The Hunter’s Mind – An Alternative Perspective on ADD/ADHD

In the course of a year we work with dozens of schools and organizations, and many hundreds of young participants. Invariably, some of these young people have an ADD or ADHD diagnosis. It would be all too easy to lump these folks into some sort of confining category – unfortunately this is sometimes something that we witness – and let that negatively affect the ways in which we relate to these young people.

Thom Hartmann’s Hunter & Farmer breakdown of ADD has been an invaluable tool for us at AIAO as we try to understand and work best with some of our own staff, as well as the young people we serve who have ADD/ADHD. In its simplest form, Hartmann’s hypothesis states that what are now labeled as maladaptive and disruptive traits (i.e, disordered behavior) has had tremendous value in humanity’s evolutionary past. It’s just that culture and society have shifted so quickly that these once highly-valued and necessary attributes that allowed individuals and cultures to thrive, don’t fit as easily into the slowed down, modern farmer’s (agricultural) society that most humans now live in.

Check out the simple chart below for a simple breakdown of the hypothesis. You can also check out Hartmann’s book and additional information here.



Thom Hartmann’s Hunter/Farmer Table for understanding ADHD.

The Importance of Self-Care

“Self-care is a touchy subject. That’s because our society largely views self-care as selfish, slothful and overly indulgent…Yet, it’s anything but. Taking good care of yourself not only makes your life more fulfilling and contributes to your well-being, but it also extends to others.” – Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

In a field that requires as much energy as outdoor education, the importance of self-care cannot be overstated. That said, it’s also important for everyone else: educators, students, parents, etc.

The concept reminds me of the oxygen masks on airplanes: we are charged with putting on our own so that we are then better able to help others. It’s the same in many other areas of our lives.

Self-Care Ideas:
Have a game nights with friends and family, go on a nature walk, meditate, take a yoga class, garden, journal, cook a delicious meal, listen to a favorite podcast, work on a craft/DIY project, get a massage, read a favorite book, go to the movies or a concert, tell bad jokes with a loved one.

The sky’s the limit! Whatever you find relaxing and rejuvenating can be employed in your self-care practice. For some deeper self-care suggestions, check out this article on PsychCentral.Com.

Reflections on Integrity

Recently I’ve found myself reflecting on the notion of integrity. Sounds simple enough, right? That’s what I thought.

With each unique person and mind comes the possibility of interpreting even the most basic of things differently than the person standing next to you. Thus, with that in mind, I turn to quotations, for I am often inspired by the words of others that have stood the test of time…

“They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions… but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself.  The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” – Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

“Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

“When you are content to simply be yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.” – Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Stay classy, adventurers!

When Bullying Turns Tragic

A recent article in the LA Times citing the journal JAMA Pediatrics addresses the hard and intuitive truth that bullied children are more likely to consider and attempt suicide.

And, in tragic confirmation of this fact, we now have the story of Michael Morones. Bullied so severely, Michael attempted to end his life by hanging himself, but being unsuccessful he is now “being treated for potentially lifelong neurological injuries caused by a lack of oxygen. [His mother] said they don’t know how much he will recover or when, if ever.”

“The world has developed stereotypes for our children, and when our children don’t fit these gender and sexist stereotypes they’re ostracized, ridiculed and bullied…Our society is no longer building up our children and setting them up for success, only tearing them down.”

The full story can be found here.

And, if you’re as passionate as we are about working to address bullying, or if you’d like to speak with us about setting up an anti-bullying workshop, check out Adventure In, Adventure Out’s program You Belong.

Yik Yak, Bullying, and Internet Anonymity

When Spiderman/Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben paraphrased Voltaire saying, “With great power come great responsibility,” he probably wasn’t referring to smartphones in the hands of high school students. But, as technology continues to find its way into the hands of children and young people, addressing techno-bullying becomes increasingly harder.

Thus, I say ‘Kudos!’ to the folks at Yik Yak:
“The founders of an up-and-coming anonymous messaging app called Yik Yak, that began to take off among the middle school and high school crowd where it has been linked to both bullying and threats, have taken the unprecedented step of actually blocking younger users from accessing its application while on school grounds.”

But while this is a valuable step, it’s only a small step towards greater inclusion, and the undoing of the underlying culture of bullying that is the painful reality for so many young people.

Click here to read the full Yik Yak article, and click here to learn more about Adventure In Adventure Out’s You Belong, “a bold and transformative program that engages students and teachers in the creation of a physically and emotionally safe environment where courageous action is encouraged, and the true expression of each person is welcomed and celebrated.”

Anti-Bullying Ad Aimed at Grown-Ups Could Change the World


There is a lot of quality content being created and shared by the people at The Good Men Project, and this anti-bullying ad from France is just one example.

Recasting the bullied and the bullies as adults rather than children, it is quickly apparent just how traumatic bullying can be.

Go here to learn more about Adventure In, Adventure Out’s Look Again anti-bullying program.

You can also check out the original article by Joanna Schroeder here.

A Sincere Compliment

I couldn’t agree more with Jeremiah Anthony’s classmates: he is an inspiration.

Taking the simple idea of challenging bullying with compliments, he has affected his entire high school and created an environment of positivity that impacts students of all ages.

So many of us, including myself, have experienced bullying at some point in our lives. So, it’s heartwarming to know that, in addition to Adventure In, Adventure Out’s You Belong program, there are other individuals, organizations, and schools working to counteract the destructiveness of bullying.

To check out West Side Bros on Twitter go here, and visit our site to learn more about our You Belong anti-bullying program.


Peeking Into the Life of a Middle Schooler Through Poetry

This video has been circulating on the web for a little while now, but it is so very relevant to the experience we are creating with our “You Belong” program. It is the many feelings, struggles, hopes and doubts that can feel so isolating when exploring one’s identity. Yet, these very ingredients also create the recipe for belonging. The reason they can make us feel so alone is because we assume that no one else could ever feel this way. I must be the only one. And, so we try to keep them hidden, buried just below the surface of what we allow to be seen.

The problem is, if everyone does this, then we end up operating in a world where it seems like those fears, hopes and feelings don’t exist except within ourselves. This is the power and inspiration of vulnerability and compassion. Together, they help us construct a window where people can see into the real us. It is is there that we can realize we are not alone, we are not the only ones – that we can belong! So, how do we live lives where we can create that window? By doing exactly what Shane is doing here – stepping out with courage and sharing what is real!

“Bullying” Has Little Resonance With Teenagers

Below is a great article on the potential misses in the conversation between teens and adults around bullying, compassion and empathy! It is so important when we are working with our youth that we meet them at a place that they identify with. There is no meaning, interest or investment when we are not able to see ourselves in what is being presented. This is the key to compassion and empathy, the very things we hope to teach our youth when we confront bullying behaviors. Let’s be sure to practice the same empathy in our conversations with teenagers and see into their true experiences, rather than our own interpretation.

“Bullying” Has Little Resonance with Teenagers