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Unchool: Joy, Love, and Unschooling... - Page 3

post #41 of 91
I'm not trying to say it is dishonest. It's just that since I can't personally relate to it, it feels dishonest. I understand that I don't understand everything in the world or every approach to life. It just confounds me personally because I can't in any way relate to it.
post #42 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity View Post
It sounds like people are saying the shiny-happy people are not being genuine. That they are obviously ignoring all the problems they MUST have and not being honest. I don't get it? Why do you insist they must have hard struggles and issues and can't possibly really be that happy?

.
I interpret things differently.

I do not think the shiny-happy people are being un-genuine, nor do I think they are ignoring things or in denial.

I simply think it is unhelpful to point out your shiny-happiness when someone is asking for help - particulalry if it is not backed up with anything more substantial.

Let's say I am struggling with an issue. If you point out that you are blissfully happy in that area - with no further discussion, it is not particualrly helpfull.

If you say you are blissfully happy in this area - and this is why and how you got that way - that is more meaningfull.
post #43 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by annakiss View Post
I'm not trying to say it is dishonest. It's just that since I can't personally relate to it, it feels dishonest. I understand that I don't understand everything in the world or every approach to life. It just confounds me personally because I can't in any way relate to it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
I interpret things differently.

I do not think the shiny-happy people are being un-genuine, nor do I think they are ignoring things or in denial.

I simply think it is unhelpful to point out your shiny-happiness when someone is asking for help - particulalry if it is not backed up with anything more substantial.

Let's say I am struggling with an issue. If you point out that you are blissfully happy in that area - with no further discussion, it is not particualrly happy.

If you say you are blissfully happy in this area - and this is why and how you got that way - that is more meaningfull.
Oh Ok, I see what you guys are saying, that makes sense.
post #44 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
Here's an example of the kind of thing I'm referring to: a mother has a 5 year old who wants to be carried everywhere. The mother has a bad back and finds carrying the child to be painful. She posts looking for advice about how to get her child to agree to walk, and is told that one day she will look back and long for the time when her child wants to be carried, and so she should just ignore the pain and continue to carry her child. And add a heavy sprinkling of guilt about how terrible the child must feel that his mother is not willing to give him what he needs.

I'm not quoting a real post, just the kind of thing I was seeing.
Wow. I guess I've never seen something like that.

And yet, if you remove the part about ignoring the pain, I do see some helpful stuff in there. I've always found it helpful to try and see things from the kids' point of view. In this case, trying to understand how the child feels would make me feel more gentle towards the demands to be carried. Not that I would carry the child and harm my back further, just that I'd be more understanding of the child's position. I wouldn't find that guilty-inducing.

Tone and interpretation leave a lot of room for difficulties.



Quote:
Originally Posted by annakiss View Post

I'm beginning to think that this is just a difference in personality. I am deeply motivated by a shared experience. The challenges I face highlight the challenges that others face. When my son was born with a cleft lip, for instance, I was very upset about it, but I constantly felt bad about feeling upset about it because I knew that things could be so much worse, that other parents the world over face exponentially more difficult challenges. I lost the guilt, but it highlighted for me that my struggle in fact draws attention to, sympathy with, and eventually action for the struggles of others.
Well, I'm glad I'm sitting down, I think we might agree on something.

Various difficulties and challenges have brought me together with others and inspired me to take action. I've felt bad about stuff, but not bad about feeling bad. I tend to do whatever crying/yelling/mourning I need to do and then move on. There is always someone who is worse off--it doesn't make our pain any less real or less needing of attention. The realization that it could be much worse, and thankfulness (for lack of a better word) that it isn't worse, is what gives me the energy to go ahead.


