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Monday, February 27, 2017

Dear Hannah: LEarning - Games People Play (The Story of Monopoly)

Dear Hannah,

All ideas are great. The ones that are developed, financed, negotiated, produced, packaged, and sold make money.




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"LEarning (Games People Play (The Story of Monopoly) - in 90 Seconds)"
By Derrick Brown

Charles Darrow lost his job as a heater salesman at the beginning of The Great Depression in 1929.

He then created, patented, copyrighted, and licensed Monopoly between 1933 and 1935 - but Monopoly was based on versions of real estate trading games whose patents date back to 1904.

Why did Darrow's version flourish - making him the first millionaire game designer?

Well, two lessons come to mind ...

1. Success results when preparation meets opportunity.

A parlor game that families could play together (both to escape the reality of desolate economic times, and to learn financial lessons that could avoid the repeat of such) was just what the doctored ordered in 1935.

2. Opportunities are often disguised as work.

All ideas are great. The ones that are developed, financed, negotiated, produced, packaged, and sold make money.

That takes some grindin'.

Copyright © 2017 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Dear Hannah: LEarning - Why Harriet Tubman Chased Chickens

Dear Hannah,

When they can't see you, learn to take advantage of being "hidden" and underestimated.




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"LEarning (Why Harriet Tubman Chased Chickens - in 60 Seconds)"
By Derrick Brown

Harriet Tubman conducted 13 rescue missions on the Underground Railroad over a 10-year period.

Those long journeys to freedom resulted in lots of hungry people.

Tubman was a professional cook - which provided her mission's startup capital, and creativity under pressure.

She once stopped at a market to buy 2 chickens, and almost came face-to-face with a former overseer ...

... so she dropped one of the chickens and started to chase it.

The comedy allowed her to escape unnoticed - even though everyone could see her.

When they can't see you, learn to take advantage of being "hidden" and underestimated.

Copyright © 2017 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dear Hannah: LEarning (Thoughts on History)

Dear Hannah,

my education began when I finished school.

reflection led to a lot of unlearning and relearning.

i realized that i was presented

facts disguised as knowledge,
opinions disguised as fact,
and a whole lot of memorized processes
disguised as problem solving.

it's all good, though - 'cause now I know
... that i don't know.

so i value divergent thinking ...
(seeing many answers to the same question)

... creativity ...
(capacity for original thought)

... reading

... writing

... counting

... and thinking

... as the keys to converting facts
into information
into knowledge
into wisdom
- and solutions to the problems of our existing state.

i have also learned to value biographies.

the stories from someone's life - and their wisdom
earned through lessons learned - inspire and ground me.

how can i stay focused on my setbacks
after i have learned about so many comebacks?

how can i sweat myself
after i see how my path was
paved by their blood, sweat,
tears, courage, ideas, and

how can i stay stuck in convention
when i know the trailblazers who
innovated all of our norms?

check it ...

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"LEarning (Thoughts on History)"
By Derrick Brown

the first Ph.D. was awarded at Harvard back in 1889 ...
... this means that the cats who awarded that ph.d.
simply walked with the self-appointed mantle of authority
and knowledge without having been granted the title.

this kind of authority is established by

a healthy dose of humility
- the kind that only comes through
trials, tribulations, and victory.

it is further established by

creativity, divergent thinking, innovation,
work ethic, patience, grace, forgiveness,
preparation, failure, persistence,
equality, opportunity, and circumstance.

remember ...

dr. benjamin e. mays was MLK's mentor.
i bet they learned a lot from each other!
selah ...

hearing their story told me to stop sweating
myself about all my "mentees".

new m.o. - help them grow, then let them go
- and along the way, let them help you grow.

prepare them and then accept them as your colleagues
if you mentor right, they will probably exceed you.

... doug williams had a six-hour root canal the night
before the 1987 super bowl ...

then watched his washington redskins fall behind
john elway's denver broncos 10-0 before
scoring 35 points in the second quarter
and winning 42-10.

he was the first black quarterback to lead his
team to a super bowl victory ...

... and he lost his starting job the next year.

life is a series of peaks and valleys.

the struggle is real.

teacher jane elliott conducted an experiment on
april 5, 1968 with her 3rd-grade class in riceville, iowa.

she called it the "brown eyes - blue eyes" experiment.

the purpose of the exercise was to let her students
feel what it was like to be treated as a person of
color in the united states.

if you are familiar with dates - she conducted this
experiment the day after MLK was assasinated.

that took empathy, foresight, insight, preparation
- and a lot of guts.

if you are keeping score (and some of you are)

i have told stories about two black men,

one white woman,

two educators,

one "baller" ...

they each have story arcs

that intersect around important ideas of

teaching, learning, mentoring, mediation,
and equality.

they are all connected to the important work
of rev. dr. martin luther king, jr.

they are all valuable parts of my history.

'cause we ain't got much, y'all ...

