Principles and Priorities
pages 10 and 11 of The Big Book of Unschooling (2009 edition)
online chat, August 24, 2011

Sandra Dodd: Good afternoon or whatever it might be.

ChrisSanders: Hi

Jill Parmer: Hello all

Marta BP: hi!

Schuyler joined the chat

Schuyler: Hello

Sandra Dodd: Good evening, Schuyler.

Sandra Dodd: I kind of started trouble in Jihong's facebook page, so she might be late. :-)

Schuyler: It is a lovely evening. Good afternoon to you.

Sandra Dodd: I might just abandon unschooling assistance at some point and go around telling people who say "have to" that they do NOT "have to."

Sandra Dodd: Until someone kills me. They will say they "had to," but I hope in the trial someone says "you didn't 'have to,' you CHOSE to."

Schuyler: Oh the irony....

Sandra Dodd: And I guess some would celebrate, saying that I had attracted death and had manifested that.

Robin Bentley: Schuyler, you troublemaker!

Sandra Dodd: Oh, what a week of caca

Jill Parmer: And they'd throw in words like vortex and well, some more of those words.

Robin Bentley: Oh, sorry - that's Sandra who's the troublemaker. Can't read this morning.

Schuyler: I have a special mixer for trouble

Marta BP: :(

Schuyler: I thought I'd stirred up trouble without knowing it...I like that idea.

Sandra Dodd: I'm clearly not an indigo child. And my children must not be gifted, or I would know how important it is to treat gifted children differently, and blah-de-blah-dumbass-blah.

Schuyler: I have trouble trailing behind me, like pigpen

Robin Bentley: Someone's using the word "vortex" Jill?

Schuyler: So it's a good mood, happy sunshine day?

Jill Parmer: Yep.

Schuyler: vex is a good word.

Schuyler: It's shorter than vortex, though.

Jill Parmer: ooo, vex, I like it.

Schuyler: All these folks are vexing you.

Jill Parmer: They vex me.

Robin Bentley: I like to watch the vortices on airplane wings and race car rear wings.

Jihong joined the chat

Schuyler: vortices is way, way better than vortex.

Schuyler: Many vortex..

Sandra Dodd: Yesterday Marty drove me out far to the west of town on dirt roads, looking for the hulk of an old milk truck he had seen sitting out there. It had been moved, or he wasn't in the same place. But once I said "stop!" and jumped out to take a photo of clouds, and forgot (because I have lived in the city for 30 years) that there would be a cloud of dust about to catch up with us, and jumped right out into it.

Jihong: Hello Sandra. :))

Schuyler: You were Pigpen!

Jill Parmer: You were in a vortex of dust.

Schuyler: Jihong and I are wearing the same colour....I'm so embarassed.

Jill Parmer: Did you channel that?

Schuyler: ;)

Schuyler: Marty did.

Sandra Dodd: I really like the way it looks from a distance when a truck or jeep is going quickly along a dusty road and the dust cloud might be three times as high as the vehicle, and a bunch of wide and really long. And I grew up on dirt roads, but I forgot. So if any of you are ever riding along in the desert and want to jump out to take a picture, first think: Dirt road?

Robin Bentley: I imagine Jihong saying "Hello Sandra" like Jerry Seinfield used to say "Hello Newman" .

Jihong: Tanks for commenting sandra

Sandra Dodd: Yes. I have just tied everything together in a pigpenesque vortex.

Sandra Dodd: Sorry, Jihong. I irritated a friend of yours, maybe.

Robin Bentley: Oooh, such connections, Sandra!

Sandra Dodd: Maybe she'll be nicer to her kids at some point, though.

Sandra Dodd: Today's topic is a hard one, and I am sorrowful at finding a little typo on page 10.

Robin Bentley: Ack - I missed it, too! Where?

Sandra Dodd: There should be a space between "rules" and "discourage" but like TEN proofreaders missed it, which means (when I'm not feeling angsty) that it was interesting enough that they forgot to look for errors. So points off for lack of a space, points ON for it being readable anyway.

