There always seems to be some point in our lives when we have seemingly run out of options. I'm only guessing that was the scenario for the four families who contacted me in the last four days. For the record, three of them were within 7 hours of each other on Friday. I spoke directly with two parents - one who showed up unannounced at the DRC-Canton door at 8 am Friday (while I was working on Admin "stuff" and before I had finished drinking my coffee). I also fielded a phone call (minutes after that parent left) from an advocate at a local organization that recommends us to families regularly and then, later that evening, responded to a google form consultation request.
Both parents I spoke with directly described sad, angry, and frustrated kids in crisis. And in each case, the parents felt helpless, disheartened, and fearful for their child's future. I could describe most conversations I've had with parents over the past eight years in precisely the same way. They felt like they were out of options and were feeling pretty hopeless.
We often say (sometimes provocatively) that school is optional. We really mean every desperately unhappy, anxious, and depressed kid should leave school - now. It is no longer a safe option for them.
Don't wait it out to see if they can make it to the end of the year. Don't say, "it is only a phase." Or "middle school is always rough. They need to toughen up" And, even, "if they could switch classrooms, I think they would do better with a different teacher. They were fine until this year." Treat this situation as seriously as any other life or death emergency.
Kids who join us after years of struggling - for any (and all the) reasons, often take a very long time to "deschool" (detox). To be clear, this process is exceedingly painful to watch. It may take a year or two before they completely understand that they can take charge of their education and follow their interests wherever they lead. I try to convey that the sooner they leave school, the less time that process will take.
When I say that I can get a child out of an unhappy school situation in ten minutes - that is quite literally how long it takes me to switch out names and addresses in the letter of intent (LOI) to homeschool and print it (or send it to a parent via email). The Individualized Home Instruction Plan is the next step and takes a bit more time, thoughtfulness, and an in-depth conversation with the child; however, families legally have ten days to get it to the school after sending the LOI.
This may sound like I am cavalier or unfeeling about this monumental decision. In fact, I feel deeply for every single one of these kids and their families and often carry their stories around in my heart for a while. The cultural norm of school is so deeply ingrained - I understand the difficulty of hearing the words "pull them out of school now" and the emotions they bring forward.
Ultimately, the decision to opt-out of school rests with each child and their family. I will always present Deep Root Center as an option. Because I remain steadfast in my dedication to the fundamental philosophy of non-coercion that we are founded on.
Yet, I always feel like I have failed a child when they and their family decide to stick it out in school.
On the other side, it will never get old (and I will never take it lightly) to hear a parent say, after asking me to write a letter of Intent and IHIP, "I feel like you have just lifted an enormous weight off my chest. I don't know how to thank you."
No, this is not about "scoring" more kids for DRC. I will continue to do this (as long as I can) to help as many kids in the NoCo - whether they homeschool (unschool) on their own or join us at Deep Root Center. My only goal is to help kids - who are unbearably miserable - get around the enormous obstruction (we call school) blocking their path to autonomy and authenticity - and pure awesomeness.
Scenes from Bio Lab this past week.
Weekly Creative Meditation
DRC accepts new members throughout the academic year. If you feel like you are running out of options - get in touch today.
We are still seeking vendors for Our Party in the Park on May 21st.
Also, do you know a creative or business-minded youth who would like an opportunity to sell or promote their art, products, or services? We have a special vendor fee of $10.00/space just for them. Submit an online form today and send payment to Deep Root Center in Canton.
And we are still collecting bottles and cans for the DRC-East Bottle Drive. DRC Canton at 48 Riverside Dr. is a drop-off point. Drop the bags in front of the garage. Thank you!
At birth, we each have a distinct and unique blueprint for who we are and what we are good at - built inside. That innate plan often goes awry when parents, teachers, and the culture - we are born into determines our educational path.
Children frequently feel unheard and unbearably frustrated when they realize that those who love and nurture them - ignored, didn't understand, or straight-up sabotaged their inherent genius. Mostly accomplished in the guise of, "but we know what is best for you." "This is how it has always been done." "We have to follow the rules." Or, "why can't you just fit in?"
At this point, the behaviors triggered by their resentment grow into "obstructions" to "real" learning, which initiates the traumatic experiences that determine future beliefs about learning and education. If this series of events has not happened by the age of 5 or 6, it will by the time they are 9 or 10 years old. And if not addressed, the teen years are bound to be pure hell for them - and anyone who loves them.
But, you ask, how will I know what my child's "genius" is? Quite simply - pure observation. Watch what draws their attention and what they are proficient at from a very early age. Provide resources and materials and multiple modalities for endless free play and exploration. Then sit back (get the hell out of the way) and let the magic of curiosity and the excitement of independent discovery take over. Kids will inherently solve problems and challenges when they pop up because they have not been taught to fear the inevitable mistakes derived from experimentation. Adult intervention isn't a requirement for learning. It happens naturally. And it does not turn off at the age of 4 or 5!
We see this every day. It takes practice and a fair amount of trust to provide the resources and space where kids feel safe to unleash all that creativity, inspiration, and pure joy of independence and discovery.
Agency allows for confident problem solvers who love to learn new things. When given the opportunity to follow their interests and the goals based on those interests - instead of a predetermined rigid curriculum, or society's expectations, these kids understand their place in the world. And that, ultimately, serves us all.
Scenes from this past week.
Weekly Creative Meditation
You guessed it - DRC-East fundraising activities continue to be the lead story. We are finishing up the Tastefully Simple online fundraiser today. Next up is Pampered Chef. The link will be available on the DRC & DRC-East FB pages as soon as it is up and running. We also encourage you to join the Support DRC-East FB Group.
They are also holding a bottle drive. In addition to the site on the below poster, you can drop off bags of empty and clean bottles at Barney's Wagon Wheel Bar (huge shout of thanks to them) in Malone or at DRC-Canton - 48 Riverside Drive in the driveway in front of the garage.
We are still looking for vendors and musicians for the May 21st Party in the Park. Please share this opportunity with your network.
As humans, we generally wear masks (no, not PPE) for two reasons - to hide our authenticity from ourselves or others or to change our appearance. The first is a metaphorical mask, and the second is usually theatrical - but can also be figurative.
From an early age, most of us learn to alter our essential beings to fit society's expectations, especially when we are in public. Human babies pick up seemingly invisible cues of culturally appropriate behavior. These signals are so subtle adults don't even notice they are giving them off.
And this is when we begin masking our true selves - our quirky personality, anger, empathy, sensitivity, needs, desires, and especially our neurodivergence - because we feel weird, strange, out of place, and unsafe. And that there is something radically wrong with us.
