Welcome to my life. It's a whirlwind of kids, chaos, pets, people, family, art, and being home (most of the time; I like to get out here and there). We unschool, so the unexpected is, well, expected...

Friday, February 15, 2008

LIAR

I just read this article "Learning to Lie"
http://nymag.com/news/features/43893/

What I find fascinating is how they talk about how parents and schools teach kids to lie. Since my kids don't go to school and aren't punished for misdeeds, including lying, they just don't. There is no reason to lie. The article suggests that parents let lies go because they believe that kids will tell the truth more if they don't make a big deal out of it. I think most kids lie because they are set up by the parents or others around them to do so.

It goes on to say that teens and parents that argue are actually better off than teens and parents who don't. I just don't buy it. The idea is that teens who feel comfortable bouncing their idea off their parents in that way, are actually expressing respect. It's an interesting idea but I don't think it follows. Discussing ideas is very different than arguing ideas. I have not set up a dynamic with my kids in which the only way to get their ideas heard is through arguing with me. Sometimes things get heated, but I wouldn't call it arguing.

At the beginning of the article it suggests that kids that lie are actually showing how smart they are by circumventing rules and such to avoid punishment. Chamille really never has lied to me. She is the most trustworthy, honest, and fair person I know, and she's always been that way. She doesn't tell the truth to avoid being punished and she doesn't lie to avoid punishment. She tells it like it is because that is how she sees it and there is no advantage or disadvantage to telling the truth other than serving justice as it is. Truth is truth, no strings attatched.

Margaux is learning how to tell the truth also. It's a bit more difficult for her. I'm not sure why because their isn't any consequences to lying or telling the truth, except that I don't necessarily automatically believe anything she tells me because she isn't always honest. This last year has been tough in this regard. I really want to believe her, and she really wants me to believe her, and we've discussed this repeatedly about how, the only way that I can consistently believe her is if she consistently tells the truth. That way I don't have to guess or ask more questions. My instinct is to believe my kiddos when they tell me things, so I do. Margaux has burned me a few too many times on that front, so its really awesome to see her starting to tell the truth more frequently from the get go.

Take away the punitive parenting, and school behavior, and kids have no reason to lie and figure out pretty quickly about those "white" lies and social niceties. We've even found that you never really have to tell a white lie either, you can always find something positive and truthful. While you may not like someones new haircut, you don't have to say wether you do or not, if you actually do like the new highlights, you can say that and avoid any stickiness.

So, once again unschooling doesn't equal unparenting or permissiveness. It eliminates that dynamic of PARENT/child. It is better to work with your child as a partner to get to the best possible outcome for all involved, and through that you can have teens that don't lie and kids that don't lie, simply because there is no benifit to lying.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Small towns

You know, its weird living in a small town. Everyone knows everyone. I've been staying in a small town for a few months now and I'm considering moving here. Why this town? Well, my great great grandfather invested his life in this town and my parents and sister live on land that was owned by him and passed down from family member to family member.

I'm greatly torn however, because there are things going on in this small town that make me think twice about moving here. There is a tech university here that initially came about as a mining institute. My great great grandfather ended up in this town as a mining engineer. The university has grown and expanded to the point that they have so much control over what goes on here, that if they make a big decision, it impacts the whole town good or bad. They are currently puting together a drop zone for the US air force to practice, whatever they practice.

It is loud and disturbing. I don't like it. This is my inheritance, my family history, this land and the surrounding areas. I have a vested interest in what goes on here. I've been visiting this place for years, my own grandmother came her all the time growing up, her mother grew up here, and her mother was married to Joseph E. Smith, who was the mining engineer. That's not all he did though, he was a photographer and took amazing pictures of the area historically preserving the place that I'm considering a move to. His family was one of a handful of families that made this place grow into existence. The first Hilton Hotel was built here by the Hilton family that was here at the same time.

It's an interesting place with a long history. Before people like my ancestors came here, there were spanish missions established. There is a church here that was here way back then, it has huge thick adobe walls in the old style spanish mission churches that dot the landscape of New Mexico.

I like the fact that this town has grown up with a university, I like small college towns, they offer a lot of cultural experiences that would normally not exist in a small town. What I don't get, is how did it come about that the university has more say in what happens in this town than the people living here in co-existence? I know it provides jobs and helps the economy, but how did they become so bigger than though? Doesn't the town here also help the university grow and be a good place to go to school? It should be a partnership and it isn't.

I'm trying to remain open minded and I really do want to live here, I just don't know if I want to live near a drop zone, with a university that doesn't really care about the city in which they were planted in.