I will admit, many of the lifestyles choices I have made are a bit unusual when compared to the greater population of the US. And, when I have the opportunity to talk about living off-grid, using a saw dust commode, and growing and preserving much of our food, I see the look in many people's eyes that indicate they think I have gone completely 'round the bend. You know the one I am talking about.
Scanning over the last 50 years of my life (OK, I can only really recall the last 45 or so), I barely recognize the person I was even twenty years ago. Growing up, I was the child who hated school but sucked it up and did what I was told. I was, to be very blunt, a goody two shoes. My dad was a teacher (my 6th grade teacher to boot) and if I got into any trouble it would have been reported directly to him and my mom (this didn't stop my younger brother, however). I was a timid little mouse afraid of my own shadow.
To be clear, I have never liked rules and have always chafed against control and restrictions, however, I have always toed the line and done what I was told. I had an abnormal fear (dislike) of authority. No one could have guessed that I would be living the “alternative” lifestyle I enjoy today, least of all me!
Reactions to my unconventional life choices, however, don't even compare to the responses I receive when I tell people that I trust kids, all kids, explicitly. I trust that they know what they need to learn; I trust that they know how they learn best; I trust they will ask good questions; I trust they are real and honest; I trust they will respect the earth and everyone on it; I trust they will always try to do their best, and if they don't, I trust that they will own up to their mistakes and try to make things right; I trust they will go out into the world as adults, make change, do good work, and be responsible citizens of the earth.
Because, trust and faith, in the end, are what generate trustworthiness. If I child knows without a doubt that he is trusted to make good choices, he will. She will be comfortable in her own skin and will be excited to listen to others opinions, because she knows her opinion is valued and respected. If kids are able to create their own life without having to relive their parents or teachers mistakes and disappointments, they will be successful (happy) in whatever life they choose for themselves.
This confidence I extend is not just reserved for kids, however, I have a deep trust for all humanity. I believe that we are all humanitarians and when options are given, freely, people make choices and decisions that have a positive impact for others. When kindness and goodwill are extended people respond with genuine desire to help each other. I believe it goes back to our evolutionary beginnings as hominids who lived in hunter/gatherer, egalitarian societies. Our ancestors relied on each other for basic survival, and along with our ancient biological need for sweets and fats, this trait, too, has been passed through millennium to guarantee our species endurance.
The key words in all this are freedom, choices, kindness, and options, because if those four things are not present, people tend to make decisions based on their own survival and immediate needs.
Within this story and editorializing lays a request and an amazing opportunity for Deep Root Center and any other organization/individual who would like to (freely) explore the idea.
As I mentioned last week, DRC will be moving at the end of June and is actively searching for a new home. I looked at a large (5000 sq ft) space available on the second floor in downtown Canton. The space has several rooms (eleven, I believe), some with doors that close- others with arch style doorways. It has three separate entrances into a large common area with some architectural detail. The building has a non-functioning elevator; if the owner has paying tenants, he will get it fixed. There are three modern bathrooms and a kitchen without appliances. It is beautifully renovated and is ready to move in. The owner is willing to rent to several organizations/individuals who would then share the space and the cost. Details will be worked out as we determine who will be part of this collaboration.
DRC is interested in organizing this like-minded group. It could work well for someone who needs one room as an office, or an organization that has multiple needs and would be willing to share rooms and common areas with others. This space is large enough that it could accommodate a variety of options.
I am just crazy (trusting) enough to believe (strange looks and all) that there are people in our community who would be very happy and excited to be part of this exciting collaboration. If you know someone who is starting a business, has one that they would like to expand to Canton, is part of an organization that needs to find a new location, and is looking for opportunities to work with fun, outside-the-box thinkers, and awesomely creative people, please have them contact Deep Root Center for more information.
Thank you for your continued support, for spreading the word (about this and about DRC as an educational option) and for sharing your fabulous ideas with us.
We'll keep you updated on this new adventure as well as DRC's growth!