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Friday, February 22, 2008

Ice 3 and Unschooling

The latest storm came through Evansville yesterday morning and made its way east to us by mid-afternoon. My art class at Patchwork was canceled. Cars can't make it up the very gentle incline of my street. The BBPiT is in Blackhawk, Colorado, where they're having better weather than we are in the typically mild-wintered Ohio Valley.

So: Ice 3. When we get in the vicinity of Ice 9, there'll be cause to worry. For now, Dragonstar and I can stay put, she at the computer, drawing wolves and dragons with her Wacom tablet, keeping up with her Webkinz routine and multiple ongoing role-playing threads, while I go through threads of another sort, at a manic rate, making fabric ATCs. I emptied two spools yesterday -- not full spools, but still! When I finish something worth showing you, I'll post it on the Out of Hand blog (link in the sidebar) where I put my art stuff.
Meanwhile... I've had a couple conversations with friends this week that brought home to me the stickiness of expectation, and the vigilance we sometimes have to call upon to remain true to the music of our hearts. Dragonstar is a natural at this, never having been subject to the ranking and sorting of school. She does what she does, loves what she loves, and makes no apologies for who she is. She doesn't have to resist the expectations of others because she is not generally subject to them. Would that we were all so free!

So much of what we assume about how things ought to be is based on nothing more than inculcated norms -- social and cultural conditioning that may be useful (particularly to those in positions of power) but doesn't necessarily serve our best interests as creative, soulful human beings. The stickiness of this conditioning is evident wherever we accept the notion "that's just how it's done." It happens more than we realize. Kids go to school. Adults go to work. Nations go to war. That's just how it's done.

When people ask me -- and they do -- about my daughter's future, when they wonder aloud how she'll "manage" when she's never been forced to do anything, when they tell me "we all have to do things we don't want to do," I hear the voice of that sticky culture in their words, and I hurt for them, and for their children. They see value in children learning to do what they're told. I see the resulting culture of alienation and learned helplessness, full of people who cannot connect with their heart's desire because they've spent their lives doing things they didn't want to do.

There is a difference between doing what needs to be done, and doing what we're told. Right now, the greatest work of the world -- the work of compassionate, creative cooperation, the work of healing, the work of helping -- goes undone while we all run around doing what we're told, sending the kids to school, sending the soldiers to war. This is not a good thing. And it's not a paradigm I wish to perpetuate.

When Gandhi said we need to be the change we want to see in the world, he wasn't speaking rhetorically, like a politician running for office. He meant, we have to BE the change. We have to live differently. Today. Now. And that means shaking off those norms and beliefs that don't serve us, don't nurture our hearts, don't feed our creative souls. We have to imagine the world As If... and act in accordance with our imaginings. That's how transformation happens.

And that's one big reason we're unschoolers: so we can BE the change.

1 comment:

  1. Found your blog quite by accident and am really enjoying it. The ice photos are wonderful! Sophiax

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