Jihong: No worry. Sandra. She is a good mom. We all learn something new

Sandra Dodd: I learn the same old thing: That I might never learn to keep my strong opinions quiet.

Marta BP: :)

Robin Bentley: Not the 2nd paragraph, though. It's right in my book.

Marta BP: I sure hope you continue to not keep your strong opinions quiet, Sandra. ;)

Jill Parmer: Please don't keep your strong opinions quiet! My thinking has improved since reading all you write on unschooling in diff. places.

Robin Bentley: Mine, too.

Marta BP: I've learned so much from them in the last year (almost).

Schuyler: I don't like writing on facebook. It's too scrolly...

Jihong: Me too, Jill. I feel sad though when I see people attack Sandra

Robin Bentley: And I always mess up on the shift/enter.

Jill Parmer: Yeah, I don't like that so much discussion is on facebook, lately. Pooey

Marta BP: Me too, Jihong.

Schuyler: Yes. Well, I don't know if you do, but I can't seem to peg that shift enter thing at all

Sandra Dodd: Robin, inside, what does yours say for printing or batch? on the copyright page? Mind says Third Batch, with a few corrections. So good! Maybe it was fixed later.

Sandra Dodd: I just hope it wasn't "errored" later.

Robin Bentley: I have the Good Vibrations Conference edition. I can check the other ones later.

Sandra Dodd: Jihong, don't feel bad when people *try* to attack me. I dodge.

Sandra Dodd: OHG. If it was right in the first edition.... Oh well. I'll breathe and smile.

Jill Parmer: No typo in my book.

Jill Parmer: Good Vibrations Conference edition.

Sandra Dodd: Here. I can cheat. The first part of that chapter is this:

Sandra Dodd: Although much of this book and even more of the website is about specific things you can do with your children, and how you might do them, unschooling parents need to change from rules to principles, meaning that instead of saying "This is what you do, because I said so," considering the purpose of the requested action, and the accompanying emotional or relationship damage, if any. Rules discourage thought. Principles require thought. When you're trying to make a decision, nothing helps more than to know what your principles and priorities are. Joyce Fetteroll once wrote, "If the reasons behind rules make sense, then there isn't a reason to make a rule....If the reasons behind rules are nonsense, then people memorize nonsense..."

Sandra Dodd: (Only without paragraph breaks; sorry.

Marta BP: Mine says "Third batch, with a few corrections, etc." but it has the typo on page 10.

Robin Bentley: If only we could get people to think more about that from the outset before trying unschooling "ways", they might have more luck from the get-go. It seems really hard for people to make that shift.

Robin Bentley: From rules to principles.

Sandra Dodd: Thanks, Marta. It was because of an abandoned attempt to index. I see the problem now that I've opened a word file.

Sandra Dodd: This ties in to "have to," I think.

Sandra Dodd: If someone has priorities like "I have to sleep" then that will lead to "the children have to sleep in their own beds."

Sandra Dodd: I have a pesky desire to think several social moves ahead. I'm not a good chess player, but I do remember to think "but then what?" about social situations, usually.

Sandra Dodd: And where people sleep, and the purpose of sleep, and the dangers of isolation, are all in there for me.

Sandra Dodd: "It depends" is my best tool.

Sandra Dodd: Sometimes people have said "So list all the principles of unschooling, then," but I don't think that's a good idea.

Robin Bentley: Principles can vary in each home.

Robin Bentley: And if you list them, it almost makes them into rules!

Sandra Dodd: Yes, both of those things. Even though Pam Sorooshian made a list, and I have it on my site, and I don't mind people using that, it shouldn't be anyone's be-all and end-all.

Robin Bentley: And you've also listed only some of them and mentioned a growing list in the book.

Jill Parmer: I like that list because it shows examples of principles and how she thought about them.

Robin Bentley: I *love* "Being gentle and honest and compassionate is as much for the doer as for the object. Being nice to the dog makes one a nicer person (regardless of the dog's opinion, I mean).

