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In a message dated 2/2/04 1:03:07 AM, pamsoroosh@... writes:

<< You know what? That concept of "succeeding" in life -- is the cause of
SO much unhappiness and needless worry. Life isn't a contest or a
project you can win or succeed at - it is an experience. >>

And the definition of success changes slowly and surely.

I've just finished reading Sense and Sensibility, a two-hundred year old
novel, which can't help but be moralistic and steeped in the cultural expectations
of the time.

The writing was irritating. And I thought it would never end, when suddenly
last night it ended, and I discovered that the last <1/3 of the book was
background, source material, reviews from when the book was new, etc. There were
mini-sermons there, and instructional stories (I read one from The Parents
Companion ?) and though there was a definite idea of success, it wasn't today's.
It was as oppressive and as difficult to achieve, but just different.

There were times in the Middle Ages when, much as in India with the caste
system, success was accepting your lot in life gratefully and piously, because
God knew what he was doing, and to wish for more or different was blasphemous
and ungrateful.

Now we're in a culture where accepting less than everything is considered by
some to be lazy and a sign of low intelligence. If someone swims but doesn't
want to compete, that's a flaw. If someone competes but doesn't want to
trade up for a better coach and national competition, must be something wrong with
her. If someone's in a rock band and is happy to play locally and go home
every night, he has no passion or drive or confidence.

We're stuck there. But we don't have to let it sweep us away in its waves
of prl homelife) and failure for thousands. "Settling" has become a bad word.

So if we're going to discuss and maybe even live by a philosophy that
involves stepping off those conveyor belts, we need to consider our own definitions
of success. Some unschoolers do say "I'd like to make sure he could slip
right back into school without trouble if he needed to." That's not a viable
goal, really. There are a few kids with remarkably good handwriting and early
reading who could probably do it! There are more who wouldn't last a day
without balking at the doofy assignments and their lack of freedom to go take a leak
without a written permit.

Interesting topic, but not an easy topic.

At this snapshot moment I feel a sense of success because Kirby is trusted
and trustworthy and he's not afraid of other people, neither adults nor kids,
not authority figures or crazy homeless guys who put their arm around him and
feel his hair admiringly. (Well there was only one of the latter, but I already
had my sentence structure going with plurals. <g>)