September 16, 2009

Unschooling=Kindness

Pam Sorooshian wrote something on the Good Vibrations Yahoo! Group that I wanted to share with you. I hope she doesn't mind.
I wanted to comment on something I said in both my talks, I think. I said that unschooling could, maybe, be boiled down to just "Be Nice!" But I got distracted and didn't elaborate on that and now I'm afraid it will come across in a way I did not intend. "Be Nice" is a thing parents often say to their kids - and they mean things like, "You have to share with your sister," or "Don't be so demanding," etc. I realized that, for some, "Be Nice," has some baggage.

I did not mean "Be Nice" like that - not in the same way children are commanded to "Be nice!" That isn't from the heart - that isn't actually "nice," but, anyway, I meant that we should think about whether we are treating our children kindly - are we being generous and caring and supportive and friendly and warm and sympathetic and considerate. So - I'd like to change what I said to, "Be Kind," instead of "Be Nice." Everybody, if you listen to the recording - please make that change, in your head, when you come to that part!

I saw a LOT of kindness at the conference - it was everywhere I looked. To me, after unschooling is talked about and talked about and talked about, it really finally does boil down to how we treat each other. It isn't kind to try to force another person to eat or sleep. It isn't kind to manipulate other people into doing what we want them to do - even for their own good. It IS kind to consider what they might like and to offer it to them. It is kind to be honest. It is kind to be helpful and it is kind to protect our children and keep them safe. It is kind to give them what Roya called, "perceived freedom," meaning that they don't feel constrained or restricted, even though we are right there, nearby, always clearing the way for them, removing obstacles, and helping them move in a positive direction.

So - guess I still can't stop talking -- even after going over an hour overtime at the conference, huh?

Anyway - I was reveling in all the kindness - all the wonderful parenting that I was surrounded by at the conference. It is so great to experience what it would be like if all parents were being kind to their children. WHAT a world this would be!

-Pam Sorooshian
I'd like to end with that wonderful vision of a world full of parents giving their children nothing but kindness--I can't, though, because I have to share my awesome technique for making hotel room quesadillas when you have no hot plate, electric griddle, or microwave.

See, Jerry eats the same thing for dinner every night (and has for the last four or five years). Black beans, white rice and a quesadilla (and broccoli if we have it and I get my act together to make it). So whenever we go to a conference I bring a rice cooker, an electric griddle, and hope for a microwave. Problem is, the griddle belongs to my mom, so it lives in Sacramento. The three conferences I've been to up until last week had all required a stop over in Sacramento where I'd drop off the dog and pick up the griddle. But this time we were out of luck until I realized that hotel rooms have irons! So I bought some heavy duty aluminum foil, sandwiched the tortillas and cheese between two pieces of aluminum and ironed away! Presto! One perfectly good quesadilla. I thought I was so clever until Molly told me that someone at an HSC conference had made grilled cheese the same way. Actually, I still think I'm pretty clever. But I guess there might be a few more clever people out there. At least one anyway...

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