RE: DSM: Exposure to information

Joseph Moore (
Sun, 4 Mar 2001 15:01:00 -0800

This whole exposure thing has provoked a lot of thought from the beginning
(6 or 7 years ago, when Diablo Valley School was still largely a gleam in
Amy Ares's eye ;-) )for me - at home, I don't expose my kids to stuff I'm
not interested in, but at the same time, at our house there's a piano,
guitar, violin, thousands of books, lots of cooking and woodworking
equipment, sewing and knitting supplies - but not bagpipes, videos in
French, German or Japanese, electric trains, chemistry supplies, quilting
frames, wood carving tools, and a million other things. We do check out
museums and an occasional concert, but not opera (yet) - these are my and my
wife's biases at work.

I'm not forcing our kids to pursue any interest, but I don't pretend not to
be pleased when my 9 year old decides to read a book on math, or my 7 year
old wants piano lessons - I'm thrilled, and act like it. And, whatever we
say about freedom, a kid whose mom writes stories or whose dad attends city
council meetings has a different experience of the world than a kid whose
parents don't do these things, but do build kit cars and speak Farsi. And on
and on.

This brings me back to my recurring theme of 'good' versus 'perfect' - a
home and a school should be full of the stuff that people in them are
genuinely interested in, and free of the stuff that is merely good for us in
somebody's expert opinion. As Steven Wright so perfectly said: You can't
have everything - where would you put it? So a good (if not 'perfect' in
some theoretical sense) environment will be strongly biased by the interests
(and culture, and language and skills) of the people in it. As long as
everyone is free of coercion and has their choices respected - it's very
good, and, I venture, good enough.


-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Sunday, March 04, 2001 8:52 AM
Subject: Re: DSM: Exposure to information


I don't believe in forced exposure (that is exactly what our current school
system in this country is set up to do and I think forced exposure kills
initiative quicker than anything). By exposure, I mean availability in the
sense that when you walk into a library or turn on a computer to browse the
net, the information is there if you need it or want it. I also am a firm
believer in exposing my kids to as many things and people as I can and in a
nonjudgemental way, allowing them to form their own interests and opinions.

We go to museums, concerts, coffee houses, aquariums, etc and of course
libraries. And when they show an interest in learning more about something,
support them and answer their questions about how they can do that or I look

to expose them to someone who can. I can say that I have learned more in
last few years from my children's interests than I have from my own because
their pure enthusiasm draws you in. My 8 year old has a special interest in

US history and had me reading him as his bedtime story for an entire two
weeks a book about the First Ladies. I would never have gone out and picked

the book to read myself but it was very interesting reading it to him. I
guess our kids can expose us to things too.


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