Re: DSM: Ambition and Humility

Allan Saugstad (
Fri, 17 Nov 2000 13:47:11 -0800


I really agree with you! There are times, in my enthusiasm, that I dream
about how I want the kids to turn out or what I think will really be
good for them, but it's really just me imposing my will on them, in a
subtle way. We see so many well-intentioned people who are full of
energy and want to save the world, but they just can't or don't let the
kids just be themselves! It's a difficult mindset to overcome, I think,
but if one can look at a child with love and utter respect in their
heart, without thinking of the future or the past, it can be done.

----- Original Message -----
From: Joseph Moore <>
Date: Friday, November 17, 2000 12:42 pm
Subject: DSM: Ambition and Humility

> In light of the fascinating discussion of the last couple weeks:
> We have this great ambition: to change the way children are
> educated (or, in
> our terms, educate themselves). Unavoidably, this puts us in
> conflict with a
> majority of people we come across, who are invested, one way or
> another, in
> the current way of doing things. So, many of us (all of us?) get
> at least a
> little evangelical when talking about the model - we all have our
> facts and
> stories and feelings lined up to argue our case.
> It's not a theoretical argument, at least not any more - people
> can compare
> how a Sudbury schools works to how a traditional school works. But
> there are
> theoretical (or philosophical) considerations: It is essential to
> the model
> that we have faith that kids will, if left free to do it, learn
> whateverthey feel is necessary. Further, we believe that an
> environment of free
> choice helps kids become self-reliant, independent and strong -
> and, most of
> all, happy. Conversely, if you think it's the school's job to see
> to it that
> kids turn out some particular way, you will end up infringing on
> the kids'
> innate freedom - and, if you lose that lesson, you've lost a major
> point of
> the model.
> While on the one hand we want to change the world, on the other,
> we don't
> presume to tell the kids how (or even if) they should go about
> changing it.
> That's their call - as founders and parents, we want to give them
> a chance -
> then humbly step aside so that they can take it.
> So, in this sense, we oppose any plans that start out with a pre-
> determinedview of how kids should turn out when properly educated,
> whether that view
> is of good little consumers and workers (factory schools) or some
> sort of
> metaphysically enlightened bodhisattvas, or any place between. Good
> intentions can not be allowed to overrule people's innate right to
> freedomjust because those people happen to be kids. Possibly the
> worst schools are
> those whose keepers are most convinced of the purity of their
> goals for the
> kids.
> Joseph Moore
> DVS Founder

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