Re: DSM: Hashing out philosophy
Sat, 10 Mar 2001 11:10:14 EST

Dear Cindy,

Thank you for your story of S. I think you all showed a lot of facility. I
think that because you came up with the following question:

> Does anyone know how to handle an aggressor like this (with deep respect
> profound regard)?

No, I don't have any quick or easy answers. But I do think it is the core
question driving much of this paradigm. Because, of course, it is "cake" to
show respect and regard when a child (or any person) is "nice" or "kind" or
"helpful" or "agreeable" or "pleasant". But how about when they are

I see this question also in Marko's brilliant theoretical question: "Could we
make a Sudbury Valley for all children"?

And I do understand that, in practice, so far, the answer is that the freedom
offered by Sudbury requires a certain normed pattern of behavior. The child
must agree to the "deal". I think the "deal" is sterling, but when the child
does not, then what?

So back to the story of S.
Here is what comes up for me.
First, I think it is clear that S is tons more, a thousands times more, and
different, than just the aggresive behavior. Yes, the aggressive behavior,
but then more, much more. Probably a depth beyond our fathoming.
Secondly, it comes up for me, a kindness for ourselves. Because, we may in
fact be limited. Offering deep respect and profound regard may be a "ceiling
function" (there is nothing more or better - that's it).
Finally, then, are we left with a puzzle? The tremendous depth of S (and all
of us) and our best fails to connect or resonate.

Deep Regard,
Bill Richardson

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