DSM: Results and DSM Video games

From: Mark Stafford & Angela Sevin (markangela@mail.com)
Date: Mon May 07 2001 - 11:15:39 EDT

Hi, (from Angela Sevin)

CindyK wrote:
> Then there is the whole idea of play. Play has a very negative rap in
> society at large. The 60M piece opened with a lot of kids going out to
> enjoy sledding. A lot of play. Why do people find it so hard to watch kids
> play? Why do we think that we have to be constantly DOING something that
> someone else considers PRODUCTIVE!? I don't get it.
> Just a thought.
> CindyK
I too am intrigued by the metaphysical elements of play and Sudbury
Valley education... I found this recently...

>From "The Active Life" by Parker Palmer

on results

...Education dominated by preconceived images of what must be learned
can hardly be educational. Authentic teaching and learning requires a
live encounter with the unexpected, an element of surprise, an evocation
of that which we did not know until it happened. If these
elements are not present, we may be training or indoctrinating students,
but we are not educating them. In any arena of action- rearing
children, counseling people, repairing machines, writing books- right
action depends on yielding our images of particular outcomes to the
organic realities of ourselves, the other, and the adventure of action

But this yielding requires us to confront our fears once more. Behind
our obsession with projecting results and gearing our actions toward
them is our need to control the other and the situation; and behind our
need to control is our fear of what will happen if we lose control. If
we lack confidence that life is trustworthy, that a life of live
encounters will take us toward wholeness, then we will forever feel the
need to manipulate, and goal setting will be one of our major
strategies. But once we begin to understand that life is a live
encounter whether we like it or not- once we begin to understand that we
can't get out of it, so we must get into it- then this concern for
results will take its proper place in our active lives...

...Our culture's fearful obsession with results has sometimes,
ironically, led us to abandon great objectives and settle for trivial
and mediocre ends. The reason is simple. As long as "effectiveness" is
the ultimate standard by which we judge our actions, we will act only
toward ends we are sure we can achieve. People who undertake projects
of real breadth and depth are very unlikely to be "effective", since
effectiveness is measured by short term results (never mind the fact
that such people may be creating cultural legacies by their
"failures"). But people with small visions will win the effectiveness
awards, since those projects are so insignificant that they can almost
always "succeed" (never mind the fact that they contribute nothing of
real merit to the commonweal).

When I think of the great works we are called to in our lives, works we
avoid at peril of our souls, I think of works in which we cannot
possibly be "effective." I mean such things as loving other people,
opposing injustice, comforting the grieving, bringing an end to war.
There can be no "effectiveness" in these tasks, only the commitment to
work away at them, and if we judge such work by the standard of
measurable outcomes, the only possible result will be defeat and

...Again, results are not irrelevant. We rightly care about outcomes;
we have to live with them, and being accountable for them is part of
right action. But to make results the primary measure of action is a
sure path to either inanity or insanity. The only standard that can
guide and sustain us in action worth taking is whether the action
corresponds to the reality of the situation, including the reality of
our own inward nature.


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