Date: August 9, 2007 12:17:50 PM MDT
Subject: [AlwaysLearning] How many children do I have!?
From time to time someone wants me to treat people on this list the way I treat my children.
What I want to do with this list is to help other adults discover and refine ways to treat their children more the way I treat my children, if they want to.
I have a sign on my door, just put there last month, a paper taped there at eye level that says
Unlike some other people I know, I have listened to missionaries at length, invited them in, read their stuff, told them I admire their dedication, given them cold drinks or water. I've let Jehovah's Witnesses talk to me at length, and LDS guys. Lately I decided I need to spend my time in other ways. I'm getting old.
No tree trimming,
no encyclopedia sales
no yard cleaning.
Kirby's working nights. Holly sleeps late. Whenever anyone touches our door the dog barks a high, painful bark. I don't want people to trim our trees or clean our yard and someone was coming to the door once a week or so. I don't want to sign petitions for anyone to run for office or for people to pressure the government to do something about something I never heard of.
Does that mean I'm telling my children not to talk to me about religion or not to help me in the yard?
I will let Holly sleep as late as she wants to and I'll make her anything she wants for breakfast, when she wants me to make her breakfast, which isn't all the time, just sometimes. This morning I was glad to make fried eggs and toast for her. She was sweet and grateful.
Does that mean I should let just anyone sleep at my house as late as they want and then request a special breakfast?
And on this discussion list, I'm not trying to mother people. I'm trying to discuss ideas and factors and practices that make parenting antagonistic, when those come up, so that ALL the people on the list, not just the person who posted, can look at their own thoughts, and rules, and expectations and see if they can't tweak them toward the direction they want to be with their children.
Several who have known me online (or in person) for the dozen or so years I've been in discussions like this have asked how I can patiently answer the same questions year after year without throttling people. It's because I know that when someone *does* change in understanding, the world gets better for their children. The world might be uncomfortable for the mom that day, but if she had wanted to stay the same, she never could have found this list. If she found this list and read some and thought it was bogus, she never would have posted on this list.
I assume that people come to this list because they want to change.
I am now, finally, getting tired of things like this (which came on the side, not to the list):
-=- i don't think i can do better!!! i think YOU
can do better, if you could maybe be less confrontational and more in
tune with the ideas of understanding and empathy, that you speak of
The understanding and empathy I recommend parents show to their children is a parent and child thing, and I can't be expected to treat over 1000 people (however many are on this list) like they're on my children.
BUT WAIT! This list isn't a question and answer column where all the answers come from me. Not at all. When people post here they get several people's feedback. And they get the feedback from people who are pretty likely to be giving unschooling-focussed answers. That happens because I keep the list running, and keep spam and distractions off of it.
Below is a link to an explanation of why I think people who want help should get help quickly and directly. With my kids, they have 18 years to learn to read, use a bank account and wipe their butts (not in that order). With parents who have children, they do not have 18 years to change. They don't have ten years. They don't have five. They need to change before more damage is done to their relationship, before it's so far gone they no longer want to regroup and re-direct.
And here are quotes from people who say they wish they had changed sooner:
I am very interested in helping those people. I'm less interested in helping people who want to be coddled, who complain about how I phrase things, and who want to take years to consider whether they'll change their ways. The statement before is NOT about any individual, it's about hundreds of people who have come through and complained instead of coming through to look at what they're doing in the light of what others have discovered.
If my website and articles and this list and UnschoolingDiscussion are not to someone's tastes, that's to be expected. That's fine. I really don't think I should change them because a few people wish they were different. I don't think it's courteous or reasonable for people to ask me to do my volunteer work just the way they imagine they would do it if they were me.
I have said before "If you can do it better, do it!" And I don't mean that in a mean way at all. Anyone who sees flaws and can help others in a better way should really, honestly, truly, do it. The more free help people have, the better.
Is it because it's free that I get complaints? Maybe. If someone pays money to a counsellor they just either accept the help or they quit going, they don't harrass the person to change and do differently.