The Secret of Their Happiness

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As you might expect, Holistic Educators face many challenges in today’s complex educational environment. Yet I didn’t encounter folks stressed or pessimistic about their efforts, their schools, or their future. So where did all the joy and laughter come from during these interviews? Even though we explored many of the challenges, I walked away from each recording feeling light, alive, and unreasonably happy.

So as I listened to the recordings of our conversations while editing, I selected comments that might reveal the secret to the joy that they shared. In the end I believe I caught a glimpse of the secret.

Debbie Millon and Marni Binder told of knowing that something was missing and that something *needed to be found. They went back to school, sought Holistic Education colleagues, risked money and job status and seniority. I find it compellingly interesting that their fields of engagement are so different. Debbie is Head of School at Wingra; Marnie is both a professor at Ryerson University and teaches art through holistic practices.

That diversity of interest and expression can be seen everywhere in Holistic Education. Most see the importance of parents and parenting. Our very own Josette has taken this as her vocation. Like Debbie and Marni, she knew she had to reshape the understanding of the possibilities in parenting.  Amazingly, parents who engage holistic child development can access greater cognitive and emotional understanding. The surprise: beyond that, they can also access wisdom. Wisdom-based relationships in families—amazing.

There there’s Jack Miller telling us of his 12 years working with students and administrators in the frozen north of Canada as a laboratory in which the need and possibility of Holistic Education appeared. Phil Gang credits the inspiration and much of the material for his film Educating Eco-Sapiens with creative revelations that came to him as he grieved the passing of his adored wife.

As for me, this sense of knowledge and its attendant joy have been in my bones for the whole of my life. Circumstances eroded the barriers; expression instantly followed.  

This is just a taste of some of the educators you will meet when listening to Meetings with Remarkable Educators.

And the secret? I guess my italics have given it away. There is great joy in connecting to a feeling of deeper knowledge of what is needed. That joy somehow includes a willingness to engage challenges as opportunities and the courage to fully live life.

Who the Heck Are Ba and Josette Luvmour?

At this point you may be wondering: Who the heck are Ba and Josette Luvmour….and why should we care?

Josette and Ba Luvmour have lived and worked together since 1984. They are each educators who later started several Holistic education schools, a holistic learning center for families and children, and many whole-family immersion programs (in both California and Oregon).  Teachers of children and parents, they are also teachers of other teachers (undergrad and graduate master’s students)—many of whom went on to start their own schools in the USA and Canada using Natural Learning Relationships child development and holistic approaches in their teaching practice.

Two energies born into different physical lives, they each began their particular journeys learning and preparing through diverse experiences. Their life paths intersected to become a third entity—a loving relationship. Continuing together, knowledge and wisdom availed themselves through life experiences, reflection, meditation, and spiritual connection. Their life’s work emerged weaving in and out of a joint venture.

Together, Josette Luvmour, PhD and Ba Luvmour, MA co-created and developed Natural Learning Relationships (NLR) – a holistic understanding of child development that supports optimal well-being in children and families. NLR was the basis and philosophical foundation of the schools, learning center, programs they founded, and in their writings. They created and executed Rites of Passage programs for youth that incorporate developmental sensitivity and whole family transitions. Moreover, they founded two non-profit organizations which have been dedicated to awaking the greatness in humanity since 1985. They built a 35 acre retreat center and school in Northern California, before moving to Portland, Oregon in 2003.

They each have extensive independent school experience from all vantage points: as parents, program directors, facilitators and teachers, administrators, teacher-training courses and on-site support, parent-educators, founders of learning centers and schools, and board members (e.g., vice-president and board secretary).

In addition to publishing six books together that focus on building positive relationships with children, their writing has been published in NW Kids Magazine, ENCOUNTER: Education for meaning and social justice, Paths of Learning, Journal of Adult Development, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Parenting Matters, Family Post, Holistic Education Review, Mothering Magazine, and Naturopathic Doctor News, and other popular magazines and publications.

Josette received her doctorate in human development in 2009. She is a writer, and consultant in human development, educator, and public speaker. She specializes in how adult and child develop together, and adult transformational learning.

Ba with his granddaughter, Naomi.

Ba with his granddaughter, Naomi.