Fun fact: people assigned female at birth are far more likely to be diagnosed with dyslexia, ASD, and even ADHD later in life - simply because they are far more likely to mask the "weirdness" and behaviors associated with those labels.
This conversation is a throwback to last week's post that mentioned forcing disabled and neurodivergent folks to fit into our preconceived notions of acceptability and utility - instead of changing the world and our attitudes so everyone will be comfortable, accepted, and respected.
Eventually, our mask begins to fit so well we can trick ourselves into believing it represents authenticity because it embodies all the feelings of safety. And then it becomes affixed permanently - reflected in the stories we tell ourselves - until we are ready to consciously, with thoughtful intention, strip it away.
This can be a painfully overwhelming journey that reveals the deeply embedded scars from past trauma inflicted upon us - by others, as well as ourselves. However, that rough, pothole-filled obstacle course eventually gets you to a place where you no longer need your disguise and are accepted (by yourself and others) as you are - fallibly, awesomely, human.
It is my pleasure to spend my days unconditionally supporting young people on their path to authenticity in an environment free of judgement, bias, and coercion - where everyone is encouraged to drop their facade and be real.
This past week, during a homeschool consultation, I spoke by phone with a teen to learn more about them - what they wanted to do, and their goals for the future, so I could build their learning plan. I think they were taken aback, at first, after discovering I was open to hearing their preferred name and that I asked their pronouns up front. I think they came into the conversation expecting another adult to tell them what to do and how to be. Once we got over introductions and I asked what are you into? They were so overwhelmed with disbelief and relief, they blurted out, "so much stuff." And then they began to list them accompanied with anecdotes. We talked for over 30 minutes. I hope in that short time this young person understood that I honor and celebrate them fully as a uniquely, brilliant individual who does not need to hide behind a mask.
Weekly Creative Meditation
The latest news continues to be the DRC-East fundraising efforts.
We are also holding several online fundraisers to benefit Deep Root Center-East. Our second one is Tastefully Simple March 19th - 28th. Click the link to the Tastefully Simple ordering page.
And we are still looking for vendors for the May 21st Craft show fundraising event, as well as musicians who would be willing to share their talents for a brief time that day. Please share this opportunity with your network. Musicians can get in touch directly. Vendors can submit this google form and then send the fee to DRC-Canton.
DRC Bling is HERE - we have t-shirts (Y-M, A-M, A-L, & A-XL) with both Canton and East logos available for $15/ea., as well as bumper stickers for $2.50/ea. Let us know if you would like to order any of these items.
The anthropological concept of ethnocentrism is very real. And it was one of the first things I learned as an anthropology student. Ethnocentrism is the fundamental belief that your culture is superior in every way. This theory (as Eurocentrism) is the underlying reason for colonialism (white cultures taking over darker-skinned cultures). As a side note - it is the basis for nationalism, too.
Ethnocentrism also extends to the notion that each of us personally believes we know what is best - it is in our human nature to think that our ideas and ways of doing things - are, in essence, better than anyone else.
Deep down inside each of us, there is that whisper of superiority. You can see where this piece of our essential humanness can get us in trouble - right?
These unconscious levels of snobbery hold us all back - because as a "propagandized" society, we automatically see the other - someone who is so very different from us that we can easily find reasons to disengage and hate. Which ultimately inhibits our ability to make real change for everyone - to create the inclusive world we all desire.
Weekly Creative Meditation
The DRC-East fundraisers continues to be the top news. DRC-East currently rents, by the day, an old church in North Lawrence that is also for sale. We greatly appreciate that we have been warmly welcomed to use this historic old building. However, we want to purchase it to make it our own. Owning it would allow us to use the space more effectively and use our creative talents to personalize it. The student members also envision making it into a community cultural and creative resource center. It will be a place to invite local people to participate in artistic and educational events. Their first idea is to hold a monthly brown bag lunch film series. The resource center could also host guest speakers, live music events, and art shows.
We are currently seeking vendors for our "Party in the Park." Please complete the Google Form to secure your space.
The Thirty-one online fundraiser goes through the 18th. Next up is Tastefully Simple. Join the DRC-East FB Fundraising page to get the latest scoop.
Our world is constantly changing - progress is the act of moving forward and embracing the change. Nevertheless, fear is a powerful driver. And anxiety about the unknown is probably the most commonly expressed. I believe the current phenomenon of trying to inhibit and regulate all the "newness" of those seeking ethnic (racial), LGBTQ+, healthcare, and female equity - are most likely the result of our cultural fascination with preserving the status quo. It demands that people go to great lengths to protect it - when there is the threat of change or the loss of something they value. When we look at life from the perspective of deficit instead of abundance, the fear becomes even more real. Hoarding is just one response, as are behaviors designed to grab the attention of peers, family, or even the media.
This tug of war between new and old ways is as old as humanity. It is the reason we have generational putdowns and misunderstandings. And why our society feels so very divided right now.
But, I can also see this antagonism clearly in the teenagers I spend my days with at DRC. Their lives are especially fraught. The very definition of the teen years is - change and inconsistency. The hormonal shifts and their reach for autonomy conflict directly with their desire to crawl back into childhood where decision-making is easy (do I want to wear the blue socks or the yellow ones) - are crazy-making. They seek out self-determination and all the adult things that come with it - yet they are unsure because it is overwhelming, anxiety-inducing, and they have learned through societal training that they can't practice, because making mistakes, the intrinsic way all humans learn - is unacceptable and straight-up bad.
The most common criticisms I hear about teens are their levels of unpredictability and irresponsibility. I am sure you have seen the meme over the past couple of years, "freedom without responsibility is adolescence." Every time I see it on social media, I want to scream. First off, the expression should read, "freedom without responsibility makes you a jerk (or less polite euphemism) no matter your age." Secondly, teens are not lazy, and they don't evade accountability. They are deep thinkers, and yes they are even conscientious, community-oriented, and kind. But, yes, they can also be ruthlessly unrelenting and fearlessly galvanized when they set out to fix injustices in their world.
I spend so much of my time trying to convince the teens in my life that they are not lazy, irresponsible bums just because they are not doing the rote tasks that society expects from them. These stereotypes spread over an entire generation are the source of damage that I see every day. And when people are traumatized or fearful, they are motivated to behave in ways directly in conflict with their innate nature or intentions.
Weekly Creative Meditation
The first DRC-East fundraiser is live! Please click the link and share with your network! You can also join the DRC East Fundraising FB Group to follow the action. The person running the Thirty-One fundraiser for us is donating her entire commission! We are immensely grateful for her generosity.
