Pressure is something that is not talked about enough in the education circle. The reason why I think it isn’t is because of the stories of students breaking. We need to understand that pressure is needed to grow strength and resiliency but trust must absolutely be the foundation. However, many people think that redundancy creates pressure through the form of memorization, for example. How many times have we given students redundant work hoping it'll turn to grit. In the pursuit of resiliency and grit a major roadblock called boredom can easily and swiftly set in. How does one introduce and regulate pressure so that the students are able to stimulate new resiliency and grit in the areas of life that may not have it? I think the answer can be found in this story. Last week a couple students who were part of our leadership camp this summer said that their classes were easy. We asked why they thought that and they said it’s nothing compared to dragging 16 pound dumbbells across a swimming pool or going on a 6 mile hike or going to the track and working on strength and conditioning for three hours at a time, week in and week out. We asked if those workouts caused pain. They answered, there was no pain just fear. We didn’t know what it would feel like. We didn’t know if we would be able to do it. I looked straight at them I said but you did do it. and they said WE KNOW. THAT’S WHY ITS EASY. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying this is the end all be all. I’m saying.. its insane to continue to do the same thing and expect different results, if that’s what we’re after. I’m saying, the grit is transferable. Many other methods work for many other students, this one just happened to work with this group. Thank you to all of the parents who see this and allowed us to partner with them in training, mentoring, teaching and investing in their students. More work to be done, but proud of where we’re going. It’s the long game. -Daniel- #ascentculture #trust #ascentteam #cultureovercurriculum #pressure #stress #regulatethat #nofear #middleschool #elementaryschool #homeschool #studentleadership #educationalleadership #education #itsthelonggame #takethetime #buildup

Stretching the mind

You’ve heard it said that the mind is a powerful thing. It can make or break the resolve that you have in you. Quotes like “ mind over matter”, “if you don’t mind, then is doesn’t matter” have swept the internet in timely fashion, as the route to mental toughness has taken the world by storm. There is however one caveat.. It takes mental toughness to build mental toughness. How, then, does one get mental toughness? By making a decision. This is where most people get tripped up. It feels good to make excuses because the fault is not yours. I think that people are beginning to realize that responsibility is a real thing and that as much as making a decision to be tough is a choice, being weak minded is a choice too.

The way I see it, the mind should be like chewed gum. Think about it. Many people treat the mind like non-chewed gum. They think that it’ll break. It won’t, unless you let it. When you stretch the mind, it becomes more and more accustomed to the stress. When chewed gum is stretched, it doesn’t snap back to its original shape, but it doesn’t stay at fully stretched length either. Think about stretching then letting it relax and then stretching it again. The mind is designed to stretch, to be stressed so that it can adapt.

Why am I stressing the mind? Because I believe that it’ll be hard to live this life if your mind is weak. The climb that you have in front of you such as life, school, friends, career, and future is a huge task. A powerful mind will be your friend. It’ll be your constant. If you train your mind early, then you can focus on the task on hand and not worry about whether or not you’ll break under the pressure. Stretch your mind. Strengthen it. How?

Do not worry about stressors. Homework, chores, relationships, and tasks that your schedule is filled with will all help in building your mind. Remove complaint, all of it. Get rid of the sentence “its not fair,” and “why me?” Learn how to make a small deal about big things. Be open to responsibilities. Get used to saying “no problem.” Remind yourself that you are bigger, smarter, stronger but back up that idea with execution. Here’s a big one. PRACTICE HUMILITY. Learn to genuinely celebrate with people for their victories. The one thing you can’t stop is the calendar. However you feel, time isn’t going to stop. It is completely necessary that you get this.



Purpose is a powerful thing. It can dictate direction, planning and even identity. That last thing is where we want to draw a firm, bold, black line.

Purpose as a reason to do something is incredibly powerful. The “why” to the things you do. Purpose catalyzes action. It is the precursor to movement. People were made to move, to advance. There are many people that get lost along the way because what they thought was an immoveable object (purpose,) was not, in reality, stationary. Contrary to popular belief, there are only a handful of purposes. The modalities to keep purpose in its position is what actions are.

