RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model]Re: "ADD/ADHD" kids

From: Joe Jackson <>
Date: Mon Sep 2 16:05:00 2002


I'm really glad we got back to plain text messages. I really have
trouble formatting the htm messages when I respond, you know, quoting
things etc.

You asked a question for me in the middle of your message:

> If children are taught responsibility, and
> SVS teaches responsibility, would age play a factor in this,
> since often, programming plays a part, physiological issues,
> play a part?

Yes I think so, and I can attempt to describe the difference, but it's a
little tough to quantify. (I'm really going to shoot from the hip, so
other SudSchools chime in if needed).

It seems to me that the process of learning self-responsibility is a
process that all young children go through, and when they go through it
at the school it tends to take a year or two for most of them to learn
not to leave messes, not to use intimidation and coercion to get their
way with other kids, express their anger in a way that is not
destructive, etc. And most importantly, to represent themselves in the
culture in a way which reflects their membership and desire to be within
the culture (e.g. working out their issues with the authority
represented by their peers through school meeting, jc, etc.) I think
pretty much all kids who have started at our school at 6 or 7 get these
basics down in a couple of years.

Two to three years is generally the amount of time it can take a teen
who may have had "trouble" at other environments. We have had a few
teens who have needed to leave the school a couple of times, but all but
one (who's dad pulled him out permanently) ended up coming back and in
each case developing a serenity of their own on some level. And in each
case they were able to stay in, which means that they all eventually
developed the ability to allow others to exist peacably, respect the
boundaries of the school and it's institutions, respect the corporations
and their processes and resources, etc.

And believe me that's a tall order for many of these teens who have come
from more closed environments where they did not have access to these
things, and therefore never had to develop any respect and care for
them. (In a way our schools are like so many Western cultures - we are
wide open. If a teen wants to destroy the school they can. Valuables
are left out, expensive equipment is at their unsupervised disposal.
But since it is all owned by peers instead of a faceless bureaucracy
there's just not much incentive to destroy, and lots of downside.)

> If SVS was the norm, would it stand to reason
> that those who did require a little more structure could
> benefit by SVS philosophies even later?

I initially felt like responding to you that I did not think it was
possible to do a Sudbury School with more "structure", because in my
experience when people say that they mean pedagogical support, and that
would obviously turn the school into something besides Sudbury.

But if you had people that were skilled enough to provide assistance to
people without guiding them or trying to teach them, in other words
parse the assistance relating to the day-to-day physical and mental
needs from the assistance with overcoming the accompanying emotional and
social challenges, I think you would have something. In my opinion
those folks would come from the ranks of assisted-living people rather
than teachers, as teachers tend to have a hard time resisting the
seduction of the teachable moment.

So I think my answer is yes but that it would be a very, very big
undertaking and millions of $$. You would need all of the resources and
trained/experienced Sudbury staff of a regular Sudbury school PLUS all
of the physical resources necessary to equip a campus for
mental/physical handicaps PLUS employees on hand who are trained to give
assistance to handicapped people.

Now Shelli, if you are talking about people that are not substantially
impaired by physical/mental handicaps, I don't think anything beyond
that which a regular Sudbury school -or- just the adult world is needed
to teach what Sudbury teaches.

Yours, Joe

* the phrase, "seduction of the teachable moment" owes it's genesis to
Hanna Greenberg.

