Every month various blog posts from years ago get tons of hits on the DRC website. I have no idea why it happens, studying the stats is an exercise in frustration, but in any case, it has given me the opportunity to revisit some of my past writing by clicking on the most read posts each month.
As I am re-reading them, I am discovering that certain themes keep popping up. Trust, not surprisingly, happens to be one of them. It is, after all, the foundation on which our entire philosophy rests.
Many people over the years have been totally flabbergasted when they hear that I, explicitly (will always), trust kids. And, I am repeatedly informed, “but, but, but, they have to earn it.” To be utterly blunt - if I don’t trust my students, I have absolutely nothing different to offer them than the system they are already part of.
Here is the deal – when a young person understands that they don’t inherently have your trust, they will go out of their way to prove that they cannot be trusted. Every damn time! Call it whatever you like: obstinacy, defiance, rebellion, or contempt; I, however, prefer to use the expression – “the human condition.”
On the other hand, if they know, without a doubt, that you believe that they will make good choices, they will strive to meet those expectations. Yes, again - every damn time! Will they screw up every once in a while? Of course – everyone makes mistakes!
Here is the tricky part – deep inside those sometimes-disastrous failings lay enormous opportunities for growth and new understanding. Forgiveness then becomes a natural extension of your faith in them because you recognize that without that original trust, those circumstances for new exploration and discovery would be lost.
Makes your head spin to think about all the connecting pieces – I know. Simply put, kids are not inherently bad, defiant, bratty, or duplicitous. They are, in fact, brilliant sponges who soak up all the energies that surround them. Steep them in an open, positive, vibrant, trusting, and encouraging atmosphere and just stand back to watch them investigate new ideas and take on unknown challenges without fear of messing up. And, their confidence will shine brightly enough to lead them to their next learning adventure.
It is what we call - self-directed education.
We are so excited to host this Shakespeare Conquest class being offered by Juliet Bellinger. This opportunity is open to any homeschoolers who are 12 and up. Contact Juliet to register.
The Center will be closed this coming week Aug 6 – 10th. I am beyond excited to be traveling to MA for some way overdue family time - to hang out with my daughter, Kenzie, who is flying east from Portland OR, my sister, her family, and my Mom.