Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Newbie with Question

From: Bruce Smith <bsmith_at_coin.org>
Date: Wed Dec 1 14:21:00 2004

Hi, Mary, and welcome. This is Bruce, a staff member at Alpine Valley
School.

My sense is that you're figuring out all I could tell you, but perhaps
it's still worthwhile to share my perspective. The trumpet lesson anecdote
leads me to suspect that your son is engaged in what might be called
"sampling." We see this all the time: someone expresses a devout interest
in something, yet after a short time exploring it, the interest wanes
dramatically. There's nothing wrong with this, imo: interests come and go,
and how else can you learn the extent of your interest? If you don't let
go of faded interests, how can you find time/room for new ones?

And is it worth pushing him? In a Sudbury environment, the staff endeavors
not to push, certainly not in this sense. Parents who wish this kind of
"support", staff trying to get their children to do one thing or another,
will likely become frustrated. What staff _will_ do is talk with students
naturally, in conversation, about what's going on (more as a friend than
what you might consider a teacher or mentor), and basically hold up a
mirror for them to draw their own conclusions and make their own
judgments/decisions.

In my view, "difficult" is often just a label for "this *really* doesn't
interest me." Consider the example of something that you might label
"difficult," but which the person engaged in finds great joy in doing. (In
simpler terms, if it's fun, what looks like a lot of work isn't so
difficult.) Sometimes I'll do a difficult thing because it stands between
me and a dream of mine (e.g., jumping through college application hoops
because I want access to the classes and resources). These two examples --
the think I don't notice is difficult because it's so much fun, and the
unpleasant thing I do regardless -- might be what you have in mind when
you talk about "discipline." And isn't the ability to make those sorts of
decisions for onself a valuable gift in and of itself?

I am saddened and frustrated by the prevailing view that you must be
forced to do what's good for you, that people would otherwise never do
anything challenging. That perpsective corresponds to an extremely low
estimation of human nature, and doesn't at all accord with what I've
experienced in Sudbury schools.

Best,

Bruce
Received on Wed Dec 01 2004 - 14:20:08 EST

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