|Summer 1991||REBOUND Volume 2|
How We Have Rebounded!
Many readers of "Great Education Moves" have written to us asking how we ourselves at the Gentle Wind School have rebounded. All of us are products of the current educational system. As such, we have not been able to repair the damage that has been done to the mental and emotional apparatus caused by current educational practices. Nor have we been able to repair this damage in any of our research subjects.
However, given these limitations, we have done some things that have changed people's lives for the better. We have worked on developing what we call wholly positive personalities. Before most children start school they are very positive human beings. People feel good being around young children because their natural positive personality structures are still intact.
After children are in school for even a short time, they begin to develop very negative personality characteristics. This is because schools are inherently negative places. In order to survive in schools, children must set up systems for endurance and for defending against the negative classroom environment, and these endurance systems themselves are negative.
The endurance systems that children develop vary from child to child. Each system is characterized by a set of negative behavior patterns which become rigidified in the child's consciousness usually before the end of the third grade. Once the negative patterns become rigidified, they remain as permanent aspects of the person's consciousness and stay with the person for life. For example, little Larry discovers that one way to endure school is to get sick enough to stay home for several weeks every few months. During these times of sickness, Larry gets a break from school. He gets to stay home and rest and watch television so that he can re-build his resources enough to endure another few months of school.
While Larry learns to endure school by getting sick, little Nancy decides that the best way to get through a school day is to sit quietly in her seat, obey all the rules and do everything she is told to do. Little Willie, on the other band, has trouble sitting still. Willie develops what his mother calls a "defiance streak." He just refuses to cooperate with his teachers, privately, Willie likes to read and do math, but he refuses to give his teachers the satisfaction they would get if he did good work in the classroom. Willie realizes that what the teachers are doing is bad for children, so he refuses to let them feel that they have succeeded in teaching him anything.
Once children develop these negative endurance systems, these systems remain in place long after children grow up and leave the negative classroom environments which they were trying to endure. The pathways in the consciousness that were developed in Larry, for example, to produce periodic physical illnesses remain intact long after Larry graduates from high school and cause him to get sick every few months even though the situation he is trying to endure is no longer a part of his life.
Children like little Nancy, who endured school by sitting still and quiet and obeying all the rules all day long, grow up to become adults who cannot do anything but sit still all day and do what they are told, even when they are being told to act against themselves. These children grow to obey the rules even when the rules are telling them to act against themselves.
Children like Willie, who learn to be defiant in order to defend against classroom life, grow up to be defiant adults who refuse to do what they are told, even when they are being told to do something that is good for them to do. They grow up to be people who may have difficulty holding down a job or who may be very hard for anyone to live with. They have worked so hard at not letting teachers succeed with them that they are incapable of letting anyone succeed with them. There are many possible endurance patterns that people develop in order to withstand the negative environment of school all of which lead to the formation of negative personalities.
All we have been able to do is focus our resources on trying to establish what we have called wholly positive personalities. Our methods for accomplishing this are based on the best ideas offered by behavioral modification theories combined with technologies that are beyond the scope of this article. Again, we want to emphasize that we have not been able to repair the damaged mental apparatus in ourselves or in any of our subjects so we are in no way suggesting that this can be done. We are merely saying that some parents may be able to help their children who have been exposed to current educational practices to regain some aspects of what was once a wholly positive personality structure, to regain what they can of what was once a positive approach to life. Our methods for identifying and for working with negative, psychological endurance systems and for producing wholly positive personalities might be different from the ways that parents might do this with their children. Not every parent will be successful, but some will be once they understand the difference between a wholly positive personality and a negative endurance system. incidentally, parents should not be fooled by the idea of a wholly positive personality or think that we are referring to some kind of "goody, goody two shoes" approach. Wholly positive people are not afraid to stand up for themselves or for others and they are not afraid to "kick butt" when necessary.
The negative personality systems that children automatically develop in school, although unique to each individual, do have a similar unifying quality which involves the ability to seek out and endure boredom for long periods of time. When children go to school, they are forced into a situation in which they are bored almost all the time. Educated people have trained themselves to endure extreme amounts of boredom. As a result, educated people are able to work at jobs in which they are bored most of the time. They are able to spend a lifetime married to people with whom they have nothing in common and whom they find extremely boring. Educated people are able to spend endless hours watching boring, flat television programs that do not provide even a minimal amount of entertainment.
In short, educated people have trained themselves to do whatever they need to do to get through another boring school day. Most adults who were educated in this nation's school system can easily recall times when they were sitting at their desks spaced out or watching the clock just waiting for the school day to end. Most adults can remember counting the dots in the ceiling tiles, staring out the window at the trees (if you were lucky enough to have windows) or doodling on a scratch pad while being hammered with another boring history lecture. After sitting in school under these circumstances for 11,000 to 12,000 hours or more, the only thing that educated people can do with their lives is to go find something really boring to do and then endure the boredom.
Homeschooled children do not develop negative personality structures of this nature. The circumstances in the lives of homeschooled children do not require them to endure 11,000 to 12,000 hours of negativity and boredom. Homeschooled children have the natural, primary personality systems intact. It is only through the natural, positive, primary personality system that human beings can lead productive, satisfying lives.
Schools are empty, boring, dead-end, go-nowhere places. The negative personality structures (which children automatically develop in order to survive in school) can lead human beings only into empty, boring, dead-end, go-nowhere lives. A person who is homeschooled and dies at the age of 18 is likely to have led a richer, fuller life than someone who was educated in the current system past the second grade and who lives to be 95 years old. People who have been exposed to schools are usually leading the same kinds of empty, boring, dead-end, go-nowhere lives at 70, 80 or 90 years of age that they began leading at 9, 10 and 11 years of age. The quality of their lives has not and does not improve.