Sandra Dodd: /pam/principles

Schuyler: I don't know that I reach for principles anymore. I don't tend to feel a need to reach for stuff like rules. I tend to try and help and if I can't I try and help somewhere else...

Sandra Dodd: Then I guess one of your principles is that helping is good, Schuyler.

Robin Bentley: Schuyler I think principles become your daily life - it's infused with principles.

Schuyler: Maybe if you start with a bigger list, with time and experience and thinking, it stops being any kind of list.

Marta BP: It was useful for me too Jill, because I came (still do sometimes) from a different mindset and it helped me to understand the idea better.

Sandra Dodd: If you're living by principles, you won't need to reach for them, because they're all internalized.

Schuyler: I have internal principles. Nestled next to my internal organs. Cool.

Robin Bentley: Snort!

Marta BP: lol

Jill Parmer: Schuyler, what do you mean about not reaching for principles anymore?

Sandra Dodd: I think that's the idea. If you become a principled person, it won't be clear what's on your list. For me to write that part of the book, I thought about how we were making decisions, and what kinds of things Keith and I agreed on so deeply that it was just a "well of course" thing. "Ray's truck is stuck in a ditch," one or the other of us would say after a late-night phonecall, and Keith would get up and get dressed to go save him. Or whoever, stuck or needy wherever.

Jill Parmer: Yes, Robin that is the way I feel, that how I go about things is infused with principles.

Jihong/joy joined the chat

Sandra Dodd: Neither of us was ever the kind of person who would have not answered a late-night phone, or said "Call Triple A, Ray," or to say "Can't somebody else do it?" Not if we had a truck and a chain.

JessicaO joined the chat

Sandra Dodd: There are positive attributes that go with "being principled." Sometimes things like steady, reliable, dependable, brave.

Robin Bentley: Being a principled person often means people can trust you. Like Ray trusts that Keith and Sandra will help him.

Schuyler: Surely most folks have some principles. I don't imagine there are lots of unprincipled people, really. Just not thinking about a lot of stuff people.

Sandra Dodd: When people don't like those traits they say "stodgy, dogged, pushy."

Jill Parmer: Sandra, what if Ray called you a lot, ...once a month...needing some kind of help?

Schuyler: I'd probably get annoyed if he called at 3 in the morning all the time.

Sandra Dodd: I don't know. It didn't happen.

Sandra Dodd: I had one irritating friend, Diana, who did literally call at 3:00 in the morning one time, from a cruise ship, where she was working, wanting me to hear her problems and find her some information on traditional gypsy music.

JessicaO: hi everyone!

Sandra Dodd: I dug up the materials she wanted and mailed them to the ship, to find she had bailed from that job and never got the box.

Robin Bentley: Did you help her ever again?

Sandra Dodd: That wasn't the only bad decision she made that affected me. She's not my friend anymore, though.

Sandra Dodd: Yeah, I helped her because she married a friend of mine. And I picked her up one night when she was throwing a fit and had been asked to leave her sister-in-law's house (someone I didn't know). She got in my car and started banging on the dashboard and yelling, and I said STOP IT, don't break my car, I came to help you. Stop acting crazy. Then she went REALLY crazy and said don't EVER say CRAZY and I said then stop acting that way.

Sandra Dodd: Her "principles" were to do whatever the hell she wanted at every moment.

Sandra Dodd: Perhaps I'm a magnet for unprincipled loonies, and I hope you don't gather any, ever, Schuyler. Good for you, seeing the world as being full of principled people.

JessicaO: sandra: i saw what you said on jihong's page, about "have to"... inflexibility drives me nuts... on one of the science pages that I play with, there were some comments from parents saying "they love this page so much that they're not doing what they're supposed to do" (or similar)

reneecabatic joined the chat

Sandra Dodd: Sometimes when someone has called for a rescue I have found someone else to do it, but they know that I won't just drop the ball.

JessicaO: (i mean "they love this site")

Sandra Dodd: Jessica, because they don't have "do things you love" on their lists! :-)

Sandra Dodd: They can change priorities, maybe.

