When we (here at this blog or on the unschooling lists) discuss extending the principles of unschooling into other area’s of our lives with our children, Naomi Aldort’s message is very helpful.
Naomi does not teach parents how to “get kids to be/do…” but rather how to be with children so that they are free to be their own magnificent selves. Parents say that what they get out of Naomi’s work is much more than help in parenting – they get self-realization, which frees them to see the child with clarity and wisdom.
Naomi’s Declaration of Complete Confidence in Children:
** Children respond best to modeling and leadership, not control.
** Trust… and wait.
** Choose between your momentary convenience and your long-term goal for your child’s sense of self.
** Enjoy your child for who he is, not for who you would like him to be – he will never be this age again.
** Distinguish between your emotional needs and what your child feels and needs. Act toward your child in harmony with her needs; take care of your emotional needs elsewhere.
** Celebrate your child’s uniqueness as well as your own.
I especially love her views on institutionalized schooling;
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School, Learning and Self-Esteem:
When children are represented as empty and ignorant vessels, adults brace themselves for making adults out of them. This means that they must go against the child’s inclinations and coerce him to be whoever the adult want him to be through training and teaching that is imposed and controlled by the adult.
In order to make children into the image of adults we want them to be, our society created institutions that children must go to against their will or through coercion of their will. Children who want to go to school have so totally lost their inner connection that they believe that what they want comes from inside. It doesn’t. What feels good to them is pleasing and fitting in because they have been trained to look outside and not inside.
In order to train a child to accept constant instructions and loss of freedom, society starts at birth, taking the baby away from mother, using cribs, strollers and nannies instead of constant body contact with mother and fathers. The separation continues by taking the child away from mother and from home as early as possible to daycare, preschool and kindergarten. Separating a child from its primal connection strips her of her power.
Being away from his power source, mother, the child is helpless and disconnected; she will do whatever she is told just to gain acceptance and love. She becomes needy of approval to make up for the deep pain and longing for that primal connection. In this way, the powers that see the child as material to be molded get to prove themselves right, not because it is true, but because our ways with children. The child does becomes either pliable and compliant and needing authority, or he confused, aggressive or depressed. Being forced to learn against their will, even motivation vanishes.
I am reminded of Albert Einstein’s famous words, “It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.” Indeed, some humans jump back on their feet and recover from childhood within five to twenty years. On the other hand, more often than not, people don’t recover and the culture of successful players of a game not their own gives birth to depression, aggression, dissatisfaction, addictions, food disorder and suffering.
The most extreme aspect of this way of seeing children is drugging them, which is often recommended and even enforced by the school. When a child doesn’t fit the representation he gets either a special fixing program or drugs, or both.
It is lucky that we didn’t have these toxic drugs earlier in the 20th century; Einstein was thrown out of school in Germany, and Edison’s mother was told that he is a dunce and wisely pulled him out of school. Many other leaders escaped the tyranny of school. Today, there is no way to count haw many great minds are dumbed down or drugged out or their wisdom.