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One of my favorite essays by Sandra is the one on teaching vs learning---how
teaching can end up just being a song and dance if the learner isn't

I was recently explaining something along the same lines and realized that
it can be something even deeper.

I've mentioned before about a parenting class I took at Cameron's
school---way back when he was still in school. As usual, the people who attended the
parenting classes (by choice) are the ones that need it the least! <G> But
there were still a few....

One was Margaret. She had two daughters---like six and 11 or so. I forget
ages exactly.

One of her examples of her child's disregard for her authority (!) was that,
in the mornings, as they pulled out of the drive-way, she would "ask" her
older daughter to get out and toss the newspaper on her elderly neighbor's
porch. The daughter had NO desire to accomodate, but after threats and bribes,
she'd get out and begrudgingly pick up the paper and put it on the porch. It was
a fight every single morning. Margaret wanted a way to get the daughter to
pick up the paper *on her own*.

Withholding allowance, grounding, other punishments/threats were suggested.
I offered that she should just go out, cheerfully place the paper on the
porch, and get back in the car, and MODEL the behavior she was after---for a long
time. She should also mention how much she likes Mrs. SoandSo and how hard it
is for her to walk so far for her paper. Maybe how good it makes her feel to
be doing something good for Mrs. SoandSo. She did---with good results,
especially from the younger daughter.

My point is this: She was looking to TEACH her daughter that helping others
is a nice way to be. What the daughter was LEARNING, on the other hand, was
that bullying another person is the way to get what you want.

In school, my history teacher thought that he was TEACHING me about
Elizabethan England. In reality, I LEARNED that history sucks! I actually love many
periods in history, just not *his* favorite time period. By spending so much
time there, he turned me off history altogether. Took me a long time to
"re-learn" that history is fascinating.

Parents think that they are TEACHING respect and obedience by spanking their
kids. In reality, what the children LEARN is that the bigger and meaner you
are, the more power you can wield.

Parents think that TEACHING their children to do chores will result in
industrious, responsible children. In reality, the children LEARN that they can
make someone else clean ---or expect someone else to do it. By watching you *do
for* them, they LEARN that cleaning/helping/doing is a pleasant and joyful

What is TAUGHT and what is LEARNED can be two completely different things.


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