By Oliver & Rachel DeMille

What dedicated parent hasn’t thought: “My kids deserve better than this…but this is all I know!”

We often get so concerned with “what” to teach that we neglect the “how” and “why.” Yet these make all the difference between success and failure.

Understanding them creates happier, more empowered children, successful homes and fulfilling family relationships.

The heart and essence of Leadership Education is seated in The 7 Keys of Great Teaching. As we apply the 7 Keys in an individualized and mentored way, great things happen!

Click here to review the 7 Keys of Great Teaching >>

The Eighth Key

the 8th keySome people coming off the conveyor belt are rather harsh critics when assessing their own strengths.

Parents and teachers of this generation often lament that they did not receive mentoring in the classics, and worry that they are not prepared to offer a great experience to those they mentor.

We have great expectations, and living up to our ideals – to the potential that our children have, and to what they need us to be – can be a lot of pressure.

It can be stressful to juggle a marriage, a household, our own readings, our kids’ activities, and still be inspiring!!

It’s helpful to remember that it’s not just TJEders or homeschoolers who feel the pressure to measure up, or the worry of not being enough; parents of every kind and in every situation are likewise stressing.

Okay, maybe that’s not all that helpful.

But here’s something that hopefully is more helpful. There is an “8th Key of Great Teaching”:

Secure, not Stressed

By learning and following some key principles, you can stop constantly second-guessing yourself, squelch the voices in your head that provoke fear, dread and conveyor-belt hangover, and settle in to enjoying your life.

Really, you can!

Secure, not Stressed means:

  • You understand the goals and principles of Leadership Education with enough depth that you see the big picture
  • You know how the Phases and Keys, and the principles of good mentoring, apply specifically to yourself and those you teach
  • You know how and where to find answers when your needs and circumstances change
  • You trust the process enough to focus on your goals without being derailed by every dissenting voice or distracting opportunity
  • You are actively continuing to fill your TJEd bucket by reading/listening to materials that give you frequent “a-ha’s” and keep you fine-tuned in how to apply the principles in your home and classroom

Getting Started

When it comes to teaching, mentoring and inspiring our students or children, it is our observation that the trajectory you’re on is actually more important than your locus on the grid.

Who doesn’t remember a really smart, super-educated teacher that bored them to tears with lectures, assignments and requirements?

And who hasn’t had a totally life-changing experience with a mentor that (according to their resume) didn’t stack up to the super-educated teacher – and yet they had the ability to spark you and others to a whole new level of performance…all because they loved what they were teaching, they loved who they were teaching, and they personalized the experience in meaningful ways?

We know you know what we’re talking about.

Not only do most of us have such a great mentor in our history, it’s also the stuff of great literature and movies year after year.

Plot summary: “Misunderstood underachiever is inspired by caring mentor and achieves the impossible.”

Even Hollywood understands that it’s not about information so much as inspiration.

Information matters, of course; but it’s inspiration that has the power to transform us.

Talking about You, not Them

But back to you: It’s not your level of previous achievement as much as your current forward momentum that will inspire and move your children.

The almost-perfect mom-or-dad/educator who is static or stagnant in her progress (intellectually dormant—well-educated or not) has virtually no power to animate others to self-education and success in personal mission.

In contrast, the earnest and enthusiastic efforts of a committed self-educator to continually grow and improve can lead to amazing results in those she works with!

The Eighth Key is all about the impact you will have as you internalize the principles of Leadership Education to become your own expert. The Eighth Key is: Secure, not Stressed.

There are a lot of reasons people resort to the require-and-assign course; but once you decide to get off the conveyor belt and get on the path of Leadership Education, there are a couple of things you need to know:


rose1. You don’t have to be perfect to be spectacular.

Every rose is unique and beautiful. Small imperfections and idiosyncrasies only add to its loveliness.

You’re not perfect, and that’s okay!

No parent is; no teacher is, no matter how many degrees or years of training.

The things that matter most for you to be a blessing to those you teach are already yours: love; special knowledge of your kids’ needs and potential; a desire (that nobody can compete with) for their future happiness and success; and so much more!

These matter a great deal in terms of what you have to offer.

And as for those things you want to improve in, what you want to do better… even those will be a blessing to your children as they see your desire and humility, your passion and commitment to make and keep personal goals to achieve your personal mission to teach and inspire.

Parents and educators all over the world are making a positive difference by integrating visionary and proven principles into their family and classroom culture.

The transition isn’t always immediate, but in some important ways the results are.

Within just a few days’ time a new level of hope and vision can be sensed; over time, and with the incorporation of more and more principles, confidence can be gained that hoped-for changes are in progress, and are on the horizon.

Thousands of parents and mentors will attest: apply the principles and trust the process; it works.

2. An investment in your education is not a withdrawal from your children’s

To the contrary: it actually is a lever that impacts your children exponentially.

As we come Face-to-Face with Greatness in the classics, we are changed; and our ability to make a difference in our relationships, in our sphere of influence and in the lives of our children is greatly impacted.

With the demands of home and family, too often we feel like we have no right to take time out for self-improvement.

But would you go without food in order to have more time for your family?

Or forgo sleep altogether?

Obviously, every day requires decisions, compromises and even sacrifices, and this is what makes parenthood and teaching so rewarding.

But we cannot neglect our health and well-being on a regular basis and still be the kind of parent or teacher we need to be over the long haul.

Common sense dictates that we take care of our basic needs – not just because of our own basic dignity and worth, but because – if we don’t – we can’t take care of others.

By the same token, our spiritual and intellectual health impact our ability to counsel, teach, inspire and discipline our kids meaningfully and well.

Give yourself permission to commit an appropriate amount of time to filling your bucket (whatever that may mean during this season of your life), so you can be the best mom, dad, teacher, mentor, etc., that you can be.

Everyone you know will be blessed by it!

We hope that all who read this will feel the desire and make the commitment so that we as parents and educators, for ourselves and for the rising generation, get An Education to Match Our Mission.

And as we do – so will they.

Are you ready to be Secure, not Stressed? Click here for info on how >>


Image Oliver DeMille is the co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd. He is the NY Times Bestselling co-author of LeaderShift, and author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom, and FreedomShift: 3 Choices to Reclaim America’s Destiny.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through Leadership Education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.