Being German, it is in my nature and culture to be more of an individualist than a collectivist. We encourage independence, value individual achievement, intelligence is viewed as aggressive and competitive. While in a collectivist culture people emphasize interdependence, intelligence is viewed as playing a successful role in community structured relationships. A very different way of interacting.
Horse Boy challenged me to investigate a different approach. Working with neuro diverse clients and as a teacher, the idea of having a ‘tribe’ seemed to be a much healthier and a highly effective approach than what I was used to.
In our profession and volunteer work, many people rely on us; we are impacting lives every day. People look to us as role models. That is a lot of responsibility, and we cannot afford to fail.
Even developing a micro tribe with people to ‘geek” out with, relate to, get excited with, helps so much to create energy, build creativity, and realize that there is support and passion for what we love to do.
If we sit at a desk and do spreadsheets and documents all day long, we can go back, fix mistakes, and sometimes even just restart the computer. Working with human beings, that is not possible.
We need to ensure the best possible conditions to succeed; going in alone is not ideal at all, and in addition, feels very isolated.
There will always be people that are more of the ‘go getters’ and others that need a little more encouragement, the lovers and the haters - our challenge is to build a tribe that is the healthiest to support what we try to do.
At the Air Force Academy, we have now started to build such a ‘tribe’. I surrounded myself with people that wanted to learn, that believed in the philosophy of Horse Boy and wanted to use it for the good of the people they work with.
Sometimes that meant the painful decision of letting go of people that were filled with negativity and placed ultimatums, but making the right choice for the group of people we needed for this work.
For now, there is just a handful of volunteers, however, we believe the tribe will grow with time, especially when people see how impactful we can be using the tools the method has to offer.
In addition, I believe it is extremely healthy for our youth to be part of such a tribe. We have many teenagers that struggle with cliques in school, feel left out, not part of anything. This is another way to engage them and have them be part of something bigger than simply making it through high school.
It could be part of an answer to sudden depression increase and suicidal attempts. Many teens feel isolated and useless- being part of a tribe can give them support and purpose.
When I asked my teenagers to get involved in volunteering for Horse Boy, they were hesitant, but they are now loving it, feel needed, and even found their way back in the saddle riding again. After their volunteer sessions, the dinner conversations were about feelings of happiness and the changes they noticed in children rather than complaints about school and friend groups.
They could finally escape their imprisonment in self importance and isolation. Feeling needed and important refreshed their being and communication.
Horse Boy has amazed me with their global community of members that are engaged, creative, and passionate. They opened my mind to looking beyond my immediate community of co workers and community members. I was disillusioned and was missing people that could talk the talk and walk the walk, until I joined this group of inspirational people. Now, I am in a place where I have the support to build a local tribe and inspire others.
Horse Boy’s tribe brings global perspective and encouragement, the feeling of being part of something bigger than just the regular day in day out routines. These people in this tribe change lives on a regular basis.
Iliane Lorenz and Rupert Isaacson are front runners giving up much of their own time and personal lifes to support others. They are role models to encourage others to do their best in supporting human beings in need, connection builders, shoulders to cry on, listeners, teachers.
This community is learning from each other, supporting each other in crisis, and celebrating successes. It makes us part of a community that is changing the world. Nobody can do it all alone.