RE: DSM: "The purpose for which [Sudbury] is formed ..."

From: Peter Shier (
Date: Fri Feb 01 2002 - 01:37:55 EST

But can we really offer freedom to our children? Can we truly not
intervene? I don't think so. We begin at a very young age when we teach
them to eat and drink, how to go to the bathroom, how to dress. As I
would guess is true of many Sudbury parents, I did not teach these
things to my children until they asked yet no matter how hard I may try,
I cannot get away from my agenda. For example, if your child was still
in diapers at age 8 or 9, would you have the same attitude about toilet
training? I doubt it. Even the most enlightened parent would have
intervened with their own agenda long before then 'for the sake of the
child'. The same might be said about some fundamental academic skills at
much later ages.

In the Sudbury model adults intervene all the time. The behavior of the
Sudbury staff constantly transmits an agenda to the student i.e. 'this
is how functional adults behave in our society'. The adults in the
Sudbury model actually have no more or less of an agenda than those in a
traditional school framework with a documented curriculum, it is just
transmitted in a very subtle and different way.


-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Ardeshir
Mehta, N.D.
Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2002 9:16 PM
Subject: Re: DSM: "The purpose for which [Sudbury] is formed ..."

Hi Liz,

You wrote:

> ... How do you measure whether
> the staff are without hope, dreams or anticipation? I would be very
> curious as I have yet to meet such a person, all the people I know are

> full of hope, dreams and anticipation. I can't help wondering if I
> would want such a person around my children, particularly if all the
> adults were of this type.

I get your point: You *as a parent*, anticipate that your children will
in some way improve, become in some respects better, during their stay
at a free school. If they didn't, you might pull your chil- dren out of
that school, and send them to one that *isn't* free!

That's because *you* have hopes for *them*.

But consider this: What's more important *to them* (and *not* to *you*)?
Is improvement more important, or is freedom more im- portant?

And what gift would you rather give, as their parent, to your chil-
dren: the gift of what's important for *them*, or the gift of what's
important for *you*?

When the question is put in this way, I think there can be only one

In this context I am reminded of Kahlil Gibran's famous poem, "On
Children" (from his book *The Prophet*), and which I think bears
repeating here:


     Your children are not your children.
     They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
     They come through you but not from you,
     And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

     You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
     For they have their own thoughts.
     You may house their bodies but not their souls,
     For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
     which you cannot visit, not even in you dreams.
     You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
     For life goes not backward not tarries with yesterday.

     You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent
     The Archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
     and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and
     Let our bending in the Archer's hand be for gladness;
     For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow
that is stable.


The "stable bow" is you and I, the parents, who should trust the Archer,
having faith that He knows best where and how the arrows
-- i.e., our children -- should go! "Let our bending in the Archer's
hand be for gladness", for it is only He -- and not we, nor any of the
staff at any kind of school, free or un-free -- who can "see the mark
upon the path of the infinite".


Ardeshir <>.


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