Unconditional Parenting Guiding Principles, per Alfie Kohn - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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#31 of 52 Old 11-12-2005, 06:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by captain crunchy
I also don't agree with the sentiment that children have to know how the real world works so we should do ___ or not do ___ etc...

Believe me, I am quite certain that my child is going to learn how the real world works without me making it tougher for her so that she will know that life isn't always happy and joyful. She will learn this the first time she sees someone spank, or yank, or yell at their child in public. She will learn this the first time a child pushes her down at the playground. She will learn this the first time someone has a comment about her clothing, or her hair, or her looks, or about her being a vegetarian. She will learn this the first time someone gives her a dirty look for simply being a child and doing what children do. She will learn this the first time someone tells her that she has a "fat mommy", or a Daddy who's hair is too long, or when she is listening to something like the Beatles when everyone else is listening to Britney Spears or someone like it. She will learn this the first time other kids make fun of her for not having the latest brand name clothing, or for being homeschooled, or for taking an interest in something that the "herd" is shunning that day. She will learn this the first time she gets treated like an insignificant teen by a power-trippy boss at her first part-time job. She will learn this when a boy (or girl) she likes doesn't return her affection. She will learn this when someone she thought was her friend stabs her in the back. She will learn this when she may not get accepted into the college of her choice. She will learn this when her Grandmom or Grandpop or favorite animal dies....the list goes on and on... I am not suggesting that ALL these things will happen to her, but it is pretty likely that at least a few will, or similar situations that will "teach" her that there are ups and downs in life and that things don't always work the way she, or any of us, would like.

While she is in my home though, and even when she leaves, she will always know that she is enveloped in love, understanding, kindess, respect, and acceptance...and that the people who love her the most will do everything in their power, short of moving the heavens and earth, to make sure she knows that despite all the ugliness and dissapointments and trickery in the world, that it is still a beautiful place where she can learn to be fufilled, secure, and happy despite all of it.

I believe the foundation of that is how we treat her in the years where she is deciding just how to view the world.
Beautifully said. I'm weepy...

I remember when DS was about 18 months or so, and he was still pretty rough around the edges in the sleep department. I was a mess; tired, worn-out, perhaps slightly psychotic?

At any rate, DH was having a phone conversation with his sister one foggy (as in brain) afternoon, and was relaying our frustration. He wasn't looking for answers, just simply telling it how it was--I believe we were declining an invitation to visit. Well, SIL made a comment to DH about how perhaps it was time for some "tough love" (as in CIO) to which, DH explained nicely, yet firmly our committment to gentle parenting, and then a few tidbits about just how incredibly damaging such practices can be. Then, SIL went on to say that we were going to have to learn to put ourselves first sometimes, and that DS will need to learn that life is just not always going to be that easy." To which DH eloquently replied: "There will surely be plently of opportunities for DS to learn just that, but we're not going to be the ones to teach him those things. We're the people he needs to come to to make sense of things, for comfort from that cruel world." Indeed! I believe he also added something to the affect of, that we wouldn't have become parents if we weren't able to accept that sacfrices had to be made. We would have have just settled for the cats.

Off topic, but I'm happy to add here that this really resonated with SIL. She doesn't have children of her own and as the oldest in DH's family and mom having passed away, she does tend to "mother" us sometimes. Truth be known, what she said was out of concern for my state of mind more than anything else, but is was interesting how easily she dismissed DS's rights in the matter, missing just how little control he had and how much we had and shouldn't we use it? Until DH made these comments to her that is. DH's family in general has been right good about allowing themselves to be convinced of another way of doing things.

The best,
Em

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#32 of 52 Old 11-13-2005, 01:07 AM
 
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Originally Posted by natensarah
Hey TinkerBelle, I know exactly where you're coming from here, but would like to suggest another POV. What if, instead, your children grew up feeling that the world is their oyster, and that whatever they wanted to do, they could? And that there are lots of people out there who want to help them do it?

My dad has this view of the world, and he has been amazingly successful, and still is going strong at 63 years old. He's been able to do so many things he wanted, and I think it's largely because he always thinks he can.

