When I saw the phrase "addicted to indignation" I loved it. I relaxed. I had been trying to explain for years that people can make a habit of being negative, and can find it hard to step out of that behavior.
It turns out the phrase is by David Brin, who has done a lot of thinking and some nice writing about addiction to indignation.
I was watching the film "Harvey" starring James Stewart as Elwood P. Dowd yesterday, and there was a line spoken by the perpetually serene and agreeable Dowd that reminded me of your writing on the negative effects of indignation.
The lines are:
Good heavens, man! Haven't you
any righteous indignation?!
Oh, Doctor, I - I - (STAMMERS)
Years ago, my mother used to say to me,
she'd say, 'In this world, Elwood, you
must be...'—She always called me Elwood.—
'In this world, Elwood, you must be oh,
so smart or oh, so pleasant.'
years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.
And you may quote me.
Of course the lines are so much more meaningful coming out of James Stewart's mouth, and in the context of the rest of this sweet film.
I felt such joy when I watched this part of the film especially, and I wanted to share that joy with you, as a reflection of how your words resonate, even through a black-and-white film made in 1950 watched in 2017 on a DVD borrowed from the library by a mom on Vancouver Island who happened to see it on the shelf and thought, "that looks interesting"...
Be dignified, if you want your children to respect you and to grow up to be dignified themselves. You cannot maintain your dignity and also embrace INdignity. Breathe and think of your children's need for peace so that unschooling can thrive in your home.
Indignation is not a virtue.
Deb Lewis, expanding on something I posted in August 2017:
***For unschooling to work well, unschooling parents can't live in a stew of anger or cynicism.***
My mom was a kind person, but she was a negative person. Something was always wrong, something was always going to bring about the next big war, the end of the world, the destruction of human kind. As she saw it, we were all about to be thrown into chaos every day I can remember from my childhood. It wasn't good for me. I can tell you that it hurt my relationship with my mom, and made me resent, and mistrust her. Don't do that.
Even though you know there are worrying things in the world, even if you're sure you're right, every time you laser focus your attention on whatever those problems are, you're super heating your worry, and chances are you're losing rational perspective in all that steam.
I heard a podcast where the guest was talking about finding meaning in life. He speculated that people are lately finding meaning in their outrage, in getting wound up, and in doing so, being able to prove their virtue to the "right" people. It's tribalism, and it's trending, and it's unhealthy. You might not have time at the moment of your death to reflect on things you found meaningful in your life, but if you do, in those last moments, are you really going to say to yourself, "Thank god I spent the last decade outraged and angry!" Outrage won't help any cause you care about. It only feeds your sense of self righteousness. It might earn you points with the "tribe," but there's some big, ugly potential it will harm your kids, and your physical, and mental health.
I was relieved when my mom died. I hoped I could finally let go of my resentment of her, and the choices she made to worry and frighten her kids. You probably don't want your kids to feel that way when you die.
If you need meaning in your life, let it be your family and the things you love. Let it be in building calm and peace in your home for your partner, your children, your pets, your plants. Tend to living things that you can feed, and nourish, and help thrive. If you must tend to your causes too, do so without outrage.
It might be that unschooling parents have a particular responsibility to provide peaceful stability to their children. They've already said the state will not have a greater influence over their children. Make sure your influence isn't full of anger and disgust for the world your children will have to live in the rest of their lives.