... but we got exactly what we need ...

we have principles, ideas, creativity, and work ethic.

we are living in some strange times, folks.

but we have come too far to turn back now,

and we have to pay attention to yesterday's lessons

that we oversimplify, take for granted ... or think of as

"old" and "lame".

my role in these times is to challenge a nation ...

a nation of talkers, squawkers, stalkers, and sleepwalkers

to quiet themselves

to remember,

to think,

and to grow.

i love you, and thanks for reading (listening).



Copyright © 2017 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Dear Hannah: Converse

Dear Hannah,

our conversations
have dwindled into
shouting matches
and "people's court" cases

posts and reposts
of articles that
align with our minds
to which we assign

absolute truth
with no consequences

where we want to prove
that our might is right
your wrong is strong
and always have both our say
... and our way

but civil discourse
- especially between dissenters -
promotes growth

it helps both parties
see that they are

two points
diametrically opposed
on the same circle

and that preservation
of the circle

is more important
than our "points"

check it ...

TEST (3-4-2017): libsyn embedded podcast

TEST (3-4-2017): YouTube embedded video

TEST (3-4-2017): blubrry embedded podcast

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By Derrick Brown

I'm a speak my piece
but keep my peace
so how 'bout cease
with all that fleece


we ain't sheep
we're just asleep
I know ... talk is cheap
when it ain't deep

and ... you can't keep
thoughts straight
- they creep
your mind's weight

- is steep
mental freight
- you heap
into piles that date

back years - much too late
fight back the tears
can't fight your fate
conquer your fears

slow down, bruh
- it's killin' ya
slowly revealin' ya
pent up with feelin ya

voice ain't respected
always rejected
by newly elected
fools that protected

policies erected
by people infected
never inspected
system perfected

folks who objected
were then subjected
then also expected
to stand corrected

----- begin spoken "random pontificator" interruption ----

hold up, hold up
pardon the interruption
wait just one second, my eloquent
soul brother from another mother.

I feel you, but ... errr ... uhhh
you have offered us a strong historical
context, but have yet to posit a
concrete solution to our status quo.

in other words ...
what are we gon' do?

----- end spoken "random pontificator" interruption ----

para (stop)

siƩntate (sit down)
let us weigh
let us pray

let us say
a new way
no double talk
no cliche'

let us stay
focused on "us"
and never "they"
that we may

make a new day
let us display
a greater sway
is that OK?

let's serve up
a new entree
new food for thought
on how we play

the "talking game"
let's meet halfway
show more respect
show less "checked"

let's converse
by considering
the converse
the diverse

the adverse
the reverse

keep it civil
don't shrivel
no drivel (hot air)
or snivel (whining)

let's graduate
to a level
where we revel
every angle
like a bevel

every minute, second
and degree
to understand
not just agree

that B.S.
can make you b.s.
that M.S.
can make ya "a mess"
that Ph.D.
makes u say
"get like me"

but maybe
you should say
"how come we
still ain't free?"

"come on now ...
for real, tho ...
how can this be?"

happened to

essential questions


future awaits

prepare yourself


CONVERSE is a difficult (moderated) conversation that takes place between two rational humans with differing perspectives.

its underlying principle is that civil discourse - especially between dissenters - promotes growth.

we will use this approach to explore topics like ...

how to exercise empathy with your opponent
when working towards common interests works - and doesn't
why people leave churches

we may produce no answers - but we will ask and answer essential questions.

... and we will LEarn.

we hope that you will come LEarn with us.




Copyright © 2017 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Dear Hannah: Bag Of Life


Dear Hannah,

we need to talk.

we need to have sustained, substantive conversations with friends, fans, and foes that are affirming, accepting, accountable - and sometimes authoritative.

they can be focused, civil, intra-generational, didactic, inspiring, comforting, strategic ...

... and can still be pleasant & fun.

... or thoughtful, probing, and sobering.

... or downright serious.

they can edify and mature the mind, will, and emotions ...

... by speaking life

... and preventing death.

they can build bonds, teams and camaraderie.

they can birth visions.

they can create frameworks for change.

they can help to keep peace, help to make peace, or help to say "peace".

it all starts with a good question that provides food for thought.

check it ...

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"Bag Of Life"
By Derrick Brown

how you doin
what you up to
yo that's kinda fly
kinda fresh and new

what's on your mind
what you pursuin
steady on your grind
new ideas brewin

where you from
what do you do
man is that right
i've been there, too

what you wanna do
how you dreamin
now when you wake up
how you schemin

do you have some time
let's kick it for a minute
i'm out here tryna climb
up in to win it

hey is all good
tell me if you straight
i hope it's understood
that we met by fate

if not now, when
why and how, then
if not you, who
is all of that true

is there info
that you don't know
can the same facts
lead to other acts

what happened
how that make you feel
now are you for real
will you heal

can you forgive
let it all go
live and let live
know and then grow

am I your equal
do you respect me
am I your sequel
do you subject me

does this make sense
come on tell me now
or am i crazy
'gon do it anyhow

can you help me
please help me now
if would you show me
i'm willing to allow

can we pray, please
i need to find my way
which way to go
should I leave or stay

tell me what u thought
why not
i'm not gon say "you ought ..."

need some space
i'll take a step back
need some grace
i'll give a brotha slack

is it "you" or "they"
stand tall & straight
is it "yea" or "nay"
firmness carries weight

is this enough
or perhaps too much
should I scale back
use a softer touch

tell me what i say
to make you feel that way
tell me we're ok
to see another day

"Bag of Life" is my project-based approach to facilitating sustained, substantive conversations with friends, fans, and foes that are affirming, accepting, accountable - and sometimes authoritative.