Quote:
Originally Posted by annakiss View Post
I'm not trying to say it is dishonest. It's just that since I can't personally relate to it, it feels dishonest. I understand that I don't understand everything in the world or every approach to life. It just confounds me personally because I can't in any way relate to it.
I think in this whole thread it's the idea of dishonesty that bothers me the most. I can't personally relate to your way of thinking, but I wouldn't dream of saying it feels dishonest to me. It's a hot-button word, yk?
post #45 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by SagMom View Post
Well, I'm glad I'm sitting down, I think we might agree on something.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SagMom View Post
Various difficulties and challenges have brought me together with others and inspired me to take action. I've felt bad about stuff, but not bad about feeling bad. I tend to do whatever crying/yelling/mourning I need to do and then move on. There is always someone who is worse off--it doesn't make our pain any less real or less needing of attention. The realization that it could be much worse, and thankfulness (for lack of a better word) that it isn't worse, is what gives me the energy to go ahead.
I think feeling bad about feeling bad was perhaps the wrong way of putting it. I mean what you said. I don't really have a lot of guilt over other people having it worse. I just feel like, "what am I whining about?" sometimes. You're right that it doesn't make it any less real, though. That's what I was trying to say, really.




Quote:
Originally Posted by SagMom View Post
I think in this whole thread it's the idea of dishonesty that bothers me the most. I can't personally relate to your way of thinking, but I wouldn't dream of saying it feels dishonest to me. It's a hot-button word, yk?
Maybe unfamiliar would be a better term? So unfamiliar as to cause me to feel doubtful of the validity. I feel like saying, "really?!? Really?!?"

I walk around with my thoughts (and emotions) on my sleeve. Everything is a puzzle to me. There's none a' this: : Or rather, not a lot. Or maybe there is. I'm just so serious about so much that it doesn't feel like that. I probably look like that a lot. But man, I walk around with my buttons pushed (as someone recently explained to me) and I'll debate you into the ground over just about anything. Don't know if that makes sense yet.
post #46 of 91
While I enjoy being a parent and helping my family get what they need to thrive, I don't exactly 'clean joyfully'. Oh, I might have when they were teeny. I love changing diapers for instance. I really did. lol

Realistically, however, I wouldn't find joy in cleaning if I felt I was the only one doing it. It can be tedious and boring. I think it's perfectly wonderful to help everyone in a family learn that it's not one person's responsibility to pick up. My family would know I'd lost it if I said, "Oh, I happy to do 6 loads of laundry daily! I simply don't mind if you leave the acrylic paint stains to dry on the dinning room table. I am the one who values Grandma's antiques, after all. Sweetheart, I know you didn't ask to be born, so I am happy pick up all the dirtly dishes you leave in your wake. I especially enjoy it when the refried beans are so hard on a plate it takes a chisel to clean them. It challenges me!" (Which is where some people chime in with :Leave them to soak in hot water in the sink! It's no big deal!).

I also don't go for 'But since you like it clean and nobody else minds a mess, then you should do it". Hardly anyone, fi, enjoys flies everywhere. And even if one does enjoy flies, fi, they still carry disease and few people enjoy being sick. I don't think family members should believe it's fair to have one person be the only one invested in keeping the flies and bed bugs at bay.

Of course, if one does find joy in keeping the home clean alone, I'm perfectly fine with that. But the assumption that all of us should suck it up and find joy in cleaning alone is where I have issues. Some folks get joy from picking up after everyone and cleaning up alone, and some don't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity View Post
It sounds like people are saying the shiny-happy people are not being genuine. That they are obviously ignoring all the problems they MUST have and not being honest. I don't get it? Why do you insist they must have hard struggles and issues and can't possibly really be that happy?

I guess I haven't seen the kinds of things you guys are talking about, the dismissing of problems. I don't see saying "I clean joyfully" as dismissive, I do see it as a real way to handle things. If I don't like doing laundry, I find a way to enjoy it. That's the solution.
post #47 of 91
[QUOTE=annakiss;13947845

Maybe unfamiliar would be a better term? [/QUOTE]

I'm cool with that.

Quote:
So unfamiliar as to cause me to feel doubtful of the validity.
ACK, not cool with that. I think we each know our lives better than anyone else. I might look at someone else's life and think I couldn't possibly be happy in their shoes, (I've done the, "really?!? Really?!?" thing also.)
but if THEY say they're happy, why should I doubt it? That's their reality.