Rebecca Allen: Or "learning is fun!"

Sandra Dodd: So with unschooling, and more than that, with having children, I think it's natural and normal for people's priorities to change.

Schuyler: Maybe you are willing to help people longer than I am. Maybe that makes me less of a magnet.

Robin Bentley: Sandra Dodd - Loony Magnet. You should get that printed on a shirt!

Jill Parmer: oh gawd, waht does that make me? A looney?

Robin Bentley: Are you an unprincipled loony, Jill? I think not.

Sandra Dodd: You're not a loony.

Jill Parmer: For the record, I have not called Sandra at 3 am.

Schuyler: Do you feel yourself turning towards the south when Sandra's in Albuquerque?

Sandra Dodd: Most of my loonies were druggy buddies from college, or SCA members later on.

Sandra Dodd: A few unschoolers, but not many :-)

Robin Bentley: Hooray for that.

Marta BP: :)

Rebecca Allen: It seems to be about boundaries. Loonies have fewer.

Jihong/joy: I definitely see that in Sandra, schuyler. Her willingness to help. I would have bailed out long time ago when I saw so many "stupid and stubborn" people. I was one of them when I couldn't get the unschooling concept. Even if I am still learning, but at least I am not defensive for the sake of being defensive

Sandra Dodd: So... seeing the purposes of things helped me with figuring out principles. Purposes of food, beds, sleep, togetherness.

Sandra Dodd: I could look at a bed and recite a bunch of rules and "times" ---beds are for sleeping, not for jumping (not for playing), take a bath before you get in the bed so the sheets will stay clean, being in the bed in the daytime means sick or lazy...

Robin Bentley: Ugh.

Sandra Dodd: But I would rather wash sheets than shame a kid for getting sheets dirty.

Jihong/joy: Sorry for "stupid and stubborn", I don't usually talk like that, just try to emphasize :)

Sandra Dodd: Or Keith! I don't care if he comes in from working in the yard or from camping and is too tired to shower.

Sandra Dodd: Or me. After I cut them a break, I was able to do those things without feeling ashamed or guilty or wrong.

Sandra Dodd: Beds are just beds.

JessicaO: and washing machines can wash the sheets easily enough.

Sandra Dodd: Jihong, the words are apt this week, unfortunately.

Sandra Dodd: True. I love having washing machines and a dishwasher. Sometimes people still make noise about re-using coffee cups or water glasses or not using "too many" spoons.

Schuyler: brb

Sandra Dodd: The machine doesn't count.

Sandra Dodd: It can wash ten as easily as five.

JessicaO: what about parents who want their kids to drop what they're engrossed in just because it's time for dinner "right now"?

Sandra Dodd: And even when I'm washing by hand, *I* can wash ten spoons as easily as five.

Sandra Dodd: Schuyler and I washed a lot of dishes by hand when we were in france. And David, her husband, did too.

Sandra Dodd: So the purpose of washing dishes is so that people have clean dishes.

Sandra Dodd: And by that, to me it seems that "conserving" washing means that people are using dirty dishes to keep me from washing more dishes. Defeats the purpose.

Robin Bentley: It can be really meditative, too, and soothing to have your hands in warm water.

JessicaO: a friend had some relatives come over from greece or someplace & wanted to know where her dishwasher was.

JessicaO: she showed them her hands!

Sandra Dodd: Nicer than showing them her kids.

Robin Bentley: Snort!

JessicaO: robin, this time of year it's the cold water

Sandra Dodd: That was the not-funny joke when I was growing up.

Marta BP: lol

JessicaO: lol! i don't think she had kids

Robin Bentley: Yes, it's hot where you are, eh, Jessica?

JessicaO: are you talking about the "children should be seen not heard" thing?

JessicaO: robin, a little bit. 104 i think

ChrisSanders: I have a friend who had her kids (4 kids) do the dishwashing, now that she's down to just one left in the house she bought a dishwasher.

JessicaO: 102.

Robin Bentley: That's hot enough.

