What’s this all about?
At my kids’ Waldorf school, they have a heart-warming, beautiful part of the mandatory curriculum. It’s called the Grade 8 project. Each student spends some time choosing an individual project they are fascinated with, finds a mentor, starts a work journal, and over a few months they make it happen.
By these grade 8 kids in the past, i have seen garden sheds built, dances choreographed, stand-up comedy, oil paintings, songs written, chess board carved… I’ve watched presentations about experiences planned and orchestrated, like wilderness survival.
To watch these young people stand before the community and share something deeply satisfying that they have accomplished with their own hearts, heads and hands… oh my gosh. I find it so moving… and I can’t help but think – most of them (like us) would not have accomplished these things that they will NEVER forget if it weren’t for…. someone set up the program to encourage it. a structure to hold them the way through.
My son, Jesse, now in HIS grade 8 year, and after much deliberation, chose an Advanced Scuba Diving project. Months of planning, meeting with his mentor at Float n Flag dive centre, a refresher course in the pool, raising the money, and passing the theory tests all took place… and it all led to this moment – his 5 advanced dives in West Palm, Florida:
He passed his course, and you’ll notice he looks pretty unhappy about it 😉 More of his pics here.
A HUGE question rocked through my mind on the 18hr drive home afterwards…. What about grown-ups? What about a Grade 8 project for grown-ups? We could kick ***!
You are smart, motivated, creative, an outside-the-box thinker, and someone who is absolutely ‘going for it’ with everything you’ve got in life. I know that. Me too I hope. BUT… a wee issue…
Almost everyone I know works well when they think in terms of Projects. Bookended things.
AND… If you’re anything like me, it can be hard ‘usually’ to make the time for ‘purely for interest, self-growth, and fun’ life projects not because we don’t want to, but because we get all tangled up with life – making money, responsibilities, etc. ie things that are ongoing, important, and typically don’t feel like projects. But here’s the thing:
I believe all of LIFE could be a project. We could be the creators of life projects rather than drifters on the current of years passing by too damn fast.
When we DO choose projects – which is smart in theory, they are too often things we are desperate about or ‘should’ do… lose weight, have a tidy house, earn more money, clean the damn basement, etc.
But here’s the thing: For you and I both. I’m talking straight to our hearts. The next 4 months WILL pass. Regardless of what we do. They will fly. by.
I am straight up, in full transparency, saying a clean basement is lovely, BUT… I am hoping I can find a way to persuade you to join me in allowing one other thing into the next 4 months that might make an even bigger difference for you:
do a Grade 8 Project for Grown-Ups
learn to horse-back ride, or scuba dive. Do a roadtrip with the family. Learn to play the violin, the guitar, the didg.. the digeree… ah heck – the flute, paint an oil painting, build an outdoor pizza oven, a treehouse, or a garden shed, write a book of poetry, or your own song, cook a dinner-party for 20 friends, travel someplace, take a vipassana meditation retreat or go to India…
The only caveats are: you pick a project that’s doable for you, at a challenge-level that is intriguing but not beating yourself with a stick, and for the sole purpose of excitement and self-discovery. Not something you ‘should’ do, but something you WANT to do… A project that you would wake up in the morning and thank me for bringing up the idea of this program 😉
What else: learn to speak Spanish, walk the Camino, travel to take your dream class, do a canoeing expedition, hang-glide, climb a mountain, set up a dinner-share project with your neighbours, organize an event, take the kids somewhere you’ve all been dreaming about… you get the idea. I will collate 100 starter ideas like these for you during week one – the brainstorming module.
Don’t worry about the choosing – we’ll spend our first week at that. But, here’s what important for now:
In 4 months… much will have happened in your life. You will have learned some things, had some conversations, and thought new thoughts, and what would it be like if we added one more thing: you experiencing something WONDERFUL that you’d LOVE to do, but life kept getting in the way. It doesn’t have to be big, or scary – just AWESOME, and fun.
And what if by August sometime, you had a journal of your new experiences, a twinkle in your eye, some amazed friends, cheering project peers when you post it, and your photo – BAM – here on the grad wall of you smiling and full of pride at your accomplishment.
Ok. The program. The Nitty Gritty how this works.
Dates: now as soon as you jump in below, for 4 months. Perfect timeframe to do something cool.
Where: online, from your favourite couch with, I suggest, a tasty beverage. The whole thing happens in our private Facebook group: It’s called the Project Café.
- There are no classes or set times you have to be anywhere. It is self-guided to suit your schedule. I have a worksheet in the Café already for week one to help you brainstorm project ideas to get started.
