While visiting the Emirate of Dubai, we saw vast expanses of brown desert all around us with tall skyscrapers and gigantic shopping malls dotted along highways. This was what we saw, until we arrived at an enclave right smack in the middle of the Dubai desert. Here, the temperature instantly dropped as we entered a man made tropical haven. Here, people came to escape the scorching heat and be instantly transported to the weather and cooling green of miles away. Here, locally grown organic vegetables were served in their restaurant called "the Farm" and the whole experience bids you forget where exactly in the world you are!
This is AlBarari- the luxurious, resort-style, eco-living in the Dubai desert. AlBarari is a 4.2 million square foot development of homes, spas and heath clubs all enclosed in landscaped streams, gardens "and the region's largest privately-owned plant nursery." The AlBarari website quotes the founder, Mr. Zaal Mohammed Zaal's vision of an "exceptional botanic haven, unrivaled in its ecological sensitivity," right in the middle of a desert! This is important because while others saw a desert where nothing could grow, Mr. Zaal saw a vast opportunity to grow! This is the kind of mindset homeschoolers have been talking about.
Today's entrepreneurs are not the Ford's and the Rockefeller's of yesterday, but the 'personal entrepreneur’ of the future. They denote a new era in mankind's thinking where it's not so much about the product as much as about the idea. This is about bringing your idea to fruition regardless of the odds! This type of entrepreneur needs a new mindset- one that does not see problems that limit but problems that highlight possibilities.
In writing about AlBarari I'm not trying to highlight their contributions or get into a debate about eco sustainability, rather I'm trying to highlight a mindset and an attitude that we must inculcate in our young ones. Honestly, the stark difference in the landscape due to the grit and dedication of one family who refused to see the desert as dry, barren land and did what they thought was necessary to change it to a green oasis, speaks for itself.
As homeschoolers we want to inculcate in our children a will to conquer and to think outside the box, but just how do we do that? True grit and determination are key to success in the words of author Paul Tough of How Kids Succeed and its up to us parents to make sure our kids stick with it and make it through. Ease of lifestyles and 'edutainment' have rid our lives of the hard work ethic and we are too quick to step back and give in to the easy way.
Carly Fiona talks about true education not being limited to the books and tests and structured school but the messy, ever changing ideas and thinking. This is important in our data driven, 'standardized test score'-scared education world. If we are truly teaching our children that the journey is just as important as the destination, then we need to step back from the workbooks and the test scores and let kids create! The 2007 research by Olson and Frodin talks about an attitude that needs to be taught- an attitude to life that pursuing one’s dream and fulfilling one’s ideas is as much an exhilarating adventure as the discoveries of the past!
Jobs, Musk and a host of others join the list of those who didn't take no for an answer and kept pursuing their dreams- and the world is glad that they did. The next wave of entrepreneurs and leaders according to author of A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink are those that can create - create ideas and take them to fruition.
So when our little boys and little girls are seeing or dreaming, let's raise them up to be able to see through the the unending brown to the vast green that can replace it.