Monday, July 17, 2017

Krista Lynn Sandstrom - Anthropology Coaching and Raising Children

July 1,
Krista Lynn Sandstrom the Anthropologist:

As I move forward, building a trusted network to help raise our children without her, some reflections:

While she and I both have History degrees specializing in Classical civilizations, At her core she was an Anthropologist (that was her other BA degree). Cultural Anthropology was her passion. In fact right when we moved to the Twin Cities in February of 1993, She intended on going to grad school at the University ofMinnesota in Anthropology, and I was going to do Ethnomusicology and Anthropological Linguistics. 
She of course, ultimately earned a Master of Education and a PhD in Organization Development. Through this all, Anthropology remained Krista's true love and passion. This drove everything behind her work as a Leader, an Executive Coach, an Organization Strategist, and Diversity advocate.
"People do not just react to an environment as given; rather, they react to it as they perceive it, and different groups of people may perceive the same environment in radically different ways. People also react to things other than the environment: their own biological natures, for one, and their beliefs, attitudes, and the consequences of their own behavior, for others. All of these things present them with problems, and people maintain cultures to deal with problems, or matters that concern them. To be sure, their cultures must produce behavior that is generally adaptive, or at least not maladaptive, but this is not the same as saying that cultural practices necessarily arise because they are adaptive to a particular environment." 
-- William A. Haviland, Cultural Anthropology 6th Edition.

The quote above, by William Haviland is drawn from the foundations of Plato's conception of Paideia as described in his Allegory of the Cave. Plato urges us to look beyond the perceptions of our own cultural biases (language, art, economics, religion, etc) to strive for greater understanding. - This is the basis of Scientific Investigation too. And the Classical Values which Krista and I shared.
Krista Lynn Sandstrom and I were in college (1988-92) during Star Trek The Next Generation -- and bonded over it values (though we both grew up playing the original series in our respective home towns. (me as Kirk / she as Bones) Krista loved TNG as The Prime Directive is essentially Anthropology in Space. - learning about how other cultures work within their own systems -- (seasons 3-4 were the best -- with "Darmok" and "The Inner Light" as the best episode ever.) -- though early in her executive coaching career, more than one Ameriprise executive referred to her as their "Deanna Troi"
She double majored in Anthropology and History with a classical civilizations minor; And I was on the linguistics / ethnomusicology path with my Philosophy and Classical Languages majors -- before I decided to become a Rock Star.

I do remember when she went J-Term 1992 to the Annapurna mountains in Nepal. It was some weird mix of Anthropology Students and Business majors.  Krista was shocked at the ethnocentric judgement displayed by some of the business majors who would remark on the "funny and weird way" people dressed...-- Of course that is one of the things that drove her to succeed in her career field first as a diversity expert then as executive coach. To help those in modern business environments learn to be human.

I miss her.

While, resisting temptation not to get into an extensive explanation distinguishing the Investigative nature of Philosophy versus the defensive purpose of Apologetics, the later often masquerades by using the tools of Philosophy.  The distinction is nonetheless clear:

Investigation and Seeking to Understand = Philosophy and Science
Defense and Justification = Apologetics and Law

Plato's point in the Allegory of the Cave is for us to overcome the base inclinations which compel us to defend our beliefs and norms. So he asks us to bravely investigate our cultural perceptions, assumptions, prejudices and beliefs about nature. To look beyond our structures, paradigms by bravely investigating matter how uncomfortable it makes us, or shakes our beliefs.

While Apologetics can be fun -- like doing the crossword or Sudoku, it certainly is not Philosophy and it is not particularly useful for Education.

Plato further warns the folly of those who engage in defense of cultural biases / apologetics: 
"And is there anything surprising in one who passes from divine contemplation to the evil state of man, misbehaving himself in a ridiculous manner; if, while his eyes are blinking and before he has become accustomed to the surrounding darkness, he is compelled to fight in courts of law, or in other places, about the images or the shadows of images of justice, and is endeavoring to meet the conceptions of those who have never yet seen absolute justice? "
Read Plato's excerpt here:

July 9
So with Krista in mind, I have been providing my children with daily devotions in Anthropology and Philosophy. This morning I got them addicted to the "THUNK" channel on Youtube with their introduction to "Teleological Bias." Today fortifying their moral fiber with the Sandstrom-McGuire values of Investigation and Cultural Relativism where we  Seek to Understand and Assume Positive Intent, as a guard against Ethnocentrism , have a look:

Teleological Bias:

This core investigative foundation, acknowledging the reality of Cultural Relativism while being on guard against the unquestioning shadow world of Ethnocentrism is embedded in our family values. Krista was big on Franz Boas, Eleanor Roosevelt and Laura Ingalls Wilder, I am big on John Dewey, Plato and Carl Sagan.

July 13,
Yesterday, I got myself a bit worked up with tangled emotions of grief, frustration, because a subject came up regarding the meaning of Diversity. Where I really really wish for the sake of all who care about education and diversity - would listen to Krista's wisdom. So I chimed in trying to share Krista Lynn Sandstrom and my values, but resorting to my own delivery rather than her wise-minded cool headed response.":

"...And wow, what a question, that is a subject right in Krista’s wheelhouse. Anytime the question of Diversity comes up...well its hard for me not to think about my conversations with her.
Krista recognized and taught that diversity goes well beyond just race, gender, culture...but delves deeper into learning styles, working styles of each individual...and that the recognition of the different talents each individual brings needs to be cultivated and nurtured by the leader / coach. The leader is constantly helping their team members develop their strengths, and sees how they can better work as a team. 
With regard to Education, the simple rubric we give Soren and Birgitta,
Defense and Justification = Apologetics and Law
Investigation and Seeking to Understand = Philosophy and Science
If one is constantly defending their position, they aren’t going to be able to hear the other voices. With Philosophy we are not defending, but seeking to understand with positive intent. Seeking to understand is NECESSARY for any claim to Diversity to be true It cannot be true when one's position is mired in conviction.
That IS what I would like to hear the Executive Director candidates to touch upon, Do they understand that Apologetics is not conducive for Education? Have they actually read at least Book VII of Plato’s Republic? The Allegory of the Cave? The very foundational work in Classical Education. For what its worth when it comes to serious education, I will ALWAYS chose Plato / John Dewey over any populist author of some 1980s homeschool Fad. (my critique of a few of these found here:"
For readings of Classical Education based upon the academic foundations laid by Plato, refer to this:

June 25
Reading through my wife's reading lists of journal articles and white papers, her work notes, her reminders -- While I no longer talk with her about these very topics-- I can hear her voice as I read. - Here is her PhD Dissertation - she quietly got her diploma - the only one in attendance was me.

And I always have 5 hours of video of her teaching executives how to be better Coaches to their employees.

Krista Lynn Sandstrom on Youtube


I wrote this as I look at my fun reading list on my bedstand:

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