DSM: The freedom to say "No" or "Yes" according to one's own free will

From: Ardeshir Mehta, N.D. (ardeshir@sympatico.ca)
Date: Sun Jan 27 2002 - 19:05:01 EST


Hi Joe,

You wrote:

> Do you see a general difference between how one would behave walking
> around on one's own time and how one would behave haven taken money in
> exchange for providing a particular service? If you do, I hope that
> would establish that how an individual functions in the school is a
> separate question of *why* a Sudbury Staff does what they do. And
> hopefully we can agree that if parents of Sudbury students pay staff to
> function in that certain way, they should do it or not be elected.

I certainly agree with you that when one is accepting money for
performing a service, one ought to perform the service for which
one is being paid. What I DON'T understand is why a SUDBURY
school should require the school staff to behave any differently
towards students than they would towards, say, other members
of the staff, or towards someone of their own age whom they
might meet in a different social setting!

It seems to me that to do so is to detract from the very freedom
which one claims to be offering the students. If the students have
to be treated in such a way that no adult ever offers them unsolic-
ited help at school, then at what stage do they acquire the freedom
to say "No" to an adult? It would seem to me, under those circum-
stances, that given enlightened parents, a child might well enjoy
a greater degree of freedom OUTSIDE the Sudbury school than
IN it!

I think that when one offers a child freedom, in all fairness that
freedom should be the SAME as one would offer to any adult.
Otherwise it seems to me that the "freedom" one is claiming to
offer is a sham. -- Pardon me for being blunt, but that is the only
appropriate word here, at least in my opinion.

The only exceptions should be in cases where a child's life or health
could seriously be in danger, such as insisting on holding the hand
of a very young child when crossing a busy road! In other cases, one
should offer the SAME freedoms to ALL persons, and the freedoms
one should offer should be exactly the same freedoms to which one
lays claim oneself. And one of those is the freedom to say "No" to
anybody, including to the staff. (And also, of course, the freedom
to say "Yes" when one WANTS to accept the proffered help!)

After all, the children are bound to come across other adults OUT-
SIDE of school who do offer them unsolicited help and/or advice.
Thus they should be EXPOSED to it and not SHIELDED from it
IN school -- otherwise when will they EVER get accustomed to
saying "No" or"Yes" to any help or advice offered, depending on
whether they THEMSELVES want it or not?

All the best,

Ardeshir <http://homepage.mac.com/ardeshir/AllMyFiles.html>.

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