Our goal with this series of fundraisers and the culminating craft show/live music event May 21st is to raise the $60k needed to purchase the church that the East Peeps are currently renting. Owning it would allow us to use the space more effectively and use our creative talents to personalize it. The East kids also envision making it into a community cultural and creative resource center. It will be a place to invite local people to participate in artistic and educational events. Their first idea is to have a monthly brown-bag lunch film series. The Resource Center could also host guest speakers, live music events, and art shows.
Stay tuned as details for all of the fundraisers, including the May 21st event, coalesce. Thank you!
"Of course," we say, smugly, both expecting and noticing the worst - the bad behavior, poor choices, and the straight-up rotten attitude. We vigilantly seek out the things other people have done wrong with a false sense of offense and overriding one-up-man ship. We obviously know best, can do better, and then judge others for their exploits and lack of good sense. Because - we know in our deepest of knowing that by pointing out the deficits, we can surely help them become better people.
Full stop. Go back and reread that paragraph. Can you honestly say you want to live in a world created with aloofness, ambivalence, uncharitable thoughts and actions, and absolutely no empathy?
Underneath the veneer of judgment, we understand that we can't change people by punishing them or drawing their attention to their negative attributes because:
On the opposite side, when we go out of our way to expect and notice the positive in other people, they will respond positively. We also understand this concept on a profoundly personal level. Think about the times someone noticed and complimented something you were doing - or offered kindness, encouragement, and support when you were struggling. It probably made you feel capable, understood, or just plain old satisfied. As humans, we all simply do better when we feel better.
This right here is my challenge to you and myself. Actively find reasons to say, "of course," because you fully expected the best - all of the creativity, curiosity, and compassion, as well as learning and growth. Let's build the world we want to live in - together - by activating the inherent strength of kindness and empathy.
Weekly Creative Meditation
DRC fundraising efforts will be kicking into high gear over the next two months leading up to a culminating event at the end of May. Please stay tuned here and on our social media as plans unfold. To increase our success, please like and follow DRC and DRC-East. Our first online fundraiser is Thirty-One, beginning March 3rd - followed by Tastefully Simple.
Our goal is two-fold - to purchase the church in North Lawrence, which DRC- East is currently renting, and to support DRC in general. You can also help these efforts by donating here and specifying what you would like your contribution to go toward - the fund to purchase DRC-East's new home or general operations. Thank you!
Both Centers will be in session this coming week following or midwinter break. You can follow our everyday exploits on both FaceBook pages as well.
Sometimes, because we are trying to be as optimistic or upbeat as possible, acknowledging the validity in those three words feels like the end of the world as we know it. But, as I have learned, by ignoring, pushing through, glossing over, or denying that unavoidable truth, I, in the end, make my life even harder.
In addition to the traumas and other regular "shit" life throws at us, we are also going on two years of dealing with a worldwide health emergency, making everything feel overwhelming - both physically and emotionally. And as per usual, the typical weather pattern of snow and ice, varied with the inevitable thaw, back to freezing again, at this time of year, is not helping the situation.
If all you want to do is stay in bed buried under a pile of quilts, with your beloved pet, snacks, and a good book - while shouting "@$#*$#*@" (choose your expletive) back at the wind that is blasting icy pellets against your window, trust me, you are not alone. Sometimes all you can do is hang on (by what feels like your fingernails), hunker down, give in to all the feelings (swear a bit), allow your mind to wander, treat yourself with all the kindness and forgiveness you offer others, plan for future explorations, and know that this season of unrelenting hardship - too shall pass.
We all understand that life is hard and that we will get knocked down occasionally - accepting it as a time to regroup and rediscover our authentic selves and trusting that all the opportunities will present themselves in time - indicates intentional growth and renewal.
We've got this! Trust yourself and the process. I'll see you on the other side.
Weekly Creative Meditation
Both Centers are closed this coming week for mid-winter break. We are working on some exciting "stuff" that will be revealed soon.
And if you missed it - DRC will have a link to weekly word game every Saturday on our FB page. Here is the one from yesterday - https://metzger.media/games/custom-word/?puzzle=52349
It is unbearably hard to write that phrase, but it is, quite simply, what we, as a society, do regularly. We use coercive and guilt-inducing techniques to force people who already feel ostracized to fit into our definition of appropriate conduct within our culture. We misunderstand behaviors and intentions by personalizing them (becoming offended) and then insisting that we know what is best for the other person based on our own lives, cultural biases, and misconceptions.
It is our discomfort, frustration, judgments, and our belief that we know best, as well as the statements, "this is how it has always been done," "we can't coddle them," or "I am just doing my job," that guide our responses. In following the rules and ticking off all the appropriate boxes - we induce additional trauma loads to those already carrying around the burdens and distress of cognitive, emotional, and physical disability, as well as childhood trauma, not to mention the cultural stress involved with exploring sexual, or gender identity and expression.
Those who live with the effects of trauma can have an overwhelming, heart stopping (or racing) anxiety attack after being exposed to what we may judge as the tiniest of provocations. It happens everywhere - at home, in schools, medical environments, and housing offices, in stores, at the dog park, or even walking down the street.
As with everything else - those panicked reactions may be lessened or avoided by taking the time to get to really know the other person - their unique beauty, genius, and valuable gifts. Empathy and compassion are the missing links to almost every misunderstanding. Make the connection - listen - express an interest in their lives - find common ground - and in doing so, you will discover another person who contributes layers of dimension and wealth to your life.
It is clear that by allowing judgment-based biases, frustration, and fear to guide our interactions, instead of understanding, we continue to traumatize the already traumatized. Which, in the end, harms us all.
Weekly Creative Meditation
The Gender Closet is set up and ready for visitors from the community. The DRC Gender Closet has clothing sorted by size and type (eg. adult pants - medium) for anyone to access. It is here for anyone who needs clothing that conforms to their gender identity and expression. Anyone from the community (especially local teens and tweens) is welcome to come to the Center M & Th from 2:30 - 3:15 to peruse the items available and take what they would like. Spread the news.
We are taking donations on a limited basis including - children's clothing, skirts & dresses, & under clothing of all types (including chest binders). Please contact us before donating anything and please launder the items first.
Our Sensory Safe Space is also finished. It is here for any of our kids who need a cozy spot to decompress for a moment or two before jumping back into the non-stop action that is DRC.
