Re: Getting out (was Control and worry)

Joyce Fetteroll

On Jan 11, 2015, at 2:29 PM, Nicola McCray wrote:
*** That does not sound like free thinking at all! ***

My experience has been that when people claim to want "free thinking" they really mean "free opinion." They want the freedom to hold opinions without answering questions about them.

*** When pediatricians and doctors are concerned I think it's important to at least listen to what they have to say ***

I think it's more important to dig into *why* doctors said that and not just accept it as an opinion that carries a bit more weight because they're doctors.

If you think the best -- or only? -- way to make decisions is to read a bunch of opinions then decide which feels right, *that's* why this discussion makes no sense to you. That's why this forum comes across as group think and why all our opinions seem creepily aligned.

I don't know why that never occurred to me before.

There *is* a better way to make decisions. A much better way. Basing decisions on which opinion feels right is too easily swayed by the opinions of passionate people (who often don't realize their passion is born from fear) and people who seem like experts.

The biggest first step is getting fear out of the way. I understand it doesn't feel like fear. The more opinions you read that support your own, the more certain you grow. (AKA, confirmation bias.) But your certainty stops you from asking why people here believe technology isn't dangerous. That's typical of fear-based thinking.

You're assuming the ideas here are "just" opinion. Opinions that, like yours, are based on nothing more than feeling. So it's all equal with the only differences being how many opinions someone has looked at and what they ultimately feel is right.

But the ideas here aren't opinions. The ideas come from experience and *then* thoughtful personal and group analysis of what we see happen. The ideas come from asking "If this idea is true, then it would mean that would happen. Does it? If not, then why not?"

For example, if sugar is addictive, then kids who can have as much sugar as they want would show severe signs of addiction. The kids would, if given the chance, subsist on nothing but sugar and vitamin pills.

But when radically unschooling parents remove restrictions on sugar that doesn't happen. In fact -- after a *predictable* period of time getting used to no restrictions -- kids eat sweets AND other foods. Most surprising is that once kids are confident restrictions won't return they will leave Halloween and Easter candy to get stale. I've seen my daughter eat a brownie and leave *half a bite* because she's done.

If video games are addictive, then kids should retreat permanently into those worlds unless dragged out by a parent. Yet radically unschooled kids don't do that. Why not? And why does it *appear* to happen with some schooled kids? Video games can't cause the withdrawal or radically unschooled kids would withdraw too. So there *must* be some other factor. (We actually can know that factor is the lack of control those kids have over their lives. That's not just a guess. That pattern keeps repeating in highly regulated kids whose restrictions are removed.)

Observation, questioning. It's much better than guessing.

About the doctors' warning about television and young children, I wish I had save the link, but perhaps someone has it. It was recently reported that the reason the Pediatrics Association had spoken against TV (and now other devices) is *not* because there were any studies that showed TV was harmful. It was because they feared parents would park their kids in front of TVs rather than interacting with them.

That's certainly a valid fear. Some parents do. And more would without the statement. Unfortunately government agencies find that simple clear statements that must be understood by 100s of millions of people are more effective than longer accurate statements. As an example, there are no studies that found reading to a child for 30 minutes a day was some magic number. 30 minutes was just chosen because they believed parents would feel 30 minutes was doable. But if the number were higher they would do zero.

The point is, that even simple statements often aren't as straight forward as they seem. If the goal is unschooling, anything that prevents kids from exploring should be questioned.


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