People search for purpose like they search passion even though they are two very different things. I think there is something fascinating with the idea of being born with certain inclinations. I believe that there are things that we as humans are born with that is passed down to us by those that love us. *If those attributes tend to be bad or harmful to society and the self, fix it. No excuses. Don’t tell me or anyone else that you were just “born that way.” This isn’t your mommy’s day club where everyone tells you that you are special. If you have a certain inclination that is not good, get to work to get it right, or get out. No one wants to hear your sorry excuse as to why you can’t become the person you are supposed to be. If you aren’t going to fill in the shoes that society needs, someone else will so take your fake ass out of here.

Now that we got the weeding out done, I believe that if you have good inclinations, feed it., Make it work. Do you see yourself helping others before yourself, great. Are you gifted in a particular area? Can you use it to further your purpose? If you haven’t noticed already, I believe the most honorable purpose is to help others, our neighbors, through our words, actions and resources.


What is leadership?

We’ve heard it so many times… one is to lead from the front. I think different. I believe leadership is multi-dimensional. It isn’t linear. It is supposed to lead from the front, back, top, bottom, left, right, inside and outside. Depending on the goal, the leadership changes. As a leader, one must always have goals. A leader wears multiple hats. At any given time, they can be the stabilizer, energizer, dreamer, enforcer, and executioner. Knowing the status of the team and knowing the progress of the goal is crucial. Without a team, one is no a leader. Those that follow are, if not, more important than the one who leads. Why? Without followers, there is no leader. The relationship between the two must be in balance. If not, both groups are just wanderers. It is not about delegation, it is about appointment and trust. A good leader will build up those around them to be leaders.

This concept of leadership gets thrown around so much to the point where I throw up in my mouth every time someone mentions how much “leadership” they have. Leadership is not quantifiable. It is spoken about, rumored about, not just merely talked about. Don’t use “spoken” and “talked” interchangeably as I am not doing so either. More on this next time but until then think about these statements.

“Rise, Advance, Affect”


Masculinity and the end of an era?

Toxic masculinity has been getting lots of attention but lately its been dying down. which goes to prove that maybe tackling a problem in society that was never really an issue for the majority of the population is easier than tackling the bigger problem: how to raise men. We have to arguments that seem very similar but in context are very different. There are so many fallacies with the argument that toxic masculinity is the root of the issue as to why men treat others a certain way. Whether its the appeal to emotion, hasty generalization, or the freaking straw man, the issue is not to treat masculinity as the antagonist. Now, there are bad men in the world and those that can do something about those men should be willing and ready to fend them off. But this is where the actual solution is. Jordan Peterson said, “A good man is not a harmless man. A good man is a very dangerous man who has that under voluntary control.” I’m going to take this a step further. A good man is a man that is willing to put that “danger” into use when a threat presents it self. The threat can target the home, the business, the relationship, the future. This protection is not just physical but mental, emotional and spiritual as well. A man MUST be willing to fight. He must thrive in conflict. He must be wise in choosing his battles but must be willing TO battle. However, with toxic masculinity, we are suppressing that innate desire. Yes, innate. We should be teaching boys about true masculinity with humility. Humility and weakness is not the same. Suppressing masculinity is not the answer to toxic masculinity (Fallacy of red herring anyone?) The way I see it, its like masculinity was sent into the wilderness, left wandering, searching for purpose and questioning itself as to why it got banished, while toxic or false masculinity is in the spotlight. You see, T.M. likes the limelight. It enjoys it. It takes the light away from its brother, masculinity. All the while, masculinity is thinking about all those times where it was displayed for the world to see. Storming the beaches of Normandy, signing the Declaration of Independence, protecting the Goguryeo front, fighting the civil war, and OBVIOUSLY, there are more events than the stars where masculinity took place in the homes and settings around the world. The only hope that masculinity has to come back into the light is resting with the select few who choose to display it. That is what the main focus should be. HOW IN THE WORLD DO WE HAVE OUR BOYS UNDERSTAND THAT THEY ARE PROTECTORS, PROVIDERS, LOVERS? HOW DO WE RAISE OUR BOYS TO BECOME MEN, in the truest sense of the word? We need men who are not afraid to show that they are masculine. With this, there comes training. When I call upon my mind to work, it should. When I call upon my body to work, it should. Honestly speaking, I wouldn’t be surprised if our forefathers rolled over in their graves. They fought and conquered and here’s this day’s men, talking about nail polish and makeup so they can look prettier.

