Wheels Are Made of Hubs, and Spokes

HOPE Alliance is a collective with a purpose. HOPE Alliance has grown from a sparkle in the mind of a wayward young man to a movement that is gaining global attention and engagement. It is critically important to understand what HOPE Alliance is not if we're to fully understand what it is. HOPE Alliance is not a program. It's also not a form of charity. It is, however, something that can be taught and something that can be learned. It's based on tens of thousands of years of wisdom that transcends culture, geography, and demographics.

HOPE Alliance exists to bridge the gap between what we need to understand to live peacefully and productively with each other, and that which we've perhaps forgotten about what we already knew about doing just that. It taps into timeless wisdom that shall not be forgotten if we are to thrive in the ever-changing world together. In simultaneous form, the HOPE Alliance carefully and thoughtfully embraces what we as intelligent humans should have learned and internalized about living peacefully and productively with what has yet to be discovered and has the potential to be leverageable toward peaceful and productive human existence moving forward.

The HOPE Alliance represents a perspective toward purpose and productivity informed by human history and what we should have learned and not forgotten, and also by the imperatives of our future; what we need to understand in different ways to thrive and not destroy ourselves.

Recently HOPE Alliance has partnered with a number of new partners in Africa and the USA. The speed with which we were able to do this simply by exposing HOPE Alliance to the world through the web and social media is testimony to its efficacy and transferability as a construct attached to a fundamental purpose as explained above.

HOPE Alliance is grounded in a heuristic model I created and refer to as the "HOPE Wheel."

The diagram to the left represents the simplest version of our HOPE Wheel. As described in my first blog, KARE Givers, I created the HOPE Wheel during graduate school as part of my action research around emotional, social and moral education. I was struggling to visualize a paradigm that could encompass an intercultural perspective; one that our very diverse school needed to shift toward. I returned to the roots of my professional teaching choosing a medicine wheel model to represent my evolving point of view. My experience working and living among First Nations people exposed me to timeless wisdom surrounding learning philosophy. To First Nations people, learning is the essence of living; it’s organic and natural, and for many, represented by the medicine wheel in one form or another.

Michael and Judy Bopp are co-founders of Four Worlds International, a human and community development organization with roots in indigenous peoples’ development work in North America and well known for its ability to bridge between the cultures of communities and the culture of the agencies and professionals who attempt to serve them. (Bopp J. B., 2006) They explain that,
Medicine in tribal tradition refers to any substance, process, teaching, song, story or symbol that helps to restore balance in human beings and their communities. The medicine wheel is an ancient symbol that represents an entire world view (a way of seeing and knowing) and the teachings that go with it. (Bopp J. B., 2006, p. 22)
Borrowing from the timeless wisdom of the medicine wheel provides us with all we need to establish a simple, non-linear framework of intercultural learning purpose. With the HOPE Wheel, we've established a framework to ground and provide a solid foundation for the learning growth we intend to facilitate for those we serve. This service will come in different forms: online courses; consultation; social connection and collaboration; in-person workshops; and through personal and organizational coaching contexts. The four directions of the HOPE Wheel, (RESPECT - UNDERSTANDING - RELATIONSHIPS - RESPONSIBILITY,) represent vital contexts that can be applied to learning virtually anything. These four directions encircle a hub of HOPE and form the structure of the outer wheel. HOPE, the acronym, as a hub is representative of the words HEALTH, OPPORTUNITY, PRIVILEGE, and EDUCATION. These are the domains with which HOPE Alliance creates content to support learning, growth, and development in the people we serve. Each domain represents an element that we feel every person and organization needs to possess in order to take action toward their hopeful purpose. To us, HOPE is an action word. Growth is dependent on movement, and movement is action. Without action hope is just wishful thinking.

