Make the Better Choice
Pam Sorooshian wrote:
My suggestion to you is to focus on making a "better" choice each time
you can. I think that was the most helpful advice I got as a parent of
younger kids—it was surprisingly practical and encouraging to simply
consider at least two choices and pick the better one. The next time,
try to think of the one you did choose and then one other—pick the
better one. If you make a choice you're unhappy with, after the fact,
think then about what would have been a better choice—have that one
"on hand" for next time.
Don't expect to be perfect, but expect yourself to be improving all the
AlwaysLearning, December 2009
Translated by Catherine Goudouchaouri:
Faites le meilleur choix.
Ma suggestion pour toi, c’est de te concentrer pour faire le « meilleur » choix chaque fois que tu le peux. Je pense que c’est le conseil le plus utile que j’aie reçu en tant que parent d’enfant en bas âge – c’était très pratique, de façon surprenante, et m’a encouragé à considérer au moins deux possibilités et à choisir la meilleure. La prochaine fois, essaie de penser à ce que tu as choisi et ensuite à une autre possibilité – choisit la meilleure. Si tu fais un choix qui ne te compble pas, alors pense à un meilleur choix possible – garde-le « en réserve » pour la prochaine fois.
Ne t’attends pas à être parfaite, mais attends-toi à t’améliorer chaque fois.
Always Learning, décembre 2009
Also in French, by Pam: Je vis donc j’apprends – Une vie unschooling
in French by others
There is a transcript of more explanation for this method of thinking of two or more things and making a conscious choice:
Don’t ever decide from one choice, you know, wait until you get two and make the better choice. And if you think “Ok, I’m either going to whack him or I’m going to yell at him,” yell at him—that was the best choice you had at that moment. And the next time, start with “yell at him."
You can read more, and hear it spoken, at SandraDodd.com/parentingpeacefully
“Ok, I'm either going to do what I did the last time or something better. I'm going to yell at him or I’m going to go in the other room for a second." Go in the other room.
And the next time, maybe your choice could be either “go in the other room” or “I’m going to take a deep breath and make a joke about it.” Make a joke.
And gradually and incrementally you come closer to the place where you want to be. Beause I don’t think anybody can just jump from a lifetime of responses and expectations and behaviors and just pick some other person and just become that person. You can’t do that.
Sandra, responding to this:
-=-Sometimes I think I've started to understand something but instead it's like an onion and there's another layer I didn't know I needed to understand.-=-
That's how everything good is. Every hobby, skill, pastime, has a surface and has a depth. Some things can be just surface, but parenting and unschooling last for years. And if a family can't resolve to be and do and provide better for the child than school would, then school is better.
-=-Where does being tired change from laziness to not? Or does it not?--=-
If a family resolves to provide a better life experience then school did, then their decisions and actions should be based on that.
Don't look for rules. Look for "better." Some days you won't have the energy to do your best. So find ways to have more energy, to focus, to make choices that lead you toward what you want to do, what your children need, what benefits your family most.Sandra Dodd, April 6, 2015, at Radical Unschooling Info, on facebook
At the bottom is a transcript (thanks to Marta Pires) of a certain part of the sound file there, which is free to hear.
The choices you make this week won't be as good as the choices you make next month, or next year, if you're consciously moving toward "better."
Photos are links
2007, on UnschoolingDiscussion (me/Sandra):
When people speak without thinking, they're speaking thoughtlessly.
Very literally so.
When people write without thinking, they're writing thoughtlessly.
No sense arguing about that. It's just better to work on being thoughtful.
In 2011, I used the quote at the top of this page for a Just Add Light post. A gentleman, father of one, objected, and I responded:
Unless we've made many of bad choices in our lives, we won't be able to know which choice will be the better one.
Sandra Dodd,August 22, 2011:
I disagree with that. People can look around them and see better and worse choices playing out in others' lives. And if you know where you want to go, you can tell "getting warm" from "getting cold" without stumbling through a lot of bad choices to figure it out.
But if (if) it's true for a parent (who might have gone through traditional parenting and traditional school), then a glowing advantage of radical unschooling will be that the same parent's child should be able to practice making better choices from a very young age, so that by the time she's to the big choices she's being thoughtful and analytical and not justifying bad choices.
Getting Warm (ideas for choice-making)
Other pages on choices
the Peaceful Parenting sound file is here