Quote:
I probably look like that a lot.
Now, see, THAT's frightening.
post #48 of 91
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by annakiss View Post
I don't think that from the outside I would appear as someone who really struggles in life all the time. I'm actually generally happy. The sun just doesn't shine out my rear. I'm far more interested in serious investigation of the world, policy, social interaction, whatever-it-is via a deeply analytical and academic approach. That takes a serious attitude and I don't think I've ever met anyone who had both a joyous approach to living and a deconstructionist approach to thinking about living.
Yeah. This makes sense to me. And I don't see it coming from a lot of unschoolers, which probably explains why I don't feel like I really "fit". I don't want to hang out and talk about Joy all the time - I want to talk about what's going on and what we're doing about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SagMom View Post
What makes you think others aren't trying to make the world a better place? I'm a little unclear if you're talking just about message boards or irl as well.
I am being intentionally vague and keeping the UA in mind Not here... but, generally speaking, blogs, boards, email lists, and in-person conversations. And for me, trying to make the world a better place is what we do, and therefore it's part and parcel of unschooling.
Quote:
I don't understand what you mean about trying to make everyone more like yourself. (Again, irl or on the boards?) People talking about unschooling on an unschooling board are interested in unschooling--people on the gardening board aren't trying to convert everyone into gardeners, they're there because that's what they want. I must really be missing your point on this.
But unschooling is everything - gardening is just one tiny piece of that. A lot of people say a lot of things like, "Oh, it's so great that we could sleep in until 10 this morning, and then my son decided he wanted pancakes so we baked them together, and then we went for a walk and talked about the leaves changing color, and wondered why that happened... and then we got home and looked it up on the internet, and then he built a a huge lego castle..." and if all of that is thought to be relevant to unschooling, why isn't stuff like: "And then we went to the Free Palestine rally and talked with some Palestinians living in our community about what we can do to help" or whatever it is you believe in that's larger than your own family... but I don't hear those things.

It's almost as if some unschoolers don't want to acknowledge anything non-Joyful in the world that's going on - I feel like some people would rather just focus on their own family and their own stuff, and I don't feel like I have much in common with that.

As far as making people more like themselves - I hear a lot of people saying they're trying to help others to find the joyful lives they themselves have found as unschoolers, by being examples of how wonderful unschooling is. It gets framed as helping others... and I'm sure in some situations it truly is, but I also think there are many other ways to help others, and not everyone wants to be an unschooler.
Quote:
Originally Posted by joy_seeker View Post
I find this to be true of many people, not just unschoolers. Some people never move beyond the need to tell others how great their kids are or the need to marvel at their kids feet.
I'm not talking about people wanting to talk about how great their kids are, but about how great their lives are.
Quote:
For me there is a distinct difference between the two, as I stated in my PP... I think this comes from my spiritual background. I have always been taught and truly believed in joy as a choice and happiness as external. For example, when we volunteer at the food pantry it is not a happy day to see so many people struggling. It is however joyful to see the resiliance of the human spirit and see people who haven't lost hope despite the fact that they haven't been able to find work in a year.
I guess I think of joy as a more superficial and less thoughtful emotion, where as happiness is deeper and fuller, and more considered. I'm joyful when someone surprises me with an unexpected gift, but I'm happy when I contemplate my life and my friends and my community.


Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
This is something I never really thought about.

My family is not the gushy type.

We know a gushy family, they hs, but they are not unschoolers. They are great and we enjoy them.
Okay, this so reminded my of the "Life at Big Bri's House" bit of Breakfast Club... remember that?

Wait, I found it... starting at about 40 seconds in....

We are not gushy either... maybe that's part of it...
post #49 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by SagMom View Post
ACK, not cool with that. I think we each know our lives better than anyone else. I might look at someone else's life and think I couldn't possibly be happy in their shoes, (I've done the, "really?!? Really?!?" thing also.)
but if THEY say they're happy, why should I doubt it? That's their reality
No no no. Of course, yes, if they're happy. Okay. Whatever. Your life. Not gonna argue with you about it. But in my heart of hearts, I might not fully believe it, might not fully be sold, simply because I cannot understand it. I'm not saying I'd tell you that, but I might think it. I'm just being honest here.
post #50 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar;13948393


Okay, this so reminded my of the "Life at Big Bri's House" bit of Breakfast Club... remember that?

[URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8vqlhi3QQw"
Wait, I found it[/URL]... starting at about 40 seconds in....

We are not gushy either... maybe that's part of it...

Bwahahahaha! I, and I am dating myself here, never saw that movie. I need to get it from the library for my dd.