This is what I want my children to feel like. I don't want them to have the attitude of "world vs. us".
I havent finished the new posts but I have to comment on this.
I also think it is my goal for my children to grow up and believe that the world is their oyster and that nothing is impossible. I also want them to know that they have all the power they need within themselves to make things happen for their lives and to be the author and hero of their own lives.
HOWEVER, I also believe that the quickest and easiest path to the things we want are by following the rules. FOr example. If you want to drive race cars, you have to first get a license. YOu cant just decide one day that you are going to drive race cars and go for it with no training etc. . .
In order to be successful they have to have a balance between knowing how to follow the rules and keep respect authority , not for the "benefit" of Authority but in order to basically keep them out of their way so that they can get what they want. YOu can do things the easy way or the hard way.
I for one think that if my child wants the world to be their oyster. THey certainly need to know how to follow the rules of the society they live in in order to be successful.
Because you ain't going to make it to Nasa or Carnegie hall without dotting all your I's and crossing all your T's.
Yeah, my kids can accomplish anything they want in this world. And they can be the authors of their lives.
But they will do it within a society which has expectations and rules and laws and norms that they basically need to follow in order to get what they want.
And I am here to help them do both.
It isnt about creating "worker bees" it is about growing functioning adults who can work within society to get what they want.
Joline
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#33 of 52 Old 11-13-2005, 11:25 AM
 
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yeah, my mom told me the other day my son was conniving.

i said, why should he be anything but honest? i don't tell him no all the time or try to convience him his needs aren't important.

she just looked at me like i was crazy.

what IS it about older moms (my mom is 76) that makes them so sure that kids are manipulaters at heart? i think it's a projection, i never met a more manipulating and conniving*mom than my mom. :

the sad thing is, SHE JUST DOESN"T GET IT.

anyway. i am in the middle of UP and i LOVE it and it resonates very strongly with me and affirms much if what i already believe about parenting. children are not for bossing around and their needs are just as important and valuable as my needs.

"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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#34 of 52 Old 11-13-2005, 12:35 PM
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Yeah, I hear you. My mom says that I am "training" my daughter to never be without me because if I put her in someone's arms and she begins to cry or get upset, I immediately take her back...and because she doesn't cry herself to sleep, and because we don't leave her with random sitters that "seem nice" because we want a big night out.

*sheesh*
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#35 of 52 Old 11-13-2005, 02:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by honeybeedreams
yeah, my mom told me the other day my son was conniving.

i said, why should he be anything but honest? i don't tell him no all the time or try to convience him his needs aren't important.
Actually, I am amazed that people believe (and project) this malicious intent upon others (especially children) too. Our son has no concept of lying or honesty. We have no concept of "getting in trouble" and he just tells me things because they happen and we work together to resolve them. There is no 'teach him a lesson' or 'impose a consequence' Fear associated with his actions. He seeks me out when things happen and just says "I did it" spontaneously when I ask 'what happened?' for clarification. But there is no scolding or logical consequence imposed by me. We just work together to find a solution. And then we discuss ways to prevent it from recurring or ways to accomplish his goals without 'things happening'. I find the whole "lying", "sneaking", "hiding things" idea to be *created* by the fear of sharing the truth. I don't want our son to feel that the truth is conditional upon not 'getting into trouble' or not 'getting caught', or 'not being found out'. I don't want him to Fear the truth.

Similarly, when our son says things that are inaccurate, we don't *create* the construct of "lying" either. We just say 'I didn't know that', or 'I don't think so', or 'oh, is that right?, I never saw it that way'. He does understand what is real and what is pretend. I don't assign any malicious connotation of "lying" to his expressions of 'wishful thinking'. Neither do we dismiss his statements as "That is Not True". He can discern what is and isn't happening from his perspective, as well as I can, without me projecting a negative connotation to his desires for reality to be different. More often, we make up some wishful way for the desires to become silly and extreme together; or we find a way to make the desires a reality in smaller realistic ways. Meeting the underlying need is not conditional upon his 'wishful thinking' being exactly real and true.