Ba is a master educator with an MA in psychology and education. He has dedicated his life to discovering how to restore and deepen optimal well-being in society and the world. He is a mentor to professionals in all matters relating to children, families, and education, meditation facilitator, family consultant, educator, writer, and podcast host about holistic education.

Josette and Ba are continually inspired by all those who learn with children and Grow Together to access greater self-knowledge and ultimately access wisdom. Among these can be counted other remarkable educators (as featured in their podcasts)—as well as parents at the schools they started and worked in, other teachers who have incorporated Natural Learning Relationships into the way they now teach in other school settings, and their colleagues.

Josette and Ba live and work together in Portland, Oregon. They feel graced to reside near their children and grandchildren with whom they enjoy close relationships.


Introducing "Meetings with Remarkable Educators"

It is a great pleasure to present the podcast Meetings with Remarkable Educators. My wife, Josette, and I have always had a deep commitment to children, to the evolution of consciousness, and to education that brings forth success in every endeavor of life—academic, social, career, relationship, emotional competence, relational confidence, and greater knowledge of self and our world. We are proud to announce our latest expression…the launch of Meetings with Remarkable Educators in January 2018 that will showcase the inspiring life work of experts who are committed to holistic education.

Each episode of MWRE will treat you to an in-depth conversation between me, Ba Luvmour, and leaders in the field of holistic education. My lifelong passion is education and conscientious relationships with children. These are the stories and big ideas that often get missed in the crush of the unrelenting one-size-fits-all educational approaches. Episodes highlight one remarkable educator’s life’s work and personal inspiration. The entire series of bi-monthly podcasts is meant to be a resource, a guide, and an inspiration that we hope will become a useful and integral part of your life.

We are honored to introduce you to remarkable educators such as Dr. Tobin Hart, author, teacher, and co-founder of the Childspirit Institute, dedicated to understanding and nurturing the spiritual world of children; Dr. Jack Miller, leading practitioner and teacher trainer in Holistic education; Philip Snow Gang, creator the Film: To Educate Eco-Sapines; Paul Freedman, Co-Director of the Holistic Education Initiative; Marni Binder, creative artist and teaching chair in early childhood studies — to name just a few. We trust you will find every one of them worthy of your time and attention.

These remarkable educators shift paradigms of learning. Their schools call forth greatness in their students. Their pedagogy brings clarity to the way humans learn. Their philosophy of life lends clarity to our own. They present a beacon of light; a way to actualize each of our potential while respecting family, heritage, culture, planet, science, each child, and the (non-sectarian) essence of spirituality. Their schools can found in cities, in woodlands, in farmlands, and in most countries. These educators understand that meaningful relationships among all the people within any school (teachers, administrators, parents, and students) are the foundation for successful learning. They are remarkable because they leave nothing out; and know there is always something greater. Humble, inquisitive, caring, and committed to all life, these remarkable educators are jewels in our communities and in our culture. In short, meaningful educators are inspired people who inspire others. Their aspiration is for well-being to emerge everywhere and spiral up and up—a natural emergence as breathtaking as it is unpretentious. Academic excellence blossoms; social and emotional development ripens.

We hope these podcasts act as an important convergence of voices in this field and a central hub of an emerging community, connecting and inspiring parents, academics, and educators. Our excitement to embark on this journey with you is increasing as our 2018 launch date approaches. We invite you to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Patreon to receive updates on the podcast’s launch and to participate in giveaways of exclusive materials, eBooks, posters, personal connection, and more.

This is education as it ought to be—a natural fulfillment of our birthright to self-actualize, to know ourselves as whole and worthwhile in every creative endeavor engaged. Wisdom cannot be taught but it can be inspired. The remarkable educators in these podcasts offer keys to connection with children in such a way that each student develops personal integrity, authenticity, and dignity to hold themselves and others with respect, honesty, and wholeness—and to access wisdom. No other educational approach is as relevant to meet the needs of today’s troubled world—for each student to access purpose and personal fulfillment in a meaningful and satisfying future.

Our hope is to inspire and ignite your heart’s passion to invite meaningful relationships with the children in your life. We look forward to your participation and are grateful for your interaction with us going forward. Stay tuned for updates and episodes in the near future!