We all know that tests and exams intend to assess levels of knowledge or competency within particular subjects. However, understanding what the science says about coercive and fear-based punishment and reward systems, and the varying levels of neurodiversity uncovered as we (the scientists) delve deeper into the study of the brain, the very premise of this type of assessment is flawed, from the word "go." And as with any unsound device, the data is defective and unreliable. But why?
But you ask - If we don't use tests, how can we assess everything we need to "make sure" kids know? I believe that a complete cultural paradigm shift is required. Trusting that learning is absolutely natural and understanding that every person holds a level of brilliance - is the key.
What does that look like for the 5-18-year-old set? It involves non-coercive environments packed with resources and mentors who take the time to know each student as a unique individual. And where they have the freedom to follow their interests and curiosities to wherever they lead.
In the higher education realm, a few institutions no longer use exams and grades. For instance, Hampshire College in Amherst, MA (where both of my children attended) is project-based and uses narrative reports from the instructors at the end of each semester. But yet, it has a reputation of being academically rigorous. My son spent the last year of college writing a 100 page dissertation as his final project.
To change our fundamental cultural ideals about education towards embracing a system without tests or exams seems far-fetched. Nevertheless, I believe it is the only way to achieve authentic educational equity for every individual within our society.
The DRC mission statement articulates this concept clearly. It is our "why." At Deep Root Center (DRC), we believe that all young people deserve a safe, educational environment - where they feel like they are part of a community - and where they are free to explore all the possibilities. Learning can only happen when kids intuitively understand that they are secure, accepted, and trusted to make decisions, make mistakes, and explore all their interests to achieve their ever-evolving aspirations.
Weekly Creative Meditation
And a bonus haiku - inspired by a real-time experience this past week.
If you would like to learn more about Self-Directed Learning generally or DRC specifically, you can peruse our website at your leisure. I recommend watching the videos on the "Home" and "About Us" pages as starting points. DRC has rolling admissions - anyone can join us at anytime of the year. We are here for any child who needs us.
This past week a mental health provider sent me a Vanderbilt Assessment Scale to fill out for one of our members. Over the nearly twenty years I have worked with kids, I can assure you this is not the first one I have completed when asked (and won't be the last). I fully admit that I filled out the first few without looking at the questions with a critical eye and without considering how my answers would affect the child's life.
Then as time passed and I explored and learned more, my personal philosophy shifted dramatically into something closer to self-directed education or SDE - not progressive education (read the Peter Grey Article in the link to decipher the difference). As my foundational beliefs evolved towards the concept of unschooling, I began to scrutinize each item on the assessment and realized that it was, as a whole, crucially biased. Therefore, the data collected by the mental health professional could only be faulty.
Any evaluation scale that I have seen - assumes that whatever they are testing for is straight-up bad. Not surprisingly, on this particular scale, I consider at least 85% of the "symptoms" positive traits. The outcomes can only be skewed when the tool you are using is subjective. In the end, the one thing you have learned is the diagnosis. You know very little or nothing about the person you are assessing. How can that, ultimately, be good for them? They, along with anyone in their life, will probably only see the negative connotations of the label first.
In this most recent one that I had to fill out, I wrote in "NA" beside most of the items on the list. I refuse to rate a particular behavior as negative - that I consider beneficial. I also wrote a long explanation in the comments section - that may have extended (absolutely did) to the back of the paper.
I understand that these type of tools are helpful on some level. No, I am not a mental health professional, and, for that reason, I can't legitimately create a better device. Nonetheless, I challenge the professionals to design them better; without the perceived negative connotation of each item - being rated (or the "disorder" itself). We have so much more knowledge about neurodivergence and the way the brain works than when these tests were first developed. I see the fall-out from the harmful implications - every day. The only way to change how people regard themselves and their potential is to alter the notion that they are in some way broken.
As someone who has worked with kids for nearly two decades, I can say that instead of noticing "symptoms," we should be looking for ways to see the whole person - getting to know them in all their breathtaking uniqueness (not compartmentalizing the things we want to fix). Only then can we fully understand them and help guide them into embracing their neurodiversity and all of their pure awesomeness - toward learning and growth.
*In this post, I am focusing on the various rating scales that mental health professionals use to diagnose certain disorders. Next week I will talk about exams and other standardized testing tools used to determine the proficiency of students.
Weekly Creative Meditation
Thankful for Community Opportunities
We are grateful that the Canton Rec. Dept. has created an open skate opportunity for DRC and other homeschooled kids in the community every Tuesday and Thursday at 10 am (except for this coming week because CCS Phys. Ed. classes will be there). DRC kids (Canton and sometimes East) plan on being there every Tuesday morning. Our kids had a great time this past week.
Sensory Safe Space
As you can see, the Sensory Safe Space at Canton is coming together with an eclectic cast of characters painted on the walls.
DRC Gender Clothing Closet
The Social Justice class is also in the process of creating a Gender Clothing Closet in Canton. We have clothing sorted by size, not gender, for any student to borrow for the day or take home for good. The kids would like to open this up to the larger community. As it comes together, stay tuned for DRC Social Media Posts addressing the logistics.
Leadership is often confused with bossiness. A leader intentionally creates safe, supportive environments where the mission is clear, and people feel comfortable enough to be themselves and then generate and bring forward innovative ideas. Along with not coercing people - a leader models the basic concept of taking responsibility and expects that their team will too.
In addition, a leader will:
A boss will: well, do the opposite of most of those things, and on top of that, usually micro-manages everyone and everything to the point of frustration.
We all know a few leaders and have had the misfortune of working with (for) some bosses. I try hard to be the person described within the top list. I freely admit, some days, I am way more successful than others.
My role extends far beyond being an employer - I try to follow the same protocol for all of "my kids," the members of DRC. My greatest wish is that they each feel trusted and supported to become innovative, kind, intuitive, fun, and responsible leaders in their own right.
Weekly Creative Meditation
Both Centers are implementing Sensory Safe Spaces. The one in Canton already has large cushions and fleece throws, a weighted blanket, noise-canceling headphones, and a basket full of fidget toys.
These are cozy spots designed to be safe places for kids to chill out or de-stress whenever they feel overwhelmed or anxious.
A local supporter has sourced (searched for and purchased) a beanbag for us and will bring it by this week to upgrade the cushions (Thank you, Anna). We will also need one for the North Lawrence space. If you have one that your family no longer uses, please consider getting in touch & passing it on to us. We will put it to good use. Thank you!