Ooo..it got sad. She'll love it. She has quite a dark side, my girl.
post #51 of 91
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
Bwahahahaha! I, and I am dating myself here, never saw that movie. I need to get it from the library for my dd.

Ooo..it got sad. She'll love it. She has quite a dark side, my girl.
Yes! The Breakfast Club is a classic - she must see it!
post #52 of 91
I think there is a real "work ethic" in this country and in the mainstream, the ethic that makes people work 60 hour per week, the idea of "no pain, no gain", the idea that you must.work.hard.for.everything. My feel is that some folks have gotten over the mechanics of that, but haven't gotten it out of their systems entirely. It is my belief that those of us who at least want to "cultivate joy" (which is something I struggle with adn would like to be better at) have accepted the belief that we ARE ENTITLED to be happy and joyful. No, it is NOT a privelige. It is a right. A right of every human being, a right of every child, to BE HAPPY. ::::

I strive to bring that belief into being, for myself, for my children. I believe that is the first, and most important step, in making the world a better place.

It is my sincere hope that everyone, unschoolers, schoolers, you name it, can have a happy and joyful life. The world would be such a better place for all of us. And there is nothing naive in that hope.



Tracy
post #53 of 91
If you don't fully accept that you DESERVE to be happy, you will never be happy.

~Tracy
post #54 of 91
There is an excellent essay in one of David Albert's books, I forget which one, but it is based on a study of what makes people happy. It was NOT the folks who led "privileged" lives who were the happy ones. I wish I could find a link to it, or the name of the original study. Did anyone else read that?

~Tracy
post #55 of 91
Thread Starter 
So you consider doing the things that make you and your family happy to be contributing to making the world a better place?
post #56 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
But unschooling is everything - gardening is just one tiny piece of that. A lot of people say a lot of things like, "Oh, it's so great that we could sleep in until 10 this morning, and then my son decided he wanted pancakes so we baked them together, and then we went for a walk and talked about the leaves changing color, and wondered why that happened... and then we got home and looked it up on the internet, and then he built a a huge lego castle..." and if all of that is thought to be relevant to unschooling, why isn't stuff like: "And then we went to the Free Palestine rally and talked with some Palestinians living in our community about what we can do to help" or whatever it is you believe in that's larger than your own family... but I don't hear those things.

It's almost as if some unschoolers don't want to acknowledge anything non-Joyful in the world that's going on - I feel like some people would rather just focus on their own family and their own stuff, and I don't feel like I have much in common with that.
Oh! I get it! As one of those shiny happy people I was having trouble understanding where you were coming from but this, right here, this makes total sense.

I'd love to read an unschooling blog that talked about this kind of thing and as a very very beginning unschooler I'd love to see what activism looks like in unschooling families. Surely there must be families out there who volunteer and go to protests and enjoy learning about/discussing/combating inequality and injustice? What if you start a thread here encouraging people to share what activism looks like in their unschooling household?
post #57 of 91
Quote:
So you consider doing the things that make you and your family happy to be contributing to making the world a better place?
Yes, absolutely. If I can't help my children to have a happy life, I have no business going out into the world, with or without them, to serve others. You need to have your own ducks in a row first.

I believe my children deserve to be happy.

I believe that even if there are other people in the world that do not have the choices, opportunities and material things that we have, we still deserve to be happy.

I believe that to assume that others elsewhere who do NOT have the same opportunities, choices and material things that we have are not able to have joy in their lives is insulting to them.

I don't believe others would want us to be expending our resources (not talking about money here) to help them, when we haven't met our own needs. That would mean that they were more important than us. That doesn't make any more sense than saying we are more important than them.

I've read other's (non-happy, shiny people) blogs and recent posts in this forum (and now I'm being intentionally vague) and I must say that some are truly frightening. No one would call me a happy shiny person (but I'd love it if they could) but I'm all for those who are, and I do believe we all deserve to be happy, and I'm trying to be more happy by letting go of the little things and focusing on what is important and all that.

I find it incredibly sad, especially for these people's kids, that some would think that to have a joyful life is an unearned privilege. It is a basic human right.

~Tracy
post #58 of 91
I'm also reminded of one of Scott Noelle's posts:
Quote:
A Radical "Mother's Day" Message
by Scott Noelle, posted on 2007-05-13
Today is Mother's Day in many countries, and mothers everywhere are being honored and appreciated for the invaluable contribution of mothering.