Sun Tzu: “ it is better for a warrior to be in a garden, than for a gardener to be in a war.”

With all this said, who knows, maybe masculinity’s fate was to wander the wilderness, lending its strength to those that are willing to use it, the last of a dying breed. Maybe it enjoys the shadow, the dark. It can operate without the spotlight. All I know is, when the cries of the broken, the hurt, the ashamed, the harmed, and the weakened is heard, masculinity will be the hero, and it’ll bring in tow bravery, strength, compassion, capability, and violence.


Stressors and should we avoid them?

Understanding the importance of stress and the management thereof is crucial to the growth of individuals. Now in the context of children, we need to take that a step further. Like the idea of tech and persons variability teaching methods, there are so many facets and plug-ins that can make and/or break the mental and physical fortitude of a child. However, there are several criteria that cannot be overlooked. Before we get into the depth of things, you need to know that I am an advocate of not only allowing stressors to be apart of a child’s life but that it is important for those deeply involved in the child’s life to introduce the stress.

  1. Environment

  2. Involvement

  3. Confidence

The environment at which a child is placed is imperative to the positive outcome of introducing stress in a child’s life. Understanding that stress is needed in order for entities to grow cannot be overstated. The environment that I am talking about is both physical and mental. The physical part is the actual placement of the child but also how the child is physically treated. The lack of physical assurance can pose a problem to the the child. Why? Because when a child knows that there is a person that is stronger than the stress that they are dealing with, they place their assurance in those individuals. So rough housing, tickling, hugs, fist bumps, etc are needed. Children can tell how strong a person is just by looking at them so imagine when you show affection by touch. Now emotional environment is a different animal and will take longer for the child to recognize. Basically, adults in their life have to show that they themselves do not get flustered. There is this movement of showing weakness as a sign of familiarity. Don’t make this mistake. THIS DOES NOT INSTILL ASSURANCE. Weakness and vulnerability are too different things. Vulnerability is showing that a person has battles and even though they may fall, they always get back up. Weakness is falling and not being able to get up from that battle.


The involvement also plays a huge part. MAKE NO MISTAKE, AS THE ADULTS IN THESE CHILDREN’S LIVES, WE ARE NOT TO REMOVE THE STRESSORS AS SOON AS WE SEE THEM. It is our job to cultivate children so they become resilient, not fearful. Which means that even though it may be painful to see them go through a struggle, we also need to fight that urge to “save” them and let them fight it out. Majority of the time, it is a fight from inside, and only they can fight it. There are those that will always live in the shadow and safety of their parents and teachers. This will enable them to live in a defensive standpoint which is, in my humble opinion, not the most brave way to live.

Your confidence plays a huge part in the development of your child. This is where it gets personal. Those that are confident in the ability and strength of their parents usually live in confidence also. Now, we are not talking about the lawyer daddy that will always get the kids out of trouble. We are talking about the parents instilling confidence in their students, but in order for that to come from a place of reassurance, the parents must also have confidence in themselves. REMEMBER, CONFIDENCE DOES NOT EQUATE TO ARROGANCE OR BEING POMPOUS.

What does all this have to do with stressors? It is about managing the stress and allowing stress to stimulate growth not removing it because of the pain you initially feel. With everything, there is a balance and opposite. Do not let the suppression of pain you feel for the child turn into apathy. You will lose your child’s affection, hell, your child may lose you.

-Rise, Advance, Affect-