's what informs my conversation with university faculty and president. Listen, here are the hopes and dreams I have for my child. Can you help us make those things a reality? If you can, good. This is the place for him. If you cannot, that's fine. But just tell me because you're not his parent and I'm not outsourcing my parental rights and responsibilities to you at all. Right? At the end of the day, if he's in an orange jumpsuit or he turns his tassel and throws a cap and gown up in the air, people gonna say whose child is he? So I want to make sure you can help and that you understand what my hopes and dreams. So that's where I would start with families. What are your most audacious, bodacious hopes and dreams are for your children?
You have to dream of you. Without those dreams, Then we're all just, we might as well be I guess inanimate objects, right? We should just be a plate or a glass of water or something. If we're not gonna dream then what's the point of being?
Thank you so much for sharing that. I love that as a starting point. I think there's so much potential in like you said the Backwards Design process, if you don't have those hopes and dreams laid out and you're not clear about them, like how are you ever going to backwards design from there?
So it's like taking a trip within and you say, I'm gonna say it and my phone was going to say, hey G hey S hey Siri and Siri says, yes. You're like, I want to go somewhere and then they will say, where? Like where do you want to go? I can give you the directions but I don't know where you want to go until you tell me. So yeah. At some point it starts with what are those hopes and dreams are. And then at some point the children will tell you about what their own hopes and dreams are. Nayen told me standing on the top of the Grand Canyon that he was done with high school and, "I want to go chase my dream, I want to go taste my dream dad and I want to play professional soccer and I need to leave the country.".
Okay, alright, okay, you got a destination. Now I got to help you figure out how to get there.
Oh, that's so beautiful. I'm just imagining that scene to just like, okay, all right, this is a movie worthy.
We had just finished reading the Alchemist and then I would say, hey put that in your show notes and have families definitely should read the Alchemist and he said, okay, I know where my pyramid is, and I'm ready to get there and you gotta be like the shopkeeper and you've got to help me figure out how to get there. So okay, okay, right. We got there. He got there, but he had to know what his hopes and dreams were first.
That's awesome and I will absolutely link the Alchemist in the show notes the great suggestion. I know one of the things you mentioned early on in our conversation is this idea of, you know, teachers and parents and caretakers being lifelong learners and being committed to that growth journey. And so I'm just curious, you know, this is kind of a question I asked for fun at the end, like what's something that you have been learning about lately?
Okay, lately, every day I learned about me. I learned something about myself lately. So, and I would say that this realization that I needed to learn more about me and more about me in terms of like pressing the envelope Nate. How much more can you learn to be able to be a help or a servant for other people? Came from a child. So Nine and I having this conversation. He returned from his visit to Brazil. It's in June of 2012 and and we're in the car and he looks at me and said, "what's wrong with you?" And I have tears in my eyes because I feel like my life is over. Like, I've had hopes and dreams for him and he's now articulated his hopes and dreams and now he's about to leave the freaking country and leave me here. I'm like, what am I supposed to do now? This I've been doing this for 16 years, what else was I supposed to do?
He looks at me and he says, "you can do more. Something like that." It's in the book. And he pointed out to me today yet the exact quote is on page 61. I'm like, Okay, yeah, but it's something like you can do more, you still have time. And I was like, well what more can I do? And he said dad do everything you've been doing with me for other fans. So what I've been doing since 2014, we published Raising Superman, was finding a way to be better equipped to share with other families. How to give their children the best life. So every day I'm like, okay, well what can you do different, and likely one of the things I've been doing is I've been journaling and I've been doing this process called Journaling Foward and I've been coaching other other adults now how to journal forward and I've been coaching parents how to do this course we designed called Mission 51 26, which is, this ideal of how do you get to a mission like Harriet Tubman who had these 30+ missions of freeing slaves? How do we show people how to liberate themselves to their best lives?
and then 51 26 is out of respect of Sir James Dyson who had 5,126 failed prototypes before he finally got to the 51 27 prototypes to get the Dyson vacuum cleaner and I believe he's worth like $40 billion dollars today. And so I said, hey, you gotta be willing to fail 5000 won 26 times. But you also got to be on a mission to do something that's for something greater than yourself. And so that's why I've been working on sharing with families some tools and strategies, but I have to keep getting better in order to continue sharing tools that don't seem like they're now old or outdated.
That is awesome. And we can link to any of those tools that you'd like to share with folks in the show notes in the blog post as well. Finally, where can people learn more about you and the work that you do or connect with you online if they're interested in learning more?
Well, you can connect with me Lindsay, I'm gonna give you my phone number, you can just call me any time you're not going to stay in touch.
But everybody asked me, I'd have a website, it's Nathaniel A Turner dot com.
N A T H A N I E L A T U R N E R dot com. That's probably the easiest way. I still have a blog, it's called Raising Superman. And I write all the blog, but generally if you were on Nathanial Turner, if you went to the site, this mark says "blog" will take you to that blog. We have an online course for parents called the Extraordinary College Planning Course. I think that's what it's called, but I'll share with you it's through Teachable. And we started a, let's just say we Latonya, Nayen and I started a not for profit called the League of Extraordinary Parents where we could begin to share with parents some of the same tools and strategies.
That is amazing. You've been doing so much...
Because a child demanded it of me and he still holds me accountable to it. And so I still believe that I'm responsible, hoping and dreaming and in a very audacious fashion and I do that because I don't want to let him down.
It sounds like you're doing an amazing job. You're sometimes incredible. So that is great work that you're doing and I appreciate not only all you're doing, but just that you took time out of your day to speak with me and speak to our listeners. So thank you so much for being on this podcast.
I'm grateful that you invited me. So thank you for having me.
Thanks for listening, amazing educators. If you loved this episode, you can share it on social media and tag me at Lindsey Beth Lyons or leave a review of the show, so leaders like you will be more likely to find it. To continue the conversation, you can head over to our Time for Teachership Facebook group and join our community of educational visionaries. Until next time leaders continue to think big, act brave and be your best self.
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Lindsay Lyons (she/her) is an educational justice coach who works with teachers and school leaders to inspire educational innovation for racial and gender justice, design curricula grounded in student voice, and build capacity for shared leadership. Lindsay taught in NYC public schools, holds a PhD in Leadership and Change, and is the founder of the educational blog and podcast, Time for Teachership.