That's the bright side...

For many families there's also a subtle dark side of Mother's Day: focusing on the sacrifices mothers make for their families.

Mothers' self-sacrifice is typically celebrated by reversing the sacrificial current. For one day, the other family members take over the mother's "duties" so she can be free (theoretically) to focus entirely on her own pleasure.

Don't get me wrong: I think one of life's simple pleasures is contributing to the pleasure of others, and that includes the good feeling of pampering mothers. It's the undercurrent of guilt that so often taints the fun.

When the subtext is, "We're doing this stuff for you today because you can't have what you want the other 364 days of the year," it actually perpetuates the cycle of self-sacrifice, resentment, and guilt.

So here's a radical proposition for every mother who has ever bought into the idea of self-sacrifice as a virtue:

Decide that EVERY day is Mother's Day! Don't settle for anything less than a predominantly pleasureful path of mothering, and remember that the best way to raise kids who enjoy life is to let them see your commitment to enjoying life yourself.

(Note to self-sacrifice addicts: If you think I'm saying you should force yourself to be happy... think again!)
Sort of related to service work and helping others. I'm just curious those that are talking about what you do to make the world a better place, do you do these things because you want to or because you feel you should? How do you think that those who receive the benefit of your help would feel if they knew it was coming from a feeling of duty rather than joyful giving? And I'm not saying that is the case. Do you feel bitter at those who don't do as much work in this area as you do? Do you feel bitter at those who are happier than you are? I'm not saying any of the above are true. But I am starting to wonder where this thread is really coming from.

And before you assume that I don't do any community giving, you could check out my activity in the HH thread, for starters. And btw, that did make me feel joyful. :

~Tracy
post #59 of 91
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wugmama View Post
Sort of related to service work and helping others. I'm just curious those that are talking about what you do to make the world a better place, do you do these things because you want to or because you feel you should? How do you think that those who receive the benefit of your help would feel if they knew it was coming from a feeling of duty rather than joyful giving? And I'm not saying that is the case. Do you feel bitter at those who don't do as much work in this area as you do? Do you feel bitter at those who are happier than you are? I'm not saying any of the above are true. But I am starting to wonder where this thread is really coming from.
I'm actually really happy with my life right now - I feel very fortunate to have such a great community, awesome learning opportunities, an excellent relationship with my daughter.

I do feel that because I have been given so much, I have a responsibility to speak against and work against inequities and injustices in the world. That's more what I mean when I talk about making the world a better place. Not that things like Holiday Helper aren't also important - and I've taken part in similar things, and often they're critically important - but I think making the world a better place has to encompass changes in the ways people see the world and each other and the way our system works, and not be limited to short-term solutions and band-aids.

So I both want to and feel I have an ethical and moral responsibility to do something - I don't think they're at all mutually incompatible. I couldn't be happy if I wasn't do this. I don't think I feel bitter towards other people who don't share these values, but as I said, I don't feel much of an affiliation with them, either.

And I don't know if this is part of unschooling, or not... but if unschooling is a political statement (and it seems to me that it is) then what statement are we making? The idea I get seems to be that everyone with enough economic and social privilege to do so should just opt out of the system and focus on making themselves happy, which seems really self-indulgent and elitist. Is that the message you're comfortable with, or do you see a different message?

Scott Noelle (at least in that passage) reminds me of the protagonist of Richard Bach's Illusions, which I really did find to be a life-changing book when I read it 20 years ago... but since then I think I've grown in a different direction...
post #60 of 91

This is a very interesting thread...

and from it, I'm coming to realize that happiness and joy aren't my goal. I'm aiming for something richer-- fulfillment-- both for me, and for my kids as they grow. I want them to feel fully actualized, I want them to know they can do important things, if they choose to, I want them to be active in their communities, and aware of what's going on in the world around them. I don't want them to spend their life pursuing joy, because in my experience, while joy can come from fulfillment, you can't become fulfilled if your focus is only on what will make you happy, you need to be looking outward. I do think that it's important to consider your own needs and wants when making choices, but that shouldn't be the only consideration.

I don't mean to attack people pursuing joy-- I'm just explaining where I'm coming from.

ZM
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