I am a writer. Nearly every week for at least eight years, I have written a blog post, and the last few have included a creative meditation in the form of a haiku. You will also find a children's book floating around on Amazon - that I wrote and self-published many years ago. And there is a follow-up book that has yet to be illustrated and published. I have also come to love graphic design (thank you, Canva) and dedicate many of my evenings to generating social media posts and website content. In addition, Fashion Design was my first degree, and I also like to paint (mainly trees) and cook. I don't often question the how, what, or where of inspiration. It seems to always appear in the right place at the right moment, and I have finally begun to trust that it will.
Whether you claim to be a creative person or not, our brains are constantly working on something (many things), way down in the depths, where all the scary, innovative shit hides out until it is ready to make a grand entrance. And I always know that mine is working overtime down there when I am super distracted, forgetful, and over-the-top spacey. I sometimes worry about early on-set dementia when I find myself trying to remember if I had done routine tasks. Did I take my thyroid med, or do my eye drops? (It was getting so bad that I set reminders on my phone.) Did I put salt (or herbs) in the tomato sauce already? Or, when leaving the Center - did I turn down the heat, lock the backdoor, and put the stool in front of the kitchen cabinet so Digby Doo Cat can't get under the sink?
I have always believed that mindfulness is a fantastic ideal to aspire to - except it is often involuntarily drowned out with a deluge of fresh, unconventional, original, and sometimes obsessive thoughts tangentially related to whatever I am working on at the moment.
Creativity works differently for everyone and sometimes in various ways for each of us. Over time, I have discovered, the essential piece for me (usually), no matter how the inspiration first appears, is to keep my fingers on the keyboard. It is the same for painting, working with fabric, or cooking - I am very tactile - I have to feel it (taste it) and, most importantly, play with it.
The other thing I have learned is that I can not force innovation. When an idea is not fully ready to be expressed - no amount of trying (external coercion) will influence (compel) it to completion. If I don't allow for the quiet spaces where inspiration develops, steeps, and brews and then make space to play with it in real-time - all that delightfully, juicy ingenuity will dry up.
Intrinsic motivation is firmly bound up in the satisfaction of following your creative energies to a where ever they take you - whether it be a finished product or simply the joy of the experience.
That is the foundation where self-directed educational philosophy firmly sits. No matter where inspiration originates for you - it can, ultimately, only be controlled by you.
PS - My husband, Mike, is in a creative musical space. I am proud to share this original song that he's been working on this past week. Watching him take a deep dive into the creative process partially inspired this post.
Weekly Creative Meditation
DRC offers consultation services to help families navigate the legalities of homeschooling. Many families who are intimidated by the process seek our help - and in many cases, if they didn't, their kids who desperately want to leave school would not be able to. We are here to help in any way we can. Click here for more info.
DRC-East is seeking donations to purchase the church they are now renting. If you can help, please contribute here. And add a note in the comment section for how you would like it to be used. Stay tuned for information about a fundraising event they are planning in May. They will be seeking vendors, food trucks, and musicians.
There is irrefutable scientific evidence that being under stress and feeling fearful make it harder to do just about everything. It becomes nearly impossible to think, be creative, and problem-solve - your brain feels like it is short-circuiting. You can't remember anything (for shit). You become uncoordinated (for some of us, that spells disaster because we are exceedingly clumsy on a good day). Everything seems to take ten times longer than it should.
But yet, as a society, we insist on using coercion, along with punishment and reward, to force people to do what we want them to. The disconnect is astonishing.
Therefore, most kids I meet have (at the very least) an anxiety diagnosis and are so tightly wound they are convinced that they are screwing up something - everything - all the time. They are deathly afraid to try anything new for fear of not understanding it or messing it up.
As a result, I present an (over the top - exaggerated) open, receptive, calm (easy-breezy) demeanor in every interaction. Along with our laid-back, homey, comfortable environment, where most requests are met with "yes, of course," it is their first clue that DRC is different - a place where they can relax, let their guard down, and be their authentic selves.
We try to provide opportunities that are easily accessible and fit within that child's interests - that are always optional. We give them space to sit by themselves, work on something independently (checking in every once in a while to see if they need anything), or join a group activity - with no external expectations.
Kids feel the difference almost immediately. Visually, you can see their shoulders come down, their facial muscles loosen, their eyes widen with a bit of confusion (and curiosity). You can see the thoughts racing through their brain - Is this (she) for real? What is the catch? Wait, I can literally do anything - with no judgment?
I watch kids get totally involved in tasks they may have never tried - losing themselves in the joy of free choice. And (as I have said many times before), when a kid looks at me and asks, "can I ...?," and I answer, "yes, go for it" - it is the precise moment I know that they understand, deeply, they are in charge of their education and life.
It really is that simple. Trusting kids to take a deep dive into their interests and curiosities is how education is supposed to work. There is no coercion and no sticks and carrots. Only a space filled with resources, creative energy, and kind, fully supportive mentors and guides where kids are given free rein to relax, take it easy, explore all the possibilities they can possibly imagine, and develop aspirations for their future.
Weekly Creative Meditation
I think we often forget that anything we want to learn is readily accessible to any of us. We no longer need an expert who holds all the information to disseminate it and interpret it for us. The Resource page on the DRC website is a good place to find a few resources to start exploring the things that interest you (whether you are a kid - or not).
The DRC- East crew is starting a gaming club. They are looking for a used X-Box. If you have an old one you would be willing to donate, please get in touch.
If making good decisions is the backbone of creating a successful life, what happens to those who don't have good options to choose from? As a society, we judge every decision made by people who live in circumstances we can not even imagine. Part of this judgment is confusion around the definitions and usage of the words privilege, entitlement, and freedom. (All from the Apple dictionary.)
Privilege - a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group
Entitlement - the fact of having a right to something
Freedom - the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint
Culturally, individual entitlements are clearly determined and delineated by the circumstances of our birth (ethnicity, gender, and status), especially in our Capitalistic society.
For those who know me (or have read this blog for a while), you will not be surprised to learn that I believe everyone is entitled to a basic level of privilege.
None of these things should be determined by birthright or the amount of money you have. Let me be perfectly clear - you are not, in fact, entitled to more than anyone else simply because you have more. Additionally, the pursuit of your individual freedoms does not allow you to hurt or disregard anyone else.
The basic fact that these things are all current reality - is a massive failure of all humanity. As is our misplaced blame. Our "judgy" statements do not help those who live in dire circumstances. They are in that place not because of the decisions they have made - but because they have not had the options afforded those with wealth.
Freedom to live comfortably without fear while learning and growing is everyone's birthright - recognize your privilege and use it wisely. Because - every time you choose your rights over someone else's, you hurt us all.