You take a bag and fill it with cards containing short fill-in-the-blank statements like "I am afraid of _____" ...

... questions like "what are your core values about money?"

... terms like "commitment", "change", "love" that you describe to make the rest of the group try to guess - and in doing so you see how aligned your thoughts are with the other group members.

there are also some well-known and obscure Bible passages that challenge you to read, wrestle with, and rightly divide God's "words with friends".

then you sit in a circle, pass the bag, learn, grow, and get to know some folks in ways that encourage you to get together once you leave that circle ...

... and then you go serve people together in ways that expand that circle ...

... then rinse and repeat.

this is one small way we work for lasting change ...

... change that starts with "me" and the renewing of my mind.



Copyright © 2017 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Dear Hannah: Fight The Good Fight (Life & Opportunities)

Dear Hannah,

Life is a series of opportunities.

Here's how I approach life ...

    I listen, because I don't listen well.

    I am quiet, because I am not quiet.

    I observe, because I can't see.

    I know, because I know that I don't know.

    I speak like no one else is ever going to speak for me.

    I do like no one is ever going to do for me.

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Opportunities are always disguised as work.

    This work always involves details.

    This work always involves people.

    I respect and engage details, because I have paid a dear price for ignoring and disrespecting them.

        They show you what you cannot see.

        They help you learn *that* you do not know ....

        ... by showing you *what* you do not know.

    I also respect and engage people, because I have paid a price for ignoring and disrespecting them.

    I engage people by observing how they view and handle details.

    People are quick to oversimplify and minimize details.

    In doing so, they exaggerate their own importance.

    They believe that someone else should handle the details.

    In doing so, they marginalize and disrespect that person's

role and essence.

    They treat 'em like fractions.

    Like "3/5 of a person" fractions.

My approach to life and opportunities can lead to conflict when collaborating.

    When I co-labor, I demonstrate both my commitment and expectations by submitting to and engaging the work's details.

    I engage according to my abilities and the opportunity's requirements.
    My eyes observe the following - engaging *details* that people think are "beneath them" leads them to treat *me* like I am beneath them.

    My spirit observes it differently - engaging *details* that people think are "beyond them" leads them to treat *me* like I am beyond them.

    Either way, this leads to the same mistreatment.

    It results in the same marginalization and disrespect of me - and my important work.

    I accept this as a clear, sober warning that I need to choose co-laborers carefully.

    Here's another sobering thought - I have this experience often and equally with Black and White people.




Copyright © 2017 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Dear Hannah: Renaissance

Dear Hannah,

I want you to see how to be free ...

... how to forge your own path in your own happy space.

... how to leave an inheritance to your children's children ...

... an inheritance of your heart - full of treasure beyond measure.

Support Our Work - Buy This Song (SEE BELOW)!



By Derrick Brown

my name is Derrick.

my name means
"leader of his people".

my education began
when i finished school.

learning led
to unlearning ...

then a revival
of RElearning
and culture.

i am relearning
both my essence
and function ...

as a



i am relearning that ...

... teaching
is about reaching

... knowing
is knowing that
you DON'T know

... my gifts can
impact the world

... i can relate
to people with
great empathy
and engage the world
around me

& authority

... tradition begins
and ends with change.

... everything must change
- and STAY changED.

... i will build
a dream team
and strategic scheme
that will manifest
all my GOoD ideas.

... prophecy is not seeing
"the future"

it is understanding
"the past"
and speaking
truth to power
in "the present".

... vision is seeing
an idea clearly enough
to stir your passions

and cloudy enough
to make you move towards it
with enthusiasm
and careful intent.

i am relearning that

i am a ...


simple kinda fella

griot frio

stand-up storytella

... i can execute
any role necessary
to express myself
to this world ...

sax player

... i have taken command
of my time and talents,
and invested both

into building and protecting
my creative space
my happy, safe place

where finally
i get to be all of me
who i always was
who i am
who i wanna be.

... it will take
all of that
and all of me

moving with


with ideas & visions

armed with
mighty pen, pad
and boundless

knowledge and wisdom

my risky decisions

my best for last

to cash in
all of these chips.

... to make that happen,
i know that
standards must be set

for battles yet
to be waged,

by tigers yet
to be caged,

believers yet
to be enraged,

soldiers yet
to be engaged.

... i am on a mission to
challenge us to more than

learning to show
learning to owe

I'm about

learning to grow
learning to know

i want my wife to see
that this evolution of
the best version of me
is because of her love
and the freedom it grants.

i want my daughter to see
how to be free
to forge her own path
in her own happy space

and leave an inheritance
to her children's children ...

... an inheritance of her heart
full of treasure beyond measure.

welcome to my renaissance.



Copyright © 2017 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

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