Re: DSM: Simple solution

Robert Swanson (
Fri, 15 Dec 2000 01:12:40 -0800

>From "Reflections on the Sudbury School Concept" by Mimsy Sadofsky and
Daniel Greenberg: "Your children, no matter how it seems during their most
rebellious years, are very likely to mirror the values that were modeled in
the family. In fact, modeling is the most important reason that we have
adults in a school such as ours. Students need to understand how adults live
their lives, how adults make decisions, how adults study and learn..."
And, from a student, "You pick up a certain amount of your personality from
other people...You take what you want out of it, but the whole thing does
not shape anybody. Everybody's shaped by what they pick out." (Also in
Kingdom of Childhood.)

There are two things going on -- definitely models affect us, and,
definitely there is choice. Once we have recognized choice of influence we
can begin to select from models. Maybe that model is a book or some fantasy
found through the looking glass. Maybe it is exceptional adults who have
done a lot of work evaluating their influences.

For me personally, I chose to consciously avoid descrimination but that
doesn't stop subsconcious inclinations. Actually, when I took a psych exam
for descrimation I came out against my own white race. I had no idea. I also
tested against women in science jobs. I had no idea -- my sister is an
engineer. But it makes sense that I adopted what was subtly modeled to me.
Whites model relationships that lack cooperation, and, status quo models men
in science. But what if I had spent a lot of time in a school where higher
values and higher congruent brain function were modeled?

Mimsy seems to agree that our adult models are very important influences.
Does SVS accomplish this important influence? From the student, "I think
99% of what you learn, you learn from the other kids..." 1% is not much.
When I was a kid I too loved to relate with other kids. That is where there
was freedom and creativity. My lack of interest in adults was because they
presented themselves as stiff and judgemental and fearful. I still see this
and resent it. I look for people to relate with who are fun, adventerous,
courageous, inventive and loving. I look for people of exceptional quality
who have developed their sense of self and skills in expressing that self.
Dearly do I want these models in my life. With all my heart I want to relate
on levels above the status quo fear and resentment and limitation. It is a
good thing to see what is as lacking, for only then does the possibility of
choice open for something more. With possibility opened, models can step in
to create other realities. We can begin by being those models for each other


on 12/11/00 9:49 AM, Melissa Bradford at wrote:
>> According to Pearce and the many studies he has researched, values cannot
>> be
>> taught, they are always modeled. And there is no choice but that children
>> will adopt what is modeled.
> Robert,
> If this were true, how could anyone change? In fact, how could there even
> be more than one model?
> My father modeled racism. I did not adopt those values. Some parents model
> wonderful things, but their kids still might turn out not so wonderfully.
> Some parents are horrible models, and their children turn out to be people
> of fine character. There is not a 100% correlation between bad models and
> how children turn out.
> I'm sorry, but I simply don't have time to go into all the wonderful
> interactions between adults and kids I have seen at both LVS and SVS, and
> the positive as well as negative modeling I have seen. Not everything is
> black and white. There are usually shades of grey. Students at Sudbury
> schools get to see it all, and therefore, in my experience, become very
> skilled at discriminating the positive and negative, and the shades of grey.
> I've never seen them just choose one model of behavior and simply pattern
> everything after that one model. I have seen them learn from others'
> behavior, as well as learning from their own mistakes.
> People who choose to evolve and grow, no matter what model they had as a
> child, can evolve and grow.
> I would like to respond much further, but I just don't have the time. Maybe
> later....
> Melissa, LVS

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