Weekly Creative Meditation
Happy New Year from the entire DRC Crew!
We will happily be back in person this coming week after our Holiday Break. Our schedules of sessions are still being adjusted. Once we hear from all of our members as to what they want to include - the Google Calendars for both Centers will be available on our website.
DRC membership is rolling. If your child is unhappy in their educational environment - please get in touch. We can help - right now.
"At DRC, we understand that your kid may not be into school. Or - that school is no longer serving your child. We also get that you know they would thrive in the right environment. We trust that each young person will lead the way in working together to create that environment from scratch." Because - "At Deep Root Center (DRC), we believe that all young people deserve a safe, educational environment where they feel like they are part of a community - and where they are free to explore all the possibilities."
And - if you feel compelled to start your year off by contributing to our work - find the donation button here. Thank You!
We have all heard this statement at some point in our lives - followed quickly by, "There is nothing I can do." We all know what they really mean is, "I am just doing my job. I have a set of restrictions and guidelines to follow, predetermined by a higher authority, that have nothing to do with you or me - and everything to do with control."
These rules are generally not safety measures nor are they set for anyone's best interest. They are standards that have no basis beyond regulating compliance to (frequently outdated) culturally accepted practices.
I have found over the last eight years that people are utterly astonished when they hear me say, "yes, I can help, and this is what we can do." I find it equally confounding and gratifying, with a tiny bit of embarrassment thrown in, that those simple words can bring so much relief and gushing gratitude.
I propose a new set of standards:
Weekly Creative Meditation
Thank you to all of the families who have shared their stories and have trusted our guidance and philosophy over these past eight years. You and your children are the reason we continue to make it our jobs to challenge and then redefine cultural norms.
Wishing you all a blessed and Happy New Year filled with joy and worthwhile work.
I would guess that many people ask themselves this question before taking any test or class. And when you consider the underlying cultural purpose of exams and grades - this question is clearly the correct one to ponder.
When we use tests or grades to determine whether the students have learned the content of classes or have met specific conditions to move forward (ticked off the correct boxes), we as a society are negating the worth of a good portion of our population. I mean, we literally use a ranking process to determine where a person stands within the system and, ultimately, society.
Yes, a few folks are naturally great test-takers (good at memorizing, regurgitating, and knowing what the teacher expects) and will always rise to the top. There is a reason for that old expression - "cream of the crop." The grand quest for 4.0 is the determining factor in how they feel about themselves and, sometimes, how they rate others in comparison to themselves. (I know this because I was one of those people.) They wrap themselves in the esteem of high grades and expect (usually correctly) that their 4.0 will open all the doors.
I will also argue that those natural test-takers, for the most part, come from an advantaged portion of the population: they have had few (if any) traumas in their lives, have a place to call home, know where their next meal is coming from, and do not have to worry about the basic necessities of life. People expect them to do well - simply because of their family name and where they originate (the "right" side of the tracks). Additionally, their learning disabilities are discovered early, and interventions are provided quickly. This practice is opposed to a large proportion of the student population who have to fight tooth and nail to receive official diagnoses and accommodations.
There is little or no classroom flexibility for anyone who:
This culturally approved educational philosophy provides an environment for unhealthy competition and bullying and compounds the current rates of anxiety, distrust, fear, and anger. Ultimately, we have an unimaginative, depressed, disengaged, disconnected population that hates learning, is disenfranchised from the system, and, most importantly, mistakenly understands that they are not good enough.
Tragically, we continue to lose our brightest, most creative minds to a system that fails to recognize their pure and absolute brilliance - which defies measurement with a simple exam or grade.
Weekly Creative Meditation
Thank you again to everyone who has contributed to the DRC annual funding appeal. This is your reminder that there are less than two weeks left to get your charitable donations counted in your 2021 tax filing. Please consider donating to Deep Root Center. You can honor a loved one or tell us why you are contributing in the comment section of the Donor Box.
DRC provides consultation services to families who want to begin homeschooling but do not want to become members of the Center. We have had so many requests for consultations these past few weeks - that we have developed a Google Form to streamline this service. If you know someone who desperately wants to homeschool but is intimidated by the process, please guide them to the consultation page on our website.
Best wishes for a Happy Solstice and Merry Christmas to those who celebrate from the entire DRC Crew!
Total impact is a section found on most grant applications or referenced in queries from potential donors. And it is a question I find myself honestly struggling to answer every damn time. Do they simply mean, how many kids do we serve, along with how many people do we employ? Or, maybe it means, what impact do we have on those individual kids? Or, it could even be, what are the ramifications of our presence within the community as a whole? I understand they are looking for quantification to justify any amount of money they may direct our way. Nonetheless, in most cases, our impact is decidedly intangible and unquantifiable, and, as usual, does not fit into any of their tidy little boxes.
I mean, really, how do you measure the impact of:
Because we don't use grades, a specific curriculum, or rubrics, the total impact of what we do every day may look minimal to those unaccustomed to our methodology and philosophy - until we re-imagine the metrics used to indicate improvements in confidence, engagement, and mental health. It is pretty much impossible to calculate the value of smiles, new friendships, warmth, trust, understanding, self-assurance, purpose, and personal dreams. Additionally, we may never realize the influence each fully appreciated, supported, and celebrated individual has on their family or community.
Weekly Creative Meditation
This coming Thursday is the last day before the Winter Break for both Centers. We will each have a Holiday party - DRC-East has a two-day "shindig" planned. We will share Secret Santa gifts (for those who choose to participate), games, stories, and treats that we will make together.
I have postponed my shoulder surgery to this Spring - after we finish our Academic year. There were too many things pointing to holding off. One of which was the stress of trying to shove a 2-3 week advised recovery period into exactly two weeks (and the inconvenience of winter, overall).
Thank you to everyone who has already donated to our annual funding appeal. If you have not yet, please consider contributing and sharing your reasons with your network. The only way we have to show our impact on the community is by continuing our work, and we can not do that without our community's financial support.
Here is a short list of what we should, as a society, be modeling and caring about:
I am in equal parts - angered, saddened, and horrified that we live in a world that mostly ignores how (and where) these essential and complex concepts are developed but fully supports the ridiculously obtuse notions modeled within our educational system. And to be clear, when I hear that a school official is concerned that a student's individual education plan does not include the NYS curriculum, I have to wonder if they even understand what they are measuring with that rigid, finite, unimaginative, competition based curriculum. Or if they are even worried about supporting that student or simply want to sustain the system.