JennyC joined the chat

Sandra Dodd: Hi, Jenny.

JessicaO: chris, that is sad! one of my boys said he'd do dishes if we had a dishwasher

Robin Bentley: Really Chris? Man, I'd be pissed if I were the older kids.

Robin Bentley: Jenny, I was just going to email you to come to chat.

JennyC: Hi! Sorry I'm late!

ChrisSanders: Yep! But at least they don't have to do dishes when they're home from school.

Sandra Dodd: So if beds are for sleeping and sleeping is for health, learning, restoration, that changes that. If washing dishes is to provide clean dishes, that helps that.

JessicaO: we'll get one as soon as we can afford one. i think we can get a good deal on one from habitat for humanity

JennyC: I do a pick up drop off for work on wednesday mornings and sometimes it isn't ready on time and so I'm late

Robin Bentley: Are there principles that are less, um, obvious in purpose?

Robin Bentley: I know there are - just like to talk about them.

Sandra Dodd: From that list in the book (not response to Robin, maybe), I like this one:  ยป Being nice to guests is good. (And we treated our children as guests, in many ways, as they were new to the world and we invited them into our home by having children in the first place.)

Sandra Dodd: Well maybe that's one of them, Robin.

Robin Bentley: That's lovely. Yes, I think so.

reneecabatic: I've asked folks to use one glass. And when I'm asked to get someone a drink, or I see a need for a drink I'll ask if the person "has a glass going already"

Sandra Dodd: It would keep me from making them wash dishes.

Marta BP: Lovely :)

Sandra Dodd: Do you have a dishwasher and lots of glasses, Renee? Is it left over from childhood rules?

JennyC: I try to do that too Sandra, one cup. Otherwise we end up with cups left all over the house

JennyC: which isn't a bad thing, just a thing that I try to avoid

Sandra Dodd: I just pick cups up from all over the house, grateful to have cups. Mostly, though people bring their own cups back, and pick mine up on the way by, too

Robin Bentley: Yes, here, too.

reneecabatic: i have a dishwasher and lots of different glasses......I i gues I just think of it as being efficient and yes--minimizing the glasses ....

Robin Bentley: Efficiency can put a cramp in principles, though, I think.

JennyC: yes that happens here too, lots of cups and lots to pick up, yet if someone asks for a glass of water, my first question usually is "do you have a cup already?"

ChrisSanders: that's what I do too, Sandra -- sometimes I'll remind someone to take their dish/cup with them if they're headed toward the kitchen

Sandra Dodd: I think if they sit around they might get dust or bugs (might have to do with where I live) or if it's milk-based drinks the milk can start to spoil.

Rebecca Allen: I bought more glasses just last week. It has helped me avoid annoyance at my husband using lots of glasses and leaving them around the house. I want an already clean glass when I'm thirsty more than I worry about washing more glasses.

Sandra Dodd: If the purpose is cleanliness, I think re-using a cup too long leads to non-cleanliness.

JennyC: with a crowded house, things get spilled. That's my biggest issue with cups left all over

Sandra Dodd: But it could be different in more humid places.

reneecabatic: i guess efficency may be one of my principles (which is an improvement for me over my internal voice telling me I'm lazy)

Robin Bentley: Jenny, cups with lids and straws!

Sandra Dodd: If someone's plan of efficiency takes priority over their whatever-else, then for them that's a principle to go by.

reneecabatic: agreed- at the end of the day or gathering all glase go in the washer

Sandra Dodd: And there's an example of how it might be different in differnt houses.

Robin Bentley: So using one cup - is that a rule or a principle? It would be different in each home, I guess.

Sandra Dodd: How a person sees their glasses, their dishwasher, and their purpose in cleaning will (SHOULD!) affect the way they decide.

JennyC: if I'm washing dishes and there are lots of kids floating about, I'll ask them to go around and gather up dishes

Sandra Dodd: I'm sitting next to a glass with milk drying in the bottom of it. I'm not going to re-use it, even if I drink milk next. Rinsing it with water isn't good enough to make sure it's really clean.

