The Beautiful Park
by Robyn Coburn

Once upon a time there was a place where almost all the people lived on a train. The train went forward at a great pace and of course stayed on the tracks, so the view was the same from all the windows. Most of families stayed in the same carriage for the whole journey.

Some families didn't care for the train, so they got on their bicycles instead. Many of these families followed right beside the train, and pedaled as hard as they needed to, to stay with it. Others followed the increasingly numerous bike paths that were set up that started at the depot and ended at the terminus, but were often more winding and scenic than the train route.

At some distance from the tracks, was a garden park that was full of walkers. The walkers meandered around sometimes, and at other times were seen to be walking briskly forward or even jogging. To the astonishment of passing cyclists, sometimes walkers in the beautiful garden were seen to be lounging around on the grass, or smelling the flowers. As for the people on the train, they could barely see the garden, let alone notice the inhabitants.

At the gateway to the garden there was always a gate keeper. People who had jumped off the train, as well as the occasional passing cyclist would inquire about how to get in, and the gate keeper would smile and say that it was a walking park, and the only thing inside was foot traffic. Sometimes hostile cyclists would come close to the gate and shout out that the walkers weren't going anywhere and should be cycling also, or try to show off with trick riding, but the walkers would always just keep walking, sitting, jogging or dancing along, having such a good time that lots of folks abandoned their bikes and joined in.

One day a cyclist arrived at the gate and wanted to go cycling in the park, because it looked so beautiful.

The gate keeper said, "This is a walking park. There are no directions, or maps, or paths."

The cyclist replied, "But this is a free country and I should be able to cycle if I want to."

The gate keeper said, "Then go cycle. There are hundreds of bike paths, but this is a walking park."

The cyclist said, "You can get along so much faster on a bike. There are fewer distractions. Biking is better."

The gate keeper said, "Biking is not better in a walking park. The people who are walking here have agreed that no-one can ride a bike in here. Your bike will be perfectly safe outside the gate if you ever want to come out and use it."

The cyclist went off in a huff, but was back the next day.

She said, "What if I agree to walk, can I go in and carry my bike?"

Robyn L. Coburn



Exploring Unschooling (free e-book)

Beginning Unschooling: Some ideas

Becoming Courageous:How to develop the courage and confidence it takes to unschool


On Discussing Beliefs by Joyce Fetteroll, explaining the purpose and workings of discussion lists based on ideas.


Getting It

Learning to See Differently

Three Stages of Unschooling by Kelly Lovejoy

Seeing a Day in an Unschooling Way by Ginny

Seeing It