In late 2015, a few months into what he describes as his “so-called retirement,” Ted Wachtel had completed most of his responsibilities in the transition to his successor, John Bailie, the second president at the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP), an accredited master’s degree-granting school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., where Ted was founder and first president.
He says “so-called” retirement, because, “I’m only 70 and I’m not dead yet. My dad died in 2014, a couple of months short of his 100th birthday, and my mom was 91 when she passed. In light of my parents’ longevity, I hope I’ll have time for at least a couple more projects.”
Below is the beginning of a long list of such projects, which have defined Ted’s life to date:
Experiments, Prototypes, Working Models
and Demonstration Programs
Since his graduation from Miami University (Ohio) in December 1967, Ted and various colleagues—often working with his wife, Susan—have organized projects to try out their ideas in the real world, through experiments, prototypes, working models and demonstration programs.
Of course, some of the projects did not work out the way Ted had hoped. But as a pragmatist, he knows that he can learn as much from his failures as his successes. “For each project,” he says, “you ask the questions: What works? What doesn’t? How? And why? After which, you can apply the new knowledge and understanding to your next efforts.
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained. The most powerful and useful approach to learning is direct experience. It requires a willingness to fail and look foolish. But if you have thoughtfully considered your project and see enough value in it, you take a chance and leap into the fray of life.”