The fourth of July is when everyone American celebrates the birth of the United States of America, right? Maybe. But I've always believed that it's the day when the world celebrates MY birthday, replete with fireworks. Like Yankee Doodle Dandy, I've always been a firecracker, and I guess I will be until I pass from this crazy world. In the meantime, I bring that energy into "thinking outside the box" in everything I do. 

Take education, for instance. A university professor for over 40 years, I summed my experience and outlined a new approach to education that I believe would benefit educators and learners alike in UNLOCK THE GENIUS WITHIN (Rowman and Littlefield 2015). More than a new approach, it's a total rethink of learning and education. Try it, you'll like it. 

Then take medicine. A retired physician, in the early 60's I contributed to a national "outside-the-box" rethink of medicine and recommended (1) the elimination of venipuncture (it is associated historically with a roughly 5% bacteremia) and the substitution of microprocessor-based transcutaneous sensor readings, especially important for the newly born and elderly; (2) the reinstitution of "home visits" as they, alone, give a medical provider direct information on the socioeconomic health of the individual (that's half of disease and recovery) and prevents spread of infections disease; (3) the use of luxury hotels for non-critical, post-operative recovery; (4) the elimination of "health insurance" (has health insurance ever really insured that one would live healthy? Poor, perhaps, but not healthy, really); (5) development and implementation of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) approaches, especially those involving the safe laying on of hands; (6) removal of routine deliveries from hospitals; (7) strict separation of infectious and non-infectious patients at every stage of medical care; (8) the return of "home" clinics that adhere to the above; (9) a stronger emphasis on sane cardio-activity, especially activities that are highly social like dancing...I could go on and on, but there's little hope for humanizing medicine in a "money-is-everything" era like today. 

Okay, then take the environment. At various times in my life, I've been a professional naturalist; during others I've always been a naturalist-at-heart. Let's start with returning to a sane approach to preserving what's left of our planetary ecology. How about returning to a Conservation Corps for young men and women, and for the under- and unemployed, instead of leaving them with the choice of selling flesh or drugs, unemployment or military service. That would be a huge start. The next biggie would be re-valuing everything environmental from an experiential/recreational rather than monetary point-of-view. After all, money is the great, addictive illusion, entrapping endless individuals and squeezing the life from them they originally sought to live. The world would also benefit from an emphasis on stress relief instead of war. Then get rid of nuclear energy, cars, airplanes and ships, everything that's not powered by temperature, wind or solar energy, at least until scientists invent a new, truly sustainably renewable energy source. Again, I could go on, but I'm old, and this is a challenge for today's youth. What kind of world do the youth of today want for their nurturing?

Finally, there is a desperate need to rethink how humans, citizens of not just the USA, but the planet, deal with violence and violation. I address this at least partially in my book, UNLOCK THE GENIUS WITHIN, but it's a lot more than extricating violation from learning. It's a question of whether we as a species are finally adult enough to seize the opportunity to alter our social evolution substituting cooperation for violence as a means of working together. For the spiritually minded, call it a return to some of the old ideals of the Mother Goddess. Call me crazy, but I did say earlier that I think out-of-the-box. 

Oh, and Happy Birthday to me!