The problem with slogans
Slogans can cripple logic. They sound so happy, though, and so helpful and true! But they're a way to make a rule. They can, oddly be a way to guilt someone (perhaps oneself) into not thinking, but just accepting.
You can either be right or be happy.
Someone wrote: "I do believe that you shouldn't keep score because you can either be right or be happy. and that aknowledgement was quite important for me."
It was in response to another person having quoted me, about relationships. I responded "That implies that to be happy one needs to feel a loss. By giving generously, we can be right AND happy."
She has even said to me... "my body, my choice" (which I have to admit was a proud Mumma moment even though it can make my day a little more difficult! :D )
The problem with having a slogan or a rule is that it might not be true. There's a problem with things that aren't true or right. It won't engender trust or faith in the parent's understanding if the parents create phrases (or approve of phrases) that aren't really true.
"My body, my choice" isn't true of any child in VERY many situations. Even sexually-related issues. It's not easy to think clearly sometimes, but the idea of slogans and "truisms" has been on my mind..., and that one jumped out at me.
On Radical Unschooling Info in February 2020, someone wrote:
-=-Let the child say no to vaccines. Their body, their choice. Always provide autonomy.-=-
That had not even been the main question.
The people in this group live in many different places and circumstances.
Slogans like "Their body, their choice" and "Always provide autonomy" are rules created to sound cool, but are not defensible unschooling principles.
A four year old should not need to BE "autonomous."
A four year old cannot be, legally, "autonomous."
Parents do have responsibilities and duties, legally and culturally, in every culture in the world. Pretending otherwise hasn't ever helped anyone, but it has harmed situations, and families, and logic.
Don't do it here.
In 2011, Joyce Fetteroll did a presentation about sound bites people take and treat as directions to follow. That's bordering on slogans, but just a touch off. Still, it's good to consider. Here's a bit of that:
SOUND BITES — AS DIRECTIONS TO FOLLOW
The text is here, at "Unschooling Takeaway"
Some people will grab a sound bite like “Always Say Yes” or “No bedtimes.” They’ll treat them like directions. They’ll run off to do exactly what they think the directions say.
SOUND BITE: No bedtimes.
TRANSLATES AS: Let them stay up. Three year olds staying up until 3AM.
BETTER: Ease the transition to sleep.
SOUND BITE: Don’t teach.
TRANSLATES AS: Step back and wait for them to learn.
BETTER: (Part of the talk :-)
SOUND BITE: Always say yes.
TRANSLATES AS: Twist yourself and reality into knots because you’re “not allowed” to say no.
BETTER: Say yes more.
SOUND BITE: Don’t judge.
TRANSLATES AS: Whatever kids do is okay.
BETTER: Support a child’s interests.
Some of that may be due to unschoolers saying, “Trust your kids.” I’m guilty of that.
What about historical, revered, and embedded slogans?
On facebook, someone I know from another interest than unschooling, posted:
I'd like to conduct a quick survey. Please answer yes or no if you know the rest of this phrase: "We hold these truths..." No spoilers please!!-- and NO LOOKING IT UP ON GOOGLE!!
I do, yes, but...
This doesn't work as well on a computer screen as in a facebook window.
What good is asking yes or no without checking another factor? Age? Geography?
Phrase, yes, but the rest of the sentence? The next couple of concepts?
And without a philosophical "but..." it's fluff anyway.
It's mythology. Beautiful wishful-thinking myth.
It never was truth. Even in the form it was stated, there is a condition. "We hold...." It's almost an "It seems."
"We believe (and will defend)..."
The author(s) didn't believe it either, unless a key term is very narrowly defined.
I'll take this to another page to collect other comments, because it's leaning toward the political.
Myths can be true, or not. It's not the same as fiction.
Phrases to hear and avoid
Principles, rather than rules