 HOPE Alliance strives to help people initiate action to seek health, opportunity, privilege, and education, and we channel the four directions of respect, understanding, relationships, and responsibility as vessels to achieve their actionable hope. The HOPE Wheel is a learning construct that can be applied to any situation, no matter how complex of simple. Focusing on the four directions helps us know where a person or group is situated so we can help the from that exact place to begin their learning journey. A more detailed series of posts explaining each domain is coming soon, but following is a brief introduction to each direction.

RESPECT is the place on the Hope Wheel where we gaze with wonderment at the world surrounding us and begin to simply realize we are part of this world; we are learning to be. We begin to feel an implicit purpose to learn. We need answers to the question, “why?” When we walk the path of discovery with others, we support finding the answers they seek; we establish value in learning… we help them define purpose. A template for interaction between themselves and others is established on the path of respect. Interacting with ideas and concepts in the domain of respect leads to the establishment of self-identity, and orients us toward the evolution from dependence to independence.

The direction of UNDERSTANDING is where we learn to know. Skill acquisition, new knowledge, and rationale for life-long learning are established within this domain. People at this stage begin developing an independent nature as they take risks with learning and start to develop intrinsic motivation to discover. In the domain of understanding, people sharpen their focus on the surrounding world; they look more critically at themselves and others in their quest to gain knowledge and make sense of things.

When people move to the RELATIONSHIPS phase of the wheel, they begin to understand the value of interdependence among people; they learn to live with each other. People who function competently at this stage seek extrinsic sources of support in their developing relationships, and they begin to understand that interdependence is about distributing strengths among a network of collaborative people working together to learn. In the domain of relationships, we become more resilient by seeking the support of significant others. We learn how to think deeper and critically about ideas, and we establish self-imposed boundaries.

People who have travelled full-circle on the Hope Wheel enter the direction of RESPONSIBILITY where they learn to do. They display an implicit understanding of the imperative to serve themselves first so they can then responsibly serve others. They understand what taking action means. They become caregivers for those travelling the hope paths behind them. In the domain of responsibility, people display intrinsic knowledge and insight as a result of their experience, and they begin to feel confident enough as leaders to engage others; to support and nurture them.

The Hope Wheel is necessary grassroots theory applied to our personal and interpersonal perspectives. It’s a model we can use to place ourselves and those around us on a continuum of human development. We enter the phase of respect when confronted by something totally new but perhaps function confidently in the domain of responsibility in a different context as a result of our experiences and the knowledge we gained as a result. Where we fall on the HOPE Wheel is a reflection of our developing cultural identity. Owing to the notion that self-awareness leads to self-confidence and the willingness to share our values and perspectives with others, the Hope Wheel is also a conduit for confident intercultural communication leading to increased cultural knowledge and responsiveness.
The Grow Boys logo under the HOPE Wheel above represents a "spoke" of the wheel that we have recently adopted to respond to a need that identified itself in Canada, Malawi, Nigeria, Burundi, and Cameroon. In every location, there is an identified need to address the imperative to nurture and support the happy and healthy development of well-adjusted boys. "Grow Boys" has quickly become our first of many "spokes" or areas of focus that we are applying the principles of the HOPE Wheel to support purposeful learning and growth. How Grow Boys will look in each global location will vary, but the core purpose to support boys who grow up to be happy, healthy, and well-adjusted will endure because it has to for the hope behind the HOPE Wheel to remain purposeful and focused.

Interestingly enough, those of us working as facilitators, community builders, teachers, coaches, guides, etc. are also required to align our purposeful actions to the HOPE Wheel. If we don't, it becomes impossible to teach others how to leverage its value as a guiding learning and living model.

Click here for more about what Grow Boys is all about, and take note that everything Grow Boys does is aligned with the HOPE Wheel foundation. Please also watch for evolving developments at the HOPE Alliance website here. Soon you will see SPOKE pages representing Grow Boys, Printernet Publishing, Rule of Eight and many other "spokes" aligned to the HOPE Wheel and designed to support learning in more specific domains that bridge the gap between what we need to understand to live peacefully and productively with each other, and that which we've perhaps forgotten about what we already knew about doing just that. 

Sean Michael Grainger


Popular Posts