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#36 of 52 Old 11-13-2005, 05:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by johub
I havent finished the new posts but I have to comment on this.
I also think it is my goal for my children to grow up and believe that the world is their oyster and that nothing is impossible. I also want them to know that they have all the power they need within themselves to make things happen for their lives and to be the author and hero of their own lives.
HOWEVER, I also believe that the quickest and easiest path to the things we want are by following the rules. FOr example. If you want to drive race cars, you have to first get a license. YOu cant just decide one day that you are going to drive race cars and go for it with no training etc. . .
In order to be successful they have to have a balance between knowing how to follow the rules and keep respect authority , not for the "benefit" of Authority but in order to basically keep them out of their way so that they can get what they want. YOu can do things the easy way or the hard way.
I for one think that if my child wants the world to be their oyster. THey certainly need to know how to follow the rules of the society they live in in order to be successful.
Because you ain't going to make it to Nasa or Carnegie hall without dotting all your I's and crossing all your T's.
Yeah, my kids can accomplish anything they want in this world. And they can be the authors of their lives.
But they will do it within a society which has expectations and rules and laws and norms that they basically need to follow in order to get what they want.
And I am here to help them do both.
It isnt about creating "worker bees" it is about growing functioning adults who can work within society to get what they want.
Joline
I believe my daughter will understand that there are rules to follow, but I hope she thinks about the rules and decides whether they are just, and doesn't follow them out of a blind sense of respecting authority. The rules we have in our socity have reasons. I hope she'll consider why they exist and whether they deserve to be followed, and then *choose* to follow them if they are just. The *choice* part of that is still important to me.

Someone who blindly follows a just rule is also open to blindly following unjust rules, or putting up with abusive partners, or staying in bad job situations, etc.
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#37 of 52 Old 11-13-2005, 08:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamazee
Someone who blindly follows a just rule is also open to blindly following unjust rules, or putting up with abusive partners, or staying in bad job situations, etc.
I dont care if the rule is just. If you have to follow the stupid rule to get to your goal I dont see how it has anythign to do with putting up with abusive partners or staying in bad job situations.
Who ever said that it was a rule to do these things?
I cannot see for a second how one is related to another.
But then I do not teach my children as you state to follow rules out of a "blind sense of respecting authority" but that even if a rule is unjust, you either follow it or change it. But going against the rules and norms of society can be the path for some. But goals are much easier to reach if you follow the rules.
So I teach my children to follow the rules, even dumb ones because it benefits THEM to do so. And not because of blind respect for Authority.
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#38 of 52 Old 11-13-2005, 08:28 PM
 
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Well we just simply disagree then.

How the two are related is that it's all dependant on the person making the rules. Parents make some rules, the government makes some rules, our partners make some rules, our employers make some rules, and our peer groups make some rules. But they're all rules. A person who is largely motivated to follow the rules of one group is likely to be motivated to follow the rules of all groups, IMO.
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#39 of 52 Old 11-13-2005, 08:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamazee
Well we just simply disagree then.

How the two are related is that it's all dependant on the person making the rules. Parents make some rules, the government makes some rules, our partners make some rules, our employers make some rules, and our peer groups make some rules. But they're all rules. A person who is largely motivated to follow the rules of one group is likely to be motivated to follow the rules of all groups, IMO.
But doesnt it really depend on why they are choosing to follow the rules?
Cannot critical analysis of rules include not only analysis of the rules validity itself but where it is coming from and what are the benefits of following it even if it is stupid?
A person can not only learn to determine whether or not a rule is just or not. But what the pros and cons are of following that particular rule. Where that rule came from. What influence does the authority which invoked the rule have on your life and your plans.
You choose to jump through the hoops of your college professors and follow sometimes bizarre rules and guidelines to have that college credit in order to meet that goal.
But the same person can turn around to their peer group and say, "Uh I dont think so" because the consequence of choosing not to accept the authority of the peer group is much less than the consequence of having your future plans and dreams shattered.
It isnt like the commercials "there are leaders and there are followers" . It simply is not that simple.
To reject an unjust rule on the basis that it is simply not a good rule and risk say flunking a class, or going to jail or getting fired. This does not seem like the kind of choice I would want to teach my children to make. I think my children are more intelligent than that and do not have to be taught in black and white.
Joline
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#40 of 52 Old 11-13-2005, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mamazee
Well we just simply disagree then.