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> [] On Behalf Of
> Shelli Buhr
> Sent: Monday, September 02, 2002 2:26 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model]Re: "ADD/ADHD" kids
> Hi Joe,
> Thank you for your response. I have to say that I too have
> been contemplating all of this interaction a lot since last
> night. Even as I was posting to the Indigo board, I had to be
> in integrity with what you were trying to say about the
> school as well, because I feel so highly about the school.
> Being a teacher of unconsciousness, intention, and intimacy,
> I have learned how sometimes that we all come from the place
> of wanting to defend something that we believe in, simply
> because these beliefs are rooted so deeply within us, and
> often many huge aspects of our lives are built on those
> foundations, so it easily can be a trigger in reacting,
> instead of responding; I felt we both showed a little of this.
> I was hoping to truly express the understanding of how Shelli
> came to Sudbury.
> As I was posting, it made me think of a few things even
> further. This for me, really isn't about the semantic of
> something I have seen posted on this topic, or read in an
> article. The point and only point I am choosing to recognize
> is that I have a need to fulfill with the in between
> children, and maybe that term should be taken loosely because
> really no imperfection with God in my eyes.
> So if there were more Sudbury's and this type of education
> was the norm, the it would be natural to assume, that all
> children may not fit this mold, and maybe that is exactly why
> I came here. My intention of posting to the indigo board was
> not about making you wrong to prove my point at all. It was
> because I have been a part of this board for so long that I
> have listened to the frustrations of the children.
> So I am going to make a few quick comments to some of what
> you posted here because I feel it can bridge our
> understandings of what SVS is accomplishing and what I am
> accomplishing. And thank you for sharing your own personal
> story. I do feel it is our personal stories which is what
> probably brought us all together in the first place.
> > >And our rigid thinking is not serving them. The Indigo children are
> > here in fact, to bust the system. And they are.
> >
> > You missed my point. I am not comparing them - to the contrary:
> > disabled children are NOT categorically excluded from the school,
> I did not miss the point. I accepted both points. I valued
> your post on where you stated that the majority of who the
> students were enrolled you could ponder about who would be
> labeled ADD. I was hearing that you do accept these children,
> only at SVS they may not even be labeled learning disabled.
> When I posted the first time, what I was posting to was the
> concern I felt about people who are names in this industry
> that are offering knowledge of how to care for today's
> children with based off of her experience and how my concern
> was that she was not serving the children on that one area,
> but also offers some valuable info on other aspects. And I
> also see where age may play into a part of all this in if we
> catch them early enough, would it change the way children can
> be responsible. I started to think more about this last
> night. I would love to hear your feeling on this question
> that I asked you. If children are taught responsibility, and
> SVS teaches responsibility, would age play a factor in this,
> since often, programming plays a part, physiological issues,
> play a part? If SVS was the norm, would it stand to reason
> that those who did require a little more structure could
> benefit by SVS philosophies even later? Maybe I came exactly
> to this place in the debate to ask the questions and solicit
> the answers as I too am learning what the needs are for the children.
> > I did not interpret any hostlity or dismay on your part, Shelli
> > :>) ).
> there isn't any. But you read the questions that this
> response was attached to. Maybe here is where i am asking for
> help and direction from those who have been doing it, so it
> wasn't about blame and pointing fingers. I did feel the way
> some of the wording you used was exactly why I had to keep
> going back to the intention of the children, rather than
> getting caught in a debate. There have been a few debates,
> and personally, I don't want to play there. To best explain
> my feeling I will share another piece that has come into play
> where the indigo's are concerned. Even thought SVS isn't
> about "indigo's" from my perception, the value of SVS can
> serve these children so well, that without applying the
> label, you really are working for indigo's; your post on
> pondering how many children would be labeled was a very keen
> point I got in making this assumption.
> There are two boards I joined. Indigo Children and Indigo
> Adults. Both started at the same time, held the same
> moderators. But in watching the children's board, my feeling
> is that the children were speaking their truth, honestly
> searching, coming from an absolutely delicious place for me
> to watch. The adult list was adults already educated, often
> going through debate after debate on mere semantics,
> therefore losing site of what was happening with the children
> out of their need to defend their position. The children's
> board was merrily on its path, exploring with each other,
> having a good time. The children are really teaching us. :O)
> This is a broad example of why I quit the adult list, and
> love to watch the indigo list and I am continually learning as well.
> > And the Sudbury environment gives no graphic relief wherein
> > matters, or most often can even be detected.
