Re: DSM: And the right answer is. . . there's no paradigm er . ..I think

From: Allan Saugstad (
Date: Fri May 11 2001 - 14:35:15 EDT


> That goes for children, and it goes for adults. I will
> not do any person the disservice or disrespect of hiding my
> opinions when I think that s/he is doing something that
> hurts another person.
> If one person were hurting another in a Sudbury Model
> School, you can _bet_ that a member of a Sudbury Model
> School community would intervene. And when I see adults in
> the wider community hurting children, you can bet that I see
> no crime in intervening there either.
> Is this a paradox or contradiction? I don't see it. It
> seems to me wholly consistent to say "my aim is to let
> people be" and then to CAREFULLY intervene in cases where
> ONE person is not letting ANOTHER person be.
> So, here's preaching, arguing, and communicating at
> you. :-)

I am not sure that any preaching will get you anywhere. I believe that the best way
to help people change (i.e. be more respectful of others) is to share with them,
accept them for who they are, and through relationship and modelling, educate them.

Here's an example. It really bothers me to see a parent let their child "cry it out"
instead of attending to her need. I see this often as mothers push their strollers
down the road. I know that if they would just take time to pick the child up and
talk to her, everything would be fine. To me, there seems to be a clear lack of
respect for the child as a person.

But will it really help if I approach this mom and intervene? I could tell her
exactly what I think, but how would she take this? Chances are she will feel a
combination of embarrasement, anger, and sadness. Or perhaps if she is strong she
will just laugh in my face. In her head, she will probably be thinking, "Who is this
guy, and what right has he to tell me how to parent? He has no idea of the stress I
have been through. He doesn't know how good a parent I really am". What chance will
she react with, "Boy I'm glad he taught me about being respectful, and I am
definitely going to pick up my daughter when she is crying from now on".

I may preach to someone in hope of changing them, but my odds of doing so are pretty
slim. My only hope is to reach out to her, help her if I can, show support for her,
and when she asks, or when she is in a more resourceful state, help her grow and

This is the way I approach kids and learning, and I try to adopt this approach with
adults too. Anything less is simply not respectful, not effective, and in my mind,
not very sudbury-like.

You use the word careful - I agree - but one must be very careful, I think.

Also, I think that in extreme cases like the girl jumping off the bridge, a little
less carefulness would be in order!!




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