RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model] "For the child's own good"?

From: Jesse Gallagher <>
Date: Wed Dec 14 00:05:00 2005

Let's not lose our perspective.
 These *are* children, and as such, they are under our care until they are able to care for themselves.
 Pure and untrammelled autonomy is a lovely idea, but children left to their own devices rarely grow to adulthood. Today's world is simply too dangerous, in too many ways.
 What we're looking for here is balance. How much freedom can I give my children while still ensuring that they have every opportunity to live out the day, and, hopefully, develop healthy habits that will allow them to live a long and fruitful life of autonomous experimentation and exploration?
 I can't always reason that answer out, but I can almost always *feel* what the right answer is. Trust your heart, even if it tells you to limit your child's freedom. Your heart is never wrong, whereas countless well-reasoned theories have done untold damage to millions of children.
 What's the worst that happens? You err on the side of caution and leave your kids with a few more guidelines to unlearn than they would have had if you were the "perfect parent". If your errors keep them healthy and out of harm's way, it's worth it.
 And the trust factor? Are you teaching them that they're not worthy of your trust? No way. Your kids will know that you trust them with most matters and *want* to trust them in the ones that you're simply not able to. They're not stupid--they'll understand that the shortcomings are yours and not theirs. Tell them if you're not sure they understand the subtext. Don't sweat it.
 They aren't expecting perfection from you just as you're not expecting perfection from them. Why not give them the opportunity to show you the same respect that you show them? Let them give you the opportunity to be yourself, which means being wrong once in a while. They'll never forget it.
 It doesn't make sense to me that we expend exceptional energies to provide our children with the opportunities and the surroundings that empower them to learn who they are and what they're about--which they learn almost exclusively through trial and error--but we deny ourselves the same opportunies as parents and in the process deprive them of adult role models for the very choices we want them to be able to make. It's an odd case of "do as I say, not as I do", sort of turned on its head, but it amounts to the same thing.
 Maybe my perspective has been unduly colored by unschooling my own children. Fact is, it's impossible to unschool your children without unschooling yourself at the same time.
 You know how it goes: "Take chances, make mistakes, get messy."
 Today's revolutionary motto...
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Received on Wed Dec 14 2005 - 00:04:58 EST

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