Weekly Creative Meditation
We are deeply grateful that our Annual Funding Appeal is reaching folks who have never donated before. If you have not already, please consider contributing to Deep Root Center here or you can send a check to 48 Riverside Drive, Canton, NY. Every dollar goes towards supporting "our" kids.
DRC-East is booming! Last week we added five(!) new members! They are grateful to have their new space at the "Life in his Arms Community Church" and would like to make it permanently theirs. You can help by contributing to the Go-Fund-Me set up to purchase it.
And DRC-East sends a huge thank you to Becky and Glen Webster for donating a case of potato chips and a $200 GC to Webster's Meat Shop. They are excited to have fresh meat to cook for their lunches.
If we broke everything down that we do daily at DRC, you would see the very essence of our work comes down to one thing - dreams. We support and encourage young people reach beyond their anxiety, sadness, or even apathy to recognize and understand that it is possible to have aspirations because:
While orchestrating all the above, we also have a few dreams of our own, including:
If you, too, dream of all children having access to a place where they are free to be themselves, can express their brilliance and creativity, and where they are encouraged to explore all the possibilities - please consider becoming involved with Deep Root Center. You can:
Dreaming is powerful; hope is essential, and faith is potent. Nonetheless, it is beneficial to remember that getting the job done - requires the vision and strength of many people, contributing and working hard, together, toward the goal. Thank you for dreaming along with us.
Weekly Creative Meditation
It wasn't until fairly recently that I began to question the basic premise of the Thanksgiving Holiday. Like most other points of World history, it has been whitewashed and otherwise sanitized into a more palatable and easily digestible narrative for general consumption. What a great way to teach young children about cooperation and sharing without traumatizing them with the realistic concepts of genocide, Manifest Destiny, colonialism, and Eurocentrism. #sarcasm!
In any case, despite its misleading beginnings, this blog is not about the blatantly falsified set of historical facts we have all learned through our years of sitting in compulsory Social Studies classes in school. It is, however, about the actual name of the holiday - Thanks Giving.
This year we have an eight-year-old who seems perpetually discontented, displeased, annoyed, and frustrated. This kids' rotten mood tends to hover wherever he has been within the Center, infecting those who are also in the room.
Several weeks ago, after taking the kids' temp at the door and noting it in our COVID log, I asked if they would consider a daily exercise with me before joining any other activity. They agreed. I quickly explained the idea of gratitude. How positive circumstances are attracted to positive emotion in the same way that negative is drawn to negative.
They seemed to grasp the concept. I then asked them to name two things that they were thankful for right at that moment. They struggled. I asked if they would like some examples. They nodded - so I started to list several things that I was grateful for that day - before I got to the third item on my list, they interrupted with one of their own. After they gave two, I said, "OK, this is fantastic. We can do this every day as you come in. We will post it right here on the cork board hanging next to my desk and call it your gratitude list." They interrupted me again, before I could finish - asking if they could name a third thing. To which I responded, "of course!"
Has this exercise worked entirely? No - this child is still pretty gloomy a good portion of the time. Nevertheless, they are more cognizant of that mood and its effect on others when gently brought to their attention. And in doing so, we can often elicit a few giggles.
I have discovered over my 57 years, and through lengthy periods of my own doom and gloom, that thankfulness and gratitude are the keys to contentment and joyfulness - those elusive emotions we try to grasp extrinsically through stuff and our expectations of others. If I can share these ideas of expressing appreciation with kids at a young age, maybe they will begin to recognize the joy found within the smallest blessings within themselves. And then share it with others. I have faith that one child at a time, who feels happiness and serenity through the act of giving thanks - we will eventually spread a new way of being in this world.
Weekly Creative Meditation
On the subject of gratitude - thank you to everyone who has contributed so far to my Facebook Birthday Fundraiser and the DRC annual Funding Appeal. You have heard us say it many times - every child deserves a safe, supportive, educational environment where they are free to be themselves within a supportive community that belongs to them. Your contributions make it possible for us to provide that place for anyone who seeks it out.
Thank you to my brother, Pete, founder of RelHemp for telling me about Linktr.ee. You can find all of DRC's important links here.
Please share the funding appeal within your network. Thank you!
And best wishes to everyone setting aside time this week to share expressions of gratitude with family and friends.
This past Wednesday, as I was driving home from North Lawrence (after helping to move all of the DRC-East "stuff" to their new facility), the word surprise, along with a picture of my baby, Kenzie sitting on my living room couch - flashed onto my phone screen. What? How? All the questions sped through my mind.
They could not believe that I was surprised. You see, I am, by my very nature extremely hard, to catch unaware - when it comes to anything like this.
Surprises, by their very definition, are things that seemingly spring from nowhere. They can be amazingly wonderful or seriously dreadful. Few fall in between those two extremes. I have learned that it is how I respond to the unpleasant shocks that will determine how I ultimately deal with them - both emotionally and outwardly.
When I react to them with frustration, anger, and disappointment, they seemingly grow to an unwieldy, unbearable size that completely overwhelms all my senses.
If I can view them from a perspective of curiosity and adjust to problem-solving mode almost immediately, I can accept whatever it is much more quickly and move on.
To be clear, both of the above scenarios have been present in my life as of late. Even with the understanding that positive begets positive, I fall into the trap of reacting with despair and "why me's" way more than I care to admit.
Here is wishing that all of your surprises are pleasant - but if they are not, that you will be able to respond with inquisitiveness, creativity, love, and kindness.
Weekly Creative Meditation
Both Centers will be open in person again this week! We are so excited to see all of our Peeps again.
DRC-East is now located at 1952 St. Hwy 11C in North Lawrence in the Life in His Arms Community Church. Thanks to the help of a few kiddos and their families, we moved everything from the old space last Wednesday. They are excited to hop back into all of the projects and activities they had begun early in the year.
DRC has a few potential opportunities for fundraising and general development. One: DRC is seeking folks who appreciate our work, may have fundraising, grant writing, or networking skills, and would be excited to join our board of directors. Two: We are investigating the potential of putting together several pieces of a puzzle that will enable us to purchase the church that DRC-East is now renting. We are seeking funding, but also people who can help with the entire endeavor. Please get in touch with Maria to learn more about either of these opportunities.
Our annual appeal is below. If you have not already, please consider contributing to our work. Thank you!
I have discovered that, for the most part, people are insanely grateful to hear "yes," in response to a request. Only because they are so accustomed to experiencing all the "nos."
My question is, why, as a society, do we automatically go to "no," when we know that the affirmative brings with it positive results.
