[Discuss-sudbury-model] Experiencing the transition

From: faye byrem <faye_byrem_at_msn.com>
Date: Tue May 18 09:45:00 2004

Reading the recent messages regarding concerns about pornography and violence, and other concerns relating to the whole 'Sudbury experience', etc., I thought this may be a good time to interject some thoughts from one ragged ol' bible-belt raised, red-neckish-turned-hippyish soul, who is in the midst of change, and proclaim that there really is hope for old dogs to learn new tricks. (although there aren't any 'tricks' to getting from there to here, it's the best analogy I could come up with this early in the morning.


For reasons I won't expound upon, I missed out on my desired education. But I will say that what was 'offered' to me as 'education' may as well have been a noose around my neck in learning anything except how to survive.


I've made peace with all of that, and mention it only to illustrate the depths from which I come in 'education'.


Feeling always out of sync with life, trying to find where I 'fit', and running out of options, left me feeling rather hopeless.


But when I discovered the internet, and began looking in every corner I could get to, I began devouring all that seemed to resonate with my spirit. (however, finding that same resonance in real life was disheartening, at best).


It was not an easy transition for me to begin the process of breaking out of an assumed survival 'mold', and start the process of becoming 'the real me'. I'm far from 'there' yet, but I know where 'there' is, and that's where I'm headed.


The more I read about the concepts in a democratic learning environment, and the more I experience the results of living within those concepts, the stronger I become in my convictions, and the more willing I am to face the conflicts and controversy surrounding them.


I began researching all of this about 6 years ago. And yes, it took that long to get here, (which is probably not even half-way 'there').


I had the 'safe' choice of remaining 'stuck' in a 'life' that wasn't 'me', or to begin the process of breaking out of societal expectations, familial expectations, peer expectations (and all my peers were just like me..stuck in a survival mold!), or be willing to suffer the consequences of freedom. I chose the later.


All of that to say this...


Each time I ran up against a concept that caused conflict between my heart and my head, I couldn't let it go until eventually, my heart and head got together on it, and I would find peace.


The most intense conflicts surrounded the safety and welfare of children. I was, from time to time, bombarded with emotional decisions concerning my own child who is attending a democratic school.


The questions/concerns that plagued me the most were concerning supervision; Just how much freedom 'should' be given to children? Should there be absolutely 'no' coercion? Just how far 'should' children be trusted? What about society's 'acceptance' of my child if he doesn't get into that damned mold!?


Then the secondary questions/concerns; What about the cursing? What about reading? What about violent video games? What about violent movies? What about exposure to explicit sexual scenes in movies?


The bottom line was that I had to begin to shed all those societal expectations and begin to trust my child, trust the process, trust my own inner voice, and go with freedom, regardless of the fears.


Wanting the very best life has to offer my child, I had to release a lot of age- discriminating attitudes that hampered his growth.


Not that children are 'little adults', because they certainly aren't, and I believe we should be very attentive in helping them find thier way in life, but not interfere with their blossoming by imposing our fears on them.


The journey has been very rocky at times, with many 'fits and starts'. But having found a lot of harmony with life in general, and particularly in our home environment, through researching and eventually 'settling in' with the concepts of democratic environments, it's been a journey well worth the travel.


If an 'old dog' like me (50+ years, raising an 8 year old), with lots of embedded ideas to push through and hurdle over, can find peace on this journey of living in a democratic environment, I think anyone can ;o)
Received on Tue May 18 2004 - 09:44:41 EDT

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