(This course was formerly called The Practice of Progressive Development)
Progressive Development is the central principle of Education for Life, providing the underlying map for all-around student development. Through this course, parents and teachers can sharpen their discernment about what level of development their children are manifesting and how best to motivate further growth.
Course participants will use the Life Skill Action Charts to focus attention on specific aspects of growth like Building Will Power, Expanding Sensitivity, and Developing Concentration. The book Out of the Labyrinth provides us with the conceptual basis for all aspects of Progressive Development.
The combination of experiential and theoretical approaches provides a depth and authenticity that offers the best possible foundation for sharing these principles with children.
Progressive Development is concerned with the dimension of consciousness that permeates all of life. Education for Life defines this dimension in three segments.
Light: At the upper end of this spectrum we find a vibrant, expansive energy that reveals itself in qualities like kindness, truthfulness, forgiveness, generosity, self-respect, love, and joy.
Heavy: At the least developed level, consciousness flickers with a low level of energy in a constricted range of behavior that manifests as obstinacy, negligence, lack of self-confidence, superstition, procrastination, callousness, and duplicity.
Ego-Active: In the middle range we find a mixture of behaviors where the energy is generally high, but with a turbulent, egotistical expression as is found in such qualities as selfishness, impulsivity, pride, fastidiousness, revengefulness, worry, and arrogance.
Progress along this dimension of consciousness is essentially motivated by a person’s desire to avoid pain and sadness and to achieve an ever-more enduring and satisfying experience of happiness. In the heavy level where consciousness is contracted, motivation is almost always produced through the enforcement of rules and other outward forms of discipline, as when an insensitive child must be forced to stop bullying others.
At the light end of the spectrum, a deeper, more enduring form of motivation gradually becomes accessible. Within these higher qualities, there is an intrinsic core of experience that provides a natural motivation for growth. For example, there is a calmness that accompanies the expression of truth, and a joy that can be felt in selfless service. As a person’s consciousness evolves, the need for external motivation is gradually replaced by these awakened inner sensitivities.
During the ego-active phase, happiness is usually associated with the acquisition of outward things like power, possessions, and money. As the person gradually learns that this type of happiness is ephemeral, there is an opening to explore higher realms of consciousness.