- I will provide Big Dream Program supporting material at different points in the adventure.
- You can post your progress, ask questions of me, ask others for specific ideas or suggestions, and hang out.
- You will have the comfort of community all doing the SAME THING, amidst their busy lives too.
- The spirit of this program is to provide an anchor, motivation, supportive community, and friendly accountability so you can make your project happen. Simple as that.
Expectations for taking part:
- You can put as much time as you love into this, but the minimal expectation is 3hrs per week – not for me or the program – but ON YOUR PROJECT.
- You post your updates at least weekly, and more is great, on what’s up for you. Otherwise I’ll be feeling all verklempt wondering what happened to you and worrying about you 😉
- You can change your mind on projects part-way in. That is normal and natural. But you will be willing to settle on something and see it through.
- If you get off-track (I do often), please don’t disappear. I know, life gets in the way sometimes. Me too. But write to me, and let me help you fix it.
- I am making this non-refundable – on purpose – except in extreme circumstances. Not to be a meanie, or greedy. It’s because oftentimes the financial commitment is what helps us commit to OURSELVES. Please know the expectation is that you can change your mind on what project, or adjust your project if needs be, but: I. Will. See. You. Through. 🙂
If this all sounds good (and if not email me to ask questions ok!)…
Here’s how to register and begin YOUR grade 8 project for grown-ups:
1. Investment options for you to choose from: AND – You can bring a friend or your special somebody with you for FREE in all of these options, or split the cost between you 🙂 YAY!
$195 – all in for the 4 months by PayPal or Credit Card here.
$175 – all in for the 4 months. Email transfer (only works within Canada I’m afraid – but no fees for me so you can keep the difference 🙂 – Send to alex[at]bigdreamprogram[dot]com with security question: grade eight what? security answer: project
Or…. would it be helpful to stretch it out… no problem 🙂
Payment Plans: $49/mo. or $11/wk.
Email me: alex[at]bigdreamprogram[dot]com and I’ll set that up personally for you. Happy to!
Free: you just love this idea, are inspired, YAY! This work is part of my livelihood, hence the investment which I think is totally a good deal, but if you would like to take part and NOT do the guided program… if you feel you are better able to get your project accomplished on your own, I totally commend and respect that. PLEASE email me. I will send you the brainstorming worksheet to get you started, and please contribute your accomplishment grad photo to me when you get there so I can add you to the board 🙂 Important reason for me personally at the bottom of this page 🙂
Waldorf Fundraiser: I will ask every registrant how they heard about this program! If you are from a particular Waldorf School, or heard about it from one, then I will send 50% of your payment back to that school! YAY! The Waldorf school has not only been one of the most important parts of my kids’ life, but my wife and I as well. This is a great way for you to do something wonderful and inspiring for yourself, for your family, and give a bunch of dough to your school as well 🙂
2. What happens then…. once you’ve chosen your investment option (unless it’s the free don’t want the group program option) please go HERE. It’s our headquarters on Facebook. the Project Café. Request to join. As soon as I see it and your payment, I’ll pass you in. Please introduce yourself, and you’ll see the ‘brainstorming your project worksheet’ in the ‘files’ section 🙂
3. Then…. your grade 8 project begins 🙂 Time to get brainstorming. See you on the inside, and can’t wait to spend the next weeks with you and hear about your plans!
My big why: My wish for you, and the reason I started the Big Dream Program all these years ago:
I believe in my heart that the solutions to all the problems we have in this pale blue dot of Earth reside – like seeds – in the hearts and minds of children – and the wise kid in all of us. Making a dream happen, as a grown-up, shows everyone else, our kids most importantly, that it’s wise, smart, fun, and important to listen to that inner voice – the voice calling us to experience particular things. To make small dreams happen – sometimes the BEST reason is… it makes us a happier person on the planet, and that may be the highest order gift we could share.
Our role models – from musicians to actors, activists to artists, parents, healers, authors, engineers and entrepreneurs – that have changed the world for the better all began with dreams, and were unwilling to set them aside. Their dreams became beginning projects. I hope that the children in our world today, my children, meet and know someone like YOU – someone who is willing to throw a wedge into conventional life and say ‘I’m doing this, because I care about ALL of our happiness, and I’m willing to have a go at leading by example.’
Maybe a teenager of 16 in your world today will remember your Grade 8 grown-ups project when THEY are 30 or 40 or 50, when life has gotten tough. And they will stop to listen to their hearts. If we don’t start a dream for our own selves, may I suggest we do it for those who will change the earth behind us, and show them the way.
Head lad at the Big Dream Program, well, only lad to be honest 😉