How the two are related is that it's all dependant on the person making the rules. Parents make some rules, the government makes some rules, our partners make some rules, our employers make some rules, and our peer groups make some rules. But they're all rules. A person who is largely motivated to follow the rules of one group is likely to be motivated to follow the rules of all groups, IMO.
I agree this type of external motivation is optimal, advocated and promoted in order to have 'worker bees' as was referrenced. Following rules has no inherent value, imo. Questioning rules that don't make sense is rational. To follow rules that don't make sense doesn't make sense.

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#41 of 52 Old 11-13-2005, 09:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by scubamama
I agree this type of external motivation is optimal, advocated and promoted in order to have 'worker bees' as was referrenced. Following rules has no inherent value, imo. Questioning rules that don't make sense is rational. To follow rules that don't make sense doesn't make sense.

Pat
This was short and sweet but it is so clear and concise. Kind of 'in a nutshell' we have all been debating pages and pages worth. But it might come down to this one thing.
I do believe that following rules has inherent value. I Also believe that questioning rules is rational. However I do not think that questioning rules equates to refusing to follow them.I think that following rules that dont make sense DOES make sense becaues it gets people what they want. As long as there is anybody between you and your goal, you have to do what it takes to please them. Be it a college professor, a boss, a coworker, a police officer.
I might think that laws against Marajuana dont make any sense. However I do think there is an inherent value in following the law. if for example
1. You dont want to go to jail.
2. You want to hold down a job (most jobs do drug screening)
I think that it is a value to me that I dont want to go to jail and I also think holding down a job is a good thing. Especially if it is the job you want and enjoy in a field you love.
Is it a stupid rule? Maybe. Studies show it is less intoxicating than alcohol and less addictive than tobacco.
But there is inherent value in following the law anyway.
I hope my children consider their own goals at the same time they consider whether or not a law is just or makes sense. And not throw their futures out the window to prove a point that they can do whatever they want.
But that's just me.
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#42 of 52 Old 11-14-2005, 12:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by johub
And not throw their futures out the window to prove a point that they can do whatever they want. But that's just me.
I don't believe that anyone is advocating "throwing their futures out the window to prove a point". : Nor is anyone saying anyone "can do whatever they want". Just that I don't "have to" follow rules unless someone forces me to do so. And there are parents who choose NOT to modify behavior by utilizing external motivations and who parent without the condition of compliance. However, children are not "throwing their futures out the window, proving points, nor doing whatever they want"; because people (including children) are inherently motivated to be harmonious when they are not coerced as a right of passage of childhood.

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#43 of 52 Old 11-14-2005, 12:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by scubamama
I don't believe that anyone is advocating "throwing their futures out the window to prove a point". : Nor is anyone saying anyone "can do whatever they want". Just that I don't "have to" follow rules unless someone forces me to do so. And there are parents who choose NOT to modify behavior by utilizing external motivations and who parent without the condition of compliance. However, children are not "throwing their futures out the window, proving points, nor doing whatever they want"; because people (including children) are inherently motivated to be harmonious when they are not coerced as a right of passage of childhood.

Pat
I personally see refusing to follow rules just because they seem stupid to be "proving a point" . And I see the possible consequences of refusing to follow any and all unjust or stupid rules or laws to be throwing their futures out the window.
So regardless of whether or not you are advocating this. This is the potential result I see in a paradigm where following rules or obeying laws has no inherent value.
At this point I was not arguing parenting so much as whether or not there is an inherent value in following rules. No matter how one was parented. If they live their life with a disdain for all laws and rules that make no sense to them because as you say "to follow rules that make no sense makes no sense", then think this particular individual might have a particularly rough time participating in society. It is not a struggle I would wish to bestow upon my children however.
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#44 of 52 Old 11-14-2005, 02:41 AM
 
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I havent finished the new posts but I have to comment on this.
I also think it is my goal for my children to grow up and believe that the world is their oyster and that nothing is impossible. I also want them to know that they have all the power they need within themselves to make things happen for their lives and to be the author and hero of their own lives.
HOWEVER, I also believe that the quickest and easiest path to the things we want are by following the rules.
Well, yes, of course. I actually agree completely. I think it's very important to know how to "work the system", and if it means you have to follow some arbitrary, beauracratic rules, so be it. As long as they aren't unethical, then I believe in conscientious objection. But if they're just stupid, then most times it's not worth the fight.

