DSM: Re: Re: About offering something (was: dancing)

Kristin Harkness (kristin@harkness.net)
Sat, 20 Jan 2001 19:16:43 -0500

I think there is a difference between offering to share your own activities
and offering someone an activity which you have designed for her/his
benefit. The first speaks from your own interest, and is in the nature of a
gift ("I really like this, perhaps you might as well"). The second makes a
statement about what you think another person 'ought' to do, and is
generally not an activity which you would pursue even if the offer is
politely refused. Life would be poor indeed if we stopped making the first
sort of offerings to each other. However, the second kind of offering makes
two judgements about the offeree(s): one, that you believe that they have a
need or lack in some area, and two, that you believe that they should
address this need or lack with a different priority than they themselves
have applied to it (otherwise, they would be approaching you). It is this
second kind of offering which I believe Sudbury model schools are wary of

Kristin Harkness

-----Original Message-----
From: Alan Klein <Alan@klein.net>
To: discuss-sudbury-model@aramis.sudval.org
Date: Friday, January 19, 2001 9:18 PM
Subject: DSM: Re: About offering something (was: dancing)

>Recently I saw "Oh Brother Where Art Thou?". based on my relationship with
>him, I had a feeling that my son would like it. I "offered" the idea to
>He got hooked by the election aftermath. Knowing that I couldn't resist a
>hanging chad, he "offered" to discuss the issues with me at various times.
>My wife read a book recently that she liked. She "offered" that I might
>to read it, as well.
>My friends are "West Wing" junkies. They brought a video of it over to our
>house and "offered" it to us.
>My point is that we do, indeed, make such offers to others. The important
>question is why we do it and on what data do we base our "offering". As
>staff members of a democratic school, we develop relationships with
>students. Based on this relationship, I expect that the students will
>"offer" me aspects of their lives and interests that they believe would
>interest me or on which they want my input. I feel free to do the same.
>This is VERY different from me saying that what I offer is more important
>than what the student might choose without my offer.
>~Alan Klein
>----- Original Message -----
>From: Marko Koskinen <marko@vapaus.net>
>> I try to make this short because this issue has been discussed in many
>> occasions. The key is that why would you want to "offer" something? If
>> you truly trust your children, you don't need to "offer" TO them
>> anything, you can just enjoy living WITH them. People learn all the time
>> from what they see and sense with their senses and when you "offer"
>> something, you're telling the child that "this thing that I'm offering
>> is more important than what you're choosing for yourself" and "I am
>> wiser than you and that's why I am allowed to 'offer' you these ideas".
>> Both of these are coersive because they make the child feel that what
>> she chooses for herself is not that important and that the motivation
>> should come from outside, and thus the child creates herself some inner
>> coersive patterns.
>> I believe the idea of offering things is very similar to the idea of
>> education, and as I believe that no externally motivated education can
>> be uncoersive, I can't see how the "offering" could benefit the child.

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