Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] variations on the model in practice

From: Karen Locke <>
Date: Fri Apr 8 21:24:01 2005


I really liked what you wrote. Sometimes these posts get mired in abstract
arguments, but there are actually some very beautiful ideas behind this


----- Original Message -----
From: "Kenneth Winchenbach Walden" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, April 08, 2005 9:55 AM
Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] variations on the model in practice

> Todd Pratum wrote:
>> Dear Karen,
>> I agree that we should let kids decide, _for the most part_, what THEY
>> think is good for them. But TV is--according to many experts and many
>> with common sense--a unique and complicated situation.
> All of the situations you mention below are unique and complicated. Have
> you ever chosen to eat something that wasn't the best for you
> nutritionally? Have you ever debated over which was a better quality item,
> whether to buy from overseas or made in the USA, whether to sacrifice some
> quality in an item for an item that you found more aesthetically pleasing?
> Have you ever made a poor choice in a relationship? Have you ever spent
> your time in a way that in retrospect you regretted?
> These are hard complicated situations for anybody, kids or adults. It is
> foolish of us to think that adults have answers to all these questions and
> kids don't. You hint at the subject of child abuse - aren't there millions
> of parents out there who made poor choices which resulted in their child
> being abused? Yet you are suggesting that only adults are appropriate to
> make those sort of decisions. Maybe in many of those cases it would have
> been better for the child to decide. I know many parents who make what I
> think are horrible nutritional choices for their children. My own child
> may grow up and decide that I made horrible choices for him. I certainly
> think my own parents did not provide as appropriate a selection of food
> for me as I do for myself. My son chooses to eat meat and I do not. Should
> I then arbritrate that he must be a vegetarian, because I am older, wiser
> and more experienced? My wife is as old, wise and experienced as I am and
> she chooses to eat meat.
> It's quite obvious that adults differ in their opinions on every topic of
> importance in human life. So what makes you think adults are better suited
> to making decisions? And in particular, which adults do you think are
> better suited to making these decisions? Certainly you don't mean all of
> them. Should the children at our schools submit to the guidance of those
> particular adults who have happened to arrive at their schools? Should
> they be limited by the foibles and mistakes of a handful of adults, or
> allowed to explore the wider world and make their own mistakes?
> As Thoreau puts it, "Age is no better, hardly so well, qualified for an
> instructor as youth, for it has not profited so much as it has lost.
> Practically, the old have no very important advice to give the young,
> their own experience has been so partial, and their lives have been such
> miserable failures, for private reasons, as they must believe."
> Can children
>> decide what food is best for them? (Doritos vs apples?) What about
>> nudity and touching? Can children pick out good quality furniture as
>> opposed to cheap poorly made furniture? Can they tell what adults will
>> respect them and what adults will abuse them? TV looks simple but it is
>> very complicated, way too complicated for a child to understand. Yes, we
>> all grew up with it, but what kind of people would we be if instead of
>> watching TV when we were kids, instead we did something else like play in
>> the woods or daydreamed? How does TV effect our imagination? These are
>> the questions many forward thinking people are asking. Todd Pratum.
> What kind of people would my parents have been if instead of reading comic
> books they had been reading real literature? What kind of people would my
> ancestors have been if instead of sitting in a room reading books they had
> been participating in oral story telling? What kind of people would their
> ancestors have been if instead of telling stories of imaginary figures,
> they had been out really particpating in life?
> It is obvious to me that humanity is always mired in delusions about the
> grandeur of the past. If life without TV is so grand, why World War I,
> World War II, the atomic bomb, concentration camps, racism, imperial
> oppression? Why do we always think the new thing our children are enjoying
> (and that perhaps even we enjoy) is ruining everything? In situations like
> these, I think perhaps our children have a better sense of good and bad
> than we do, ourselves being seemingly rooted in a static past while they
> embrace a dynamic future. I am all for serious consideration of the impact
> of changes in our technology and world on ourselves, but I am against the
> sort of automatic backlash that makes us sure that TV must be bad (or
> video games, or the Internet, or Yu-Gi-Oh, or comic books, or pulp
> fiction, or novels, or printing presses, or motion pictures, etc, etc).
> Your suggestion that those who don't see TV as a problem have no common
> sense is not just insulting to me, it's not very intellectual. I would
> think the first thing we need when approaching the care of our children is
> an open mind.
> Ken Walden
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Received on Fri Apr 08 2005 - 21:23:33 EDT

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