Student members, parents, and staff at Deep Root Center learn very quickly that I will say "yes," to most requests, sometimes with the caveat, "we don't do that (have that) now, but we can figure it out - together."
Again, I ask, why would you say "no," when "yes," inspires creativity, innovation, self-motivation, confidence, conviction, connection, and engagement every damn time.
Oh, trust me, I totally understand that a "yes" often means - more work, more mess, and much more overall hassle; nonetheless, it is utterly worth seeing the smiles and the engaged connectivity where there was formerly none. And the willingness to work harder toward a common goal because they understand that someone trusts them - explicitly and without question.
Weekly Creative Meditations
There seems to be an abundance of news this week. Firstly, we are excited to announce that Angie, Nic, and the DRC-East Crew have found a new home at the "Life in His Arms Community Church" in North Lawrence. We will be renting - but hope to buy the property in the next several months. It combines all of the requirements we would want in a facility including: a commercial kitchen and full ADA compliance, to be the perfect space for us. An enormous thank you to Pastor Belle for agreeing to rent the space to us until we can raise the funds to purchase it.
Secondly, in an abundance of caution, the Canton Center had to close this past week until Nov. 15th due to a positive COVID case. We take our kid's and staff's safety very seriously.
Thirdly, Nic, our DRC-East apprentice, is looking to get a subscription to MineCraft Realms for all of our kiddos. This is just one opportunity to sponsor specific subscriptions. You will find our Funding Appeal below or click here to go to the Donation page. You can specify what you would like your contribution to go towards in your message to us. Find Nic's message below -
We are looking for a sponsor to help fund a Minecraft Realms server! This would allow students to connect with friends in a virtual world and show off creativity in a virtual setting with their peers. Every month there will be a building prompt for the students, and the buildings that follow said prompt they complete will be "screenshotted" for social media to show how creative all of us can be. If you're willing to help, all we need is $96/year or $8/month to keep a creative space for students flourishing and functional. Thank you for your time, and we hope you have a wonderful November! - Nic
DRC Funding Appeal
One day this past week, a staff person and I met to talk about strategies for working with one of our kiddos. They referred to their Autistic Spectrum diagnosis as their "disability" - as a starting point of the conversation. The reference pertained directly to the similar challenges they share. The child we were discussing exhibits behaviors consistent with ASD but does not have the official label.
The staff person's self-identification bothered me - they clearly see themselves as broken. I don't consider them disabled. I, however, do view them as a valuable contributing member of our team - with skills and talents that others of us do not have. They are someone who has immense potential working in a self-directed education environment.
I had another conversation with a staff person also diagnosed with ASD - later in the week. They adamantly refuse to be defined by their diagnosis. They simply think of themselves as a brilliantly creative person who happens to be on the Spectrum.
I don't know why one feels damaged, while the other feels empowered. Nonetheless, these conversations led me to think about the kids we work with and their convictions about themselves. Some are diagnosed with various disorders, and others are not. But - most have experienced mixed levels of trauma and believe they are defective in some way.
They don't recognize their charm, wit, genius, creativity, kindness, wisdom, or the other numerous positive traits I see. They can only experience their brokenness. And they adopt identities and behaviors that are consistent with their narrative, not their true nature.
At this point, my levels of frustration are boiling over. I want to help kids understand they aren't damaged goods, and whatever they have experienced in the past does not define them as human beings. Nevertheless, I have to remember it will take time and patience. I fully believe with unconditional love and support, accessible information, and most importantly, modeling, these kids will take back their stolen identities and embrace their superpowers.
Weekly Creative Meditation
We should know later today whether we can rent the new space we have identified for our DRC-East Center. Stay-tuned!
In other news, Nic, our DRC-East apprentice has taken the original DRC logo and created one using colors the kids chose, that represent many of their native heritage.
Discomfort is an excellent indicator that something isn't quite right. Yes, actual physical pain is an evolutionary response to those things that we should absolutely, without question, get away from as fast as we can. It will hurt - badly!
However, pulling away from something that feels uncomfortable is often an emotional reaction based purely on fearfulness. As a result, when we detect those initial twinges, we back away from the feelings instead of slowly and carefully exploring the whys. Or even poking around at the whats and hows, with positive intent - asking:
The kids I meet are often fearful of trying out new things - whether it is an unfamiliar activity, food, or even an idea. I have discovered that their fear comes from either a previous (or ongoing) trauma or a closely held worldview, possibly inherited from their family. In the end, both completely stop them from exploring the possibilities.
Considering Explore the Possibilities is our (literal) tagline, how do we work around these inhibitions? And, how can we support them to find the things that will change their perceptions of the world and their personal outcomes?
I will always maintain that it is easier to affect change for younger kids. Nevertheless, providing a comfortable, non-coercive environment filled with resources and materials - shared with people who model expressions of joy, gratitude, love, kindness, and have expectations for respectful behavior - is a perfect beginning point. Children and teens are more likely to lean into the discomfort of change and connect with the people around them when they feel supported and comfortable enough to investigate the above questions and then take control of all the answers on their own terms.
Weekly Creative Meditation
We are exploring some potential (exciting) options for DRC East. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, DRC is here in Canton and Lawrenceville for any child who feels like they are not supported to be their best selves by their current school environment. We have rolling membership, which means any child in the NoCo is welcome to join us at any point during the academic year. Contact us today.
And, a huge shout of thanks to the SLU crew who came out for Make a Difference Day to rake the DRC Canton yard and do a deep clean inside.
Productivity, I find, is a judgment call based on each of our personal experiences and is often overrated. No one can determine what is valuable or beneficial for someone else - not how they spend their time, the thoughts they generate, or what manifests from those ideas.
Self-motivation is born from the innate desire to learn - no amount of external criticism, inducement, or punitive action will instigate it. Additionally, when children are in coercive and controlling environments or relationships, they lose the ability to self-regulate and make decisions. It also destroys their natural curiosity and insatiable thirst to explore their world.
For me, practical productivity requires the quiet and (often) dormant spaces filled with the humus of previous generations of creativity, where my brain has free rein to wander (get lost), test out theories, and play!
Weekly Creative Meditations
Student members in both DRC Canton & Lawrenceville are taking on several Social Justice issues related to populations of people traditionally facing discrimination. One nine-year-old is passionate about the injustices practiced at the Indian Boarding (Residential) Schools and the bodies they are finding at those schools. She, with the help of Angie, and a couple of other kids, created and installed this memorial to honor them at the Canton Center. Stay tuned for future projects from the Social Justice Classes.
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