Saturday, June 09, 2007

Some People Have Not-the-Same-ness

Well, since I absolutely believe in synchronicity, I am going to explore this topic.
I'm not sure if the things (ideas, topics) come to me because it's something I need to think and write about, or if I just write about them because they come to me. Being a great believer in self-evolvement and personal growth, I choose to believe the former.
The ideas of labels, differences, abnormalities, judgments (Not-the-Same-ness) has come up in my life a lot lately. In online hs groups, reading on others blogs, and personal involved conversations (when is our next session, Melissia?) (it's probably pretty horrid of me to mention her name all the time, considering I've never once asked her if I may...)

What pretty much demanded that I begin this post today was reading a post from Zamozo on Learning in the Unzone.
"My fear is that using labels to describe our children's personalities can too easily lead to inadvertently focusing on those traits to the detriment of recognizing and celebrating the child's wonderful uniqueness and qualities and to the detriment of their self-esteem and future joy. These are the considerations that led me to make a conscious, deliberate decision to vanish these tendencies from my own behavior as I embraced radical unschooling and mindful, unconditional parenting."

There are many reasons that folks decide to homeschool. Some irritate the hell out of me. Some I find scary. Some I just don't understand.

"My child is different." All children are different. If you let them be.
"My child has special needs." All children are special and deserve special attention and care.
"One of my children needs more than the school offers, the other does just fine." I truly believe that all children shine more brilliantly when brought into the light, and allowed to grow in that light with love.
Some are religious.
Some are dominating.
Some parents feel compelled to control the environment.
Some folks feel they need to turn their child into something.

Since I have family and friends that are not home educator's this is a tricky place for me. It's a place between freedom and what I feel is right.
I believe in freedom. But that freedom extends to all, without exception. So as soon as a freedom oppresses another in any way, it loses its integrity. It becomes a thing of non-freedom.
I guess it's like my view on the world at large.
I believe in others rights to worship, think, feel, love, grow, learn, and practice their lives as they see fit. On the other hand, I don't think that they have the right of dominion (in their governments, religious practices, slavery practices) over another.
Is it possible for everyone to live that way? It's hard for me to say, because there are many politics and religions on this green earth of which I have no understanding. But it seems to me that a great many principles or religious practices can be held without oppressing another. If one chooses a law, principle, or idea because one's heart says it is true, then therein lies freedom. Regardless of how it may appear to an outsider.
And while as I said I am viewing these things on a global scale I think the same thing applies to parenthood, and the treatment of our children.

I have a really hard time accepting such things as adhd. And hyper-activity. And special needs. And many of the childhood ailments that I feel are inappropriate labels on a young person who thinks and acts differently when judged against another.
I am certain that young humans have always acted and thought in ways that have the damning labels attached to them today. The child existed long before the common name-calling.
I just don't think it's a good idea.
I think that people sometimes can't see the way to reach their child, because they think differently, and so in frustration the parent or teacher calls in the expert, and demands "What is wrong with this thing? It isn't working the way it's supposed to. Tell me what's wrong, Mr. Mechanic, Sir, so that I can fix it." And if the fixing it by ones self becomes too taxing, or too arduous a task, we'll put the thing on a treadmill, and tighten its bolts, and change the fluids, and switch some parts around until it works in a way that we think it should.

I feel again compelled to include the story/film of Animal School (originally by R. Z. Greenwald.) I wrote about this quite some time ago, but it fits so beautifully into what I'm trying to say.

Once upon a time the animals had a school. They had to create a curriculum that would satisfy everyone, so they chose four subjects....
and swimming.
All the animals, of course, studied all the subjects.
The duck was very good at swimming. Better than the teacher, in fact. He received passing grades in running and flying, but was hopeless in climbing. So they made him drop swimming so that he could practice climbing.
After a while, he was only average at swimming, but average is still acceptable, at least in school.And nobody much worried about it... except for the duck.
The eagle was considered a troublemaker. In his climbing class he beat everybody to the top of the tree, but he had his own way of getting there that was against the rules.
He always had to stay after school and write "cheating is wrong" 500 times. This kept him from soaring, which he loved, but schoolwork comes first.
The bear flunked because they said he was lazy, especially in winter. Summer was his best time, but school wasn't open then.
The zebra played hooky a lot because the ponies made fun of his stripes, and this made him very sad.
The kangaroo started out at the top of the racing class. But became discouraged when told to run swiftly on all four legs the way his classmates did.
The fish quit school because he was bored. To him, all four subjects were the same. But nobody understood that, because they had never seen a fish.
The squirrel got an A in climbing. But his flying teacher made him start from the ground up, instead of from the treetop down. His legs got so sore from practicing take-offs that he began to get C's in climbing, and D's in running.
The bee was the biggest problem of all. So the teacher sent him to Doctor Owl for testing. Doctor Owl said that the bee's wings were too small for flying, and that they were in the wrong place.
The bee never saw Dr. Owl's report, so he just went ahead and flew anyway.

It concerns me by believing in 'making the world a better place by wholly loving one child at a time' that not enough people are interested in applying enough energy and love into seeking understanding of their perplexing child.
While I find may descriptive words and phrases helpful for grouping and expressing ideas and commonality, I feel that labels often are extremely debilitating to one's psyche, and that they often lack empathy, and can be just down right mean.
Instead of name-calling why not just treat the child as an individual - with love, care, ingenuity, understanding, open-mindedness, respect, and kindness - and see how he shines?

1 comment:

Melissia said...

I love the story. I don't mind that you mention me I just don't think I am all that profound and lately I am downright silly.