[Discuss-sudbury-model] Re: Orgnizing Sudbury

From: <Sugmapl_at_aol.com>
Date: Sat Apr 10 14:52:00 2004

Hi Sally,

There comes a time. Finally.
We had B 10 years ago and things kind of come into focus. Like the night he
was born and the nurse with the English accent spends her whole 8 hour shift
looking at the two monitors, one for A and one for B, hour after hour, with the
family all gone and the light fading with the sun and me just looking over her
shoulder, all the while me knowing only what I learned in the crummy la maz
classes, when the real and only question of the hours we sat together was if
and when were they going to give up and wheel her down the hallway for a C
There comes a time. There comes a time in this stuff when you know you don't
know nothing, or not much.
Till he was 1 year old and we were at a restaurant and my brother says where
are we going to put him, what school. And I knew I still didn't know. I
already had a Masters in Education and I didn't know nothing. So we started to look.
Montessori, and progressive and back to basics and eclectic and on and on and
on. Seventy school visits in Tucson alone. And all that time reading,
reading, reading, 250 books till the same brother told me about Pema Chodron and I
stopped reading seriously, thankfully, half way through her first book. And,
thankfully, I finally stopped visiting schools too. When I saw Waldorf. And they
bring you in for a serious, be with the children all morning type of visit.
And the children, about 3 to 5 years of age, played and moved about and then we
sat down for morning snack of peanut butter and apple wedges and I sat with
them in the small small chairs all of us around the table till the care giver at
the other end of the table was called away to attend to a child who was
washing up their hands, and when the care giver had got up and moved into the other
room the whole table, both sides of the small table, came alive with talking
and laughing and giggling and excitement and I was stunned. Where was this all
morning? I knew I had been with them and I knew I had not seen it. I said
nothing, I kept eating my apple, with my head down, and I listened to them until
that instant when the care giver came back and all that I had seen and heard,
and all that they had created was utterly and completely gone. I was stunned
and overjoyed that I had finally seen what I had been looking for and that
there would be no need for a 71st school visit and at the very same time all the
while knowing that there would be with me for as long as I live a sadness in my
bones a weeping in my soul that 3 year olds, already at 3 years old, not one
but the whole bunch of them already knew when it was safe to be present in
their own lives and when it is not. I guess a person who gets a Masters in
Education and reads 250 books and makes 70 school visits wants to learn something,
wants to know something; but damn that's a hard thing to know. That a 3 year
old already knows when it is safe to be who they are. They didn't even hesitate.
They knew the instant they were free and the instant they were not. And it
wasn't long between the two. God damn I may weep forever, but I know something.
I have seen freedom. And 3 year olds showed it to me. They ain't got much of
it man, and they showed it to me.
So there comes a time in this stuff.
We also noticed how people reacted to B. Just folks in the grocery or
restaurant. Most were of the variety that would maybe pat his head and say he was
cute. But then over time, we would every now and again run in to someone who
would enter into his world and interact with him as a person, to a person. And
these interactions were completely different, they were completely between the
two of them and as best as I could tell, it appeared useful to B. And so it
dawned on us. What if there were a school that would accept and allow such
interactions, interactions between people. We were now getting on planes to go visit
schools. We saw Windsor House, The Circle School, Sudbury of Scottsdale, Red
Cedar, Highland, The New School, Katch's place in Conn., Fairhaven, Sudbury
Valley, Tutorial School, and the one in Tampa Florida.
I had the Ah ha experience at Katch's place; while talking with Jed, I
noticed the students coming and going out the front door, but I also noticed that
Jed didn't notice. They came and went without anyone's sufferance. And then the
very next day I visited Sudbury and I cried. I cried for my own childhood.
There just comes a time in this stuff.
And so I got the biggest job I could find and looked high and low for 15
months all over Tucson and looked at lots of places and bought the biggest and
best one I could find and afford. And started organizing.
There just comes a time.
One of the 250 books said all we need is attention, gratitude and compassion.
When I read that I knew I kind of had the first two, but compassion left me
cold, I didn't have it and couldn't recognize it. Till now. Till this
organizing stuff. Boy do I have compassion for people listening to me. For me, this
Sudbury stuff has so much grace and beauty and such a stunning amount of
kindness. It is possible and really sad, but Sudbury may just appear so unusual in
people's lives. The single simple notion that a child is a person.

Warm Regards,
Bill Richardson
Received on Sat Apr 10 2004 - 14:51:44 EDT

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