Tuesday, 22 March 2016

It Takes a Village

Miltary School.
Admit it. If you've ever raised or are in the process of raising teens so chronically problematic you have tried everything you can think of and are at your wits and emotions end, you've thought it.
It may have been a look to the skies or to your co-parent or something muttered half in jest, because you know, as a good lefty, that military school or private school are part of and perpetuate oppressive systems but...
Sometimes. Sometimes it's just too much and even though you'd never send your child away to have someone else do the heavy lifting that has exhausted you on so many levels, it's a tempting thought.
You wouldn't and you don't but damn child.
But what if...
What if there was an Anarcho Syndicalist School?
I mean, let's be honest- even if your child is perfectly darling and never a bother, the school system as it exists, while not being military school, is still problematic in a variety of ways and a lot of working class folks not only can't afford private school but can't afford home schooling either. 
So in order to get your kid education you have to put them in a system that is less designed to help students self actualize and more on molding them into cogs in the Big Machine.
But what if there were a place where working class folks could afford to send their kids to live in community and learn not only reading, writing and arithmetic but also to farm and raise food and to cook and learn recipes and engineer and build irrigation and sustainable power?
Think on that for a minute.
Think of visiting your kids on May Day or Labour Day long weekend at their school and eating food that they and their cohort, grew and prepared in community and solidarity. Think of being led around the grounds and shown the fruits of their labours as they beam with pride. Think about your kids learning a people's history of their country and not a conquerors tale. 
Think of your kids learning the history of labour and protest movements passed down through song and arts that they in turn learn to pass on.
Imagine such a place, where the school anthem is This Land is Your Land and every student knows every word of ALL the verses by heart.
Think of a place where