What I was trying to say was that there is a difference between these two attitudes:

1. Problems can be solved, there are solutions that we can discover together. There are some rules in our house, I'll explain them, and they're probably not up for debate, unless you come up with a really, really good reason.

vs.

2. It's a cruel world out there, and it's best that you learn now to follow the rules because there's going to be a lot of times that you'll have to, whether you like it or not. I'm going to teach you this because I love you and I don't want you to be unprepared for the harsh reality.

Mommy to kids

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#45 of 52 Old 11-14-2005, 02:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by natensarah
Well, yes, of course. I actually agree completely. I think it's very important to know how to "work the system", and if it means you have to follow some arbitrary, beauracratic rules, so be it. As long as they aren't unethical, then I believe in conscientious objection. But if they're just stupid, then most times it's not worth the fight.

What I was trying to say was that there is a difference between these two attitudes:

1. Problems can be solved, there are solutions that we can discover together. There are some rules in our house, I'll explain them, and they're probably not up for debate, unless you come up with a really, really good reason.

vs.

2. It's a cruel world out there, and it's best that you learn now to follow the rules because there's going to be a lot of times that you'll have to, whether you like it or not. I'm going to teach you this because I love you and I don't want you to be unprepared for the harsh reality.
Looks like we are on the same page after all. I completely agree with the above.
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#46 of 52 Old 07-26-2006, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Another favorite thread.

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#47 of 52 Old 01-14-2007, 11:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Bumping.

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#48 of 52 Old 01-15-2007, 01:58 AM
 
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There is an Unconditional Parenting tribe in the forum "Finding Your Tribe" if you would like more information about putting your relationship first.

Could you give us a link? I tried to find the UP tribe, but didn't see it. Thanks!
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#49 of 52 Old 01-15-2007, 02:48 AM
 
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I picked up the book tonight for under $9 (our local borders is closing - everything is 40% off) and am looking forward to reading it, and sharing with my husband.

Aisling
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#50 of 52 Old 01-15-2007, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Could you give us a link? I tried to find the UP tribe, but didn't see it. Thanks!
https://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=327414


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#51 of 52 Old 01-15-2007, 08:09 PM
 
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I read this thread and enjoyed it a year ago, and I just now spent ds's entire naptime rereading the whole thing! It must be good!

I'm absolutely amazed at how my thinking has changed in the past year, thanks in large part to posts like these here on the GD forum.

Here are a couple thoughts I had. Thought I'd mention them if anyone's interested in further discussion.

1) (here I'm talking about Wugmama's original post, her story about staying home with her dd when she had wanted to--and they had planned--to go out)
Although children do certainly want to control other people at times (my ds's favorite game is playing 'foreman'--dig a hole here! hammer that nail! ), I think we sometimes make a mistake when we lump children's desire to control themselves in with controlling others. Anyway, I know I've made that mistake before--ds wants to stay somewhere long after I want to leave, and inwardly I find it hard to let go of the idea that he's controlling both of us. When, actually, it's my desire to protect him that's keeping me there. Or my desire not to abandon him! That's a bit of 'reframing' that I've had to consciously do.

2) It seems to me that the best way to teach children to understand that There Are Rules Out There is to help them negotiate the actual rules that are actually out there, not to create more rules within the home. We can help them understand the rules as we understand them. At the public swimming pool, the rule is No Running. We can explain the rule that's in place, who made it, and why (the people who own the pool made the rules, they don't want anyone to run over a wet spot and fall and hit a head on concrete, or fall into the pool) And we can explain the actual consequences. The consequence of breaking the rule is that we could get kicked out of the pool. The consequence of running is that we could fall and get hurt. To me, these are two separate things. I'd like for ds to be able to respond to them as the two separate things that they are. (Although not right away... he's not even two yet!) I guess that's what Kohn said in UP, but a lot better than I can!
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#52 of 52 Old 01-16-2007, 05:17 PM
 
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I just read Kohn's book of essays on what it means to be well-educated and this thread sounds very insightful .
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