> maybe because SVS allows the children to be children instead
> of trying to fit them in a box. As a teacher of intimacy, I
> am constantly having to remind people of one major lesson in
> life. To simply be. Often we are projecting who we are
> instead of being who we are. It is where denial of the self
> comes into play, and denial on any level is denial. More
> people, in fear of what others think, will try to stuff their
> essence into the box to fit the image they feel other ants
> them to be. Often people spend their lives trying to be
> something, rather than enjoying the process of unfolding into
> just expressing who they are. SVS again, allows the children
> this incredibly valuable lesson I hold so dear.
> So back to the word play on semantics, maybe this lesson is
> more for the person who offered the information, simply in
> understanding the power of the word, and that the word is the
> gateway for others to see us, and how others will gain
> understanding of who we are, whether we are mom, wife,
> husband, SVS teachers or children. We give the ammunition
> that others will use against us by the power of the word. So
> if there is something to defend here, I am saying that rather
> then defending, express the joy AND remember the value of the
> word as it does affect SVS, because that judgment stuck in my
> mind. And an even better point on this, if it stuck in my
> mind and I love SVS and am very open minded that it isn't
> black or white, then that judgment may also be sticking in
> someone else's mind and we have the power to transform this
> through our word. Because I will guaranty you this, if you
> understand how "psychic" these children are, then you will
> know that they can read you and like anyone else, we can tell
> when others are blind to something, even if we don't say
> something to them because it is not necessary, but it is by
> our judgments voiced and unvoiced, that we will choose.
> > child is capable of not hurting other people, the building and it's
> > contents, or themselves (physically).
> beautifully said cuz it brought it home for me. Des is not
> capable of hurting anyone. Her in the moment stance has
> created the actions of coloring on tables, and later after
> years of the negative influence of schools, harm to herself.
> She would always tell me I didn't mean to, but as I tried so
> hard to explain to her that it doesn't matter what you meant
> to do, what is your reality is what you succeeded in
> accomplishing because that success is what shapes your life
> and experiences.
> > which call for assistance demanding personnel and equipment
> we cannot
> > afford, every child can exist in this environment.
> Again another well said point. Since SVS is so new, I know
> the reality of their funding. Also, part of my own heart in
> making decisions for Des's education was that her disruptive
> behavior was in fact very hard on the teacher and even worse,
> taking away from her classmates who were there. I have had to
> make some choices that some parents would not understand
> based on this; they said but your child has the right and my
> response was, yes, and so does every other child in that environment.
> > You may not be aware that Sudbury schools produce an inordinate
> > number of healers, artists and musicians. In fact we get
> criticized
> > for that sometimes.
> maybe they are criticizing not because of what the children
> are turning out to be, rather, not wanting to look at the
> responsibility of their own choices of how it isn't in their
> own lives, often shaking their own beliefs. Responsibility is
> a huge and powerful word, that often even as adults, we fear,
> which is why so many people find themselves out of integrity.
> To be right rather than to be happy often takes a component
> of forgiveness and letting go of blame. There is a beautiful
> speech my Marianne Williamson, quoted by Nelson Mandela, who
> talks about how we fear our own power, which keeps us in our
> inadequacy. It is easier to accept our inadequacy because
> society does, and we are not rocking the boat by being that
> warrior who stands on his own. That collective pull keeps us
> safe, because we have the tribe to fall back on. But true
> responsibility is acceptance of our magnificent power.
> > What IS sad, however, is the number of students we have seen that
> > would absolutely LOVE to come to the school, but the
> parents will not
> > enroll them, for reasons such as "my child wouldn't be able
> to handle
> > the responsibility" or "they won't learn anything".
> yes. that is sad isn't it. In fact, I have tears in my eyes
> at the reality of this. I know from my own experience where
> my life would have taken a very different turn had I had SVS
> experiences as my foundation, yet was denied because it
> wasn't available. So maybe this is why I have such a desire
> to change the system? Not pick on SVS. I think I would have
> wanted to sing.
> In closing, the beauty of all of this was even though I
> wasn't part of the SVS experience, now that I have this
> knowledge, my life is where I want it even though it took
> many turns as a graphic artist, then a financial analyst, and
> now a spiritual counselor, and its still changing into being
> a writer/teacher and advocate. AND I can as an adult, go
> towards my hearts desire to sing, and now can serve humanity
> in a way that also makes my heart sing.
> How precious is that? Thank you Joe for your honesty and your
> candor. You have given me a lot to think about and cleared up
> something that I felt tugging at my heart.
> Many Blessings,
> Rev. Shelli Buhr
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Received on Mon Sep 02 2002 - 16:04:38 EDT

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