Robin Bentley: Jenny, you have a different situation, too. You have plenty of kids who are not your kids, not your family. They come with rule baggage.

Sandra Dodd: I see a glass near where Keith was sitting last night.

reneecabatic: i don't mind if someone wants a new cup--I don't like using the same cup if I switch beverages but i do ask before getting a new cup

Rebecca Allen: How many people there are in the situation changes things too.

Sandra Dodd: Ah. It had two inches of water in the bottom. I'm drinking it.

JennyC: using one cup isn't a rule, but if someone has a cup already then I'd rather go grab it and refill it then get a new one from the cupboard

Sandra Dodd: Rebecca, 'splain, please.

Sandra Dodd: During Kirby's birthday party, I reloaded the dishwasher three times. It makes heat to run it, but I figured all the fans were on and there were other parts of the house people could go to.

Rebecca Allen: We have 3 people and maybe 20 glasses. If there were 6 or 10 people using the same number of glasses during the same time period, the usage and cleaning would shift.

Sandra Dodd: The shotglasses were being washed bartender style, as they were used, by various bartender-types.

JennyC: when we have lots of young kid guests, I'll get cups and ask them to remember which color is theirs so that we can reuse them while they are here

reneecabatic: I have stopped asking XuMei to help with getting dishes or anything really. I realized that because she says yes and xander doesn't I was asking only her

Rebecca Allen: Me washing glasses once a day feels a lot different than washing glasses several times a day.

ChrisSanders: I was considering leaving a note for Zach to bring down all dirty dishes from his room (which is the entire upstairs) before leaving for days at a time. I don't have any reason to go into his room except to gather dirty dishes or laundry.

Schuyler: I ask Simon or Linnaea different things based on what will interest them or what they may be more likely to do.

Rebecca Allen: Are you wanting to honor his privacy, Chris?

Robin Bentley: It also can depend on the person. Ross will refill his cup; so will I. Senna is very particular about her glasses and cups and she prefers a new one or the one she has washed out before being refilled. We have lots of glasses and cups!

Schuyler: I don't think I'm being unfair by biasing my requests to the one who is more interested.

Rebecca Allen: Some people have a favorite glass or mug!

ChrisSanders: Partly Rebecca -- but also I'm lazy ;-P

reneecabatic: XuMei asked me why I don't ask Xander and I could tell it bothered her....she has a bigger sense of duty...I said I'd stop asking and she can help if she sees the need

Sandra Dodd: Holly's usually more interested in making a pass through the house to see if there are dirty dishes than Marty or Keith or I would be.

Robin Bentley: Yes, Rebecca.

JennyC: I'm much more likely to ask for Chamille's help than I am Margaux's! She's much more likely to say "yes"

Schuyler: Linnaea's more interested in coming to walk the dog than Simon is. Simon's more willing to go and get me something in the house.

reneecabatic: XuMei was feeling resentful of Xander's ability to say no

Sandra Dodd: That's the principle of looking for money under a streetlight.

Robin Bentley: I sometimes ask the dog, so I can be really comfortable with a "no".

JessicaO: lol Robin, that could get you a slurp!

Schuyler: I ask the dog lots of things. I chat with him a fair bit.

reneecabatic: so if I don't ask she can "saqy" no and just not do it if she wants

reneecabatic: sorry---sticky keyboard!

JennyC: if you don't ask, she can't say no or yes

Sandra Dodd: If you ask Xander, and he says yes, cool. If he says no, maybe XuMei could jump in and say "I will!" that way she wasn't asked, and she gets to show him up.

reneecabatic: she can help if she wants to

Sandra Dodd: Oh. I learned when I was in the UK last time that "to show someone up" is different there.

reneecabatic: aha! Sandra-- interesting idea...I might try it

Robin Bentley: Is that a good thing to encourage? Showing someone up?

Sandra Dodd: Here it means to outdo them, to best them at something. There it seemed to mean to "out" someone.

JessicaO: when my twins were around 7 or 8, we had them washing dishes as a way of trying to get them to "do chores".. i ended that after i took a drink of something mixed with soap that didn't get rinsed!

JennyC: that's sometimes called healthy competition!

Sandra Dodd: You don't have to "encourage" it if there are twins who are already hyper aware of who's done what.

Rebecca Allen: What does it mean in the UK, Sandra?

Sandra Dodd: If she's asked to do it, she's resentful; that's already established.

Robin Bentley: Ah, I wouldn't know. I was mostly an only child and I only have one.

Sandra Dodd: If HE is asked, he has the option to do or not to do.

Robin Bentley: Oh, I get it.

JennyC: I think it might be cool for my kids to compete with each other to do nice things for me!

Robin Bentley: Sorry.

reneecabatic: as twins--Xander and XuMei already have a fair amount of competition

Sandra Dodd: Then if XuMei volunteers, she can do so freely as a gift to her mom (and a psychic swat at her brother)

reneecabatic: naturally without my adding it artificially

Robin Bentley: If you set it up that way, Jenny, or if they do it onl their own? Just trying to get a handle on what people with more than one kid do.

Schuyler: David's got a fire going outside. I'm going to go sit with him and have a cuppa. Good night all! Have a good afternoon.

Sandra Dodd: If he feels embarrassed that she jumped up, he had the first refusal.

Sandra Dodd: Bye, Schuyler!

JessicaO: take care, schuyler!

JennyC: bye Schuyler!

Robin Bentley: Bye Schuyler!

reneecabatic: bye Schuyler!

Sandra Dodd: I am liking sitting at my kitchen table in New Mexico, but am a little wistful about the idea of sitting by a fire in Norfolk.

JessicaO: wish we could have fires.. we're under a burn ban... i miss harrison & micah's fire "breathing"

Sandra Dodd: Their yard is surrounded by a huge hedge, and on the other side of that are wheat fields on two sides.

Robin Bentley: I've been wanting to go camping this year because I miss sitting 'round a campfire. No luck so far.

Jihong/joy: I wonder what necessity has to do with how we treat or raise children. For example in some part of the world, the children have to work at young age. I had to cook simple meals for myself and young brother at 7 years old.

JennyC: no, I wouldn't set it up! I just think it would be cool if I made an announcement like, "I wish the kitchen was clean" and then all the kids would compete to clean it first...

Sandra Dodd: I want to talk about priorities a bit, rather than not just principles.

Robin Bentley: That would be nice!!

Robin Bentley: That was meant for Jenny.

Sandra Dodd: Jihong, the example I have used is WWII. If there is food rationing, it will be important to divide it and make sure children eat their share. If there are black-out drills or air raids, children MUST be trained to be quiet on command.

JennyC: my priorities change in each moment, but generally, kids come first!

Sandra Dodd: But when there are peace and plenty, it doesn't make sense to live as though it's The Great Depression, or a war zone.

Sandra Dodd: So if the principle is "safety" and "peace" those can apply in or out of wartime.

Sandra Dodd: And if children "have to" work at a young age (or what?) then that's how it is. Unschooling might not work in those circumstances.

JennyC: that goes back towards the hierarchy of needs

Sandra Dodd: And priorities.

Sandra Dodd: Whatever is most important comes first. Then, if possible, the second most important thing. And then third.

Sandra Dodd: And that can change, too, depending on circumstances. Safety will trump all else during a natural disaster.

Sandra Dodd: If kids are used to playing outside but there's a tornado warning, that becomes the priority.

Jihong/joy: Ic

Sandra Dodd: So if a family has a home and food and some leisure time and leeway, then they can decide if they want to send their kids to a private school, a public school, or neither one.

Sandra Dodd: It's a luxury.

Marta BP: :)

JennyC: people use that as an excuse to send their kids to school

Sandra Dodd: Use what?

JennyC: that keeping them home is a luxury afforded to only the rich

Sandra Dodd: Okay

Sandra Dodd: that's their right.

JennyC: I've seen that argument lots

JennyC: yes

Sandra Dodd: I don't think it's an excuse.

JennyC: it does have to do with priorities though

Sandra Dodd: Yes.

JennyC: I don't consider myself rich, but I still choose to keep my kids home

Sandra Dodd: And sometimes people who think or say something is a luxury afforded to the rich, it's because they want to be rich, which requires both parents work a lot. :-)

JennyC: that was the priority

JennyC: right

Sandra Dodd: We're not rich, and we SURELY weren't when Kirby was little, but we were in a stable house that Keith's parents were selling him, so we weren't in danger of being homeless.

Jihong/joy: Will children growing up in an resources rich environment be less adaptable or there is no connections between the two?

Sandra Dodd: I think it will have a lot to do with personality.

JennyC: I think have a lot of resources is ideal!

Sandra Dodd: In the hippie 1960's and 70's, I met a fair number of people who had left wealthy families to go and live as though they were poor.

Sandra Dodd: It was a little irritating. :-)

JennyC: however, one can be resourceful even without lots of resources

Sandra Dodd: And they had the safety net of wealthy relatives. Some stayed here (New Mexico had lots of them) and did okay (and inherited money later). Some got tired of slumming it and went back to NJ. Some lured their relatives out here, too.

JennyC: Chamille's circle of friends seem to be that way

Sandra Dodd: That was interesting, a fad of leaving money live poorly. And St. Francis was very popular among that group, because he did that.

JennyC: it can be irritating, they come from wealthy families and come to my house and eat and stay

Sandra Dodd: By "adaptable," Jihong, do you mean will they survive if they find themselves destitute?

Sandra Dodd: I think so.

Sandra Dodd: You don't have to do that, Jenny.

JennyC: but then, I find that what we are rich with is family and love and kindness and peacefulness

JennyC: no, I know

Robin Bentley: Your home is a place they can feel comfortable; they don't enjoy being at home, regardless of the money.

Jihong/joy: Right, less adeptable to change of economical conditions

Sandra Dodd: Well it's easy to adapt to MORE money, for anyone.

Sandra Dodd: And difficult for anyone to go to less money (or to no car, no phone, after having had those things)

Sandra Dodd: So rather than look for the downfall, look at the advantages, I think.

Sandra Dodd: Be generous (which you have been being). Be grateful (which you have been being).

Robin Bentley: I remember a line for Jesus Christ Superstar. Jesus tells his followers: "There will be poor always, pathetically struggling. Look at the good things you've got."

Sandra Dodd: And then use your resources to make your children's lives full and fun. That's the way it should be.

Jihong/joy: Sandra, some parents I know create artificial hardship, so their children can be more adaptable. But I don't think that works

Robin Bentley: It makes kids resentful.

reneecabatic: i think that creates resentment

JennyC: I've seen wealthy parents cut their kids off, so that they can struggle

JennyC: that happens at my house all the time because my fridge is tiny

Robin Bentley: Jenny, if you were closer, I'd ask Aunty to give you a job sewing hula dresses.

JennyC: the sewing I'm doing right now is making saches

JennyC: it is for someone else, it's piece work, but it pays decently well and it's guaranteed income

Robin Bentley: We can make our own skirts, but dresses are another story. Most of us don't have those skills.

JennyC: I'm going to be making pipe bags, specifically for churchwarden pipes

Robin Bentley: Cool!

ChrisSanders: cool - I have several sachets in my drawers -- love good smelly stuff

JennyC: hula dresses would be easy though since most aren't fitted

JessicaO: i made evan a half finger glove (he decided he wanted to go to high school & is putting a lot of energy into it)... he wore it for the first time today...

JennyC: it makes my whole house smell nice, it's the added bonus of my new job!

Robin Bentley: Some are, with long trains. Beautiful, but a big deal to sew.

JessicaO: got some solid black yarn in the mail to make him another.. he said he may come home with some requests because the one i made is pretty cool...

Robin Bentley: But yes, most are simple.

Robin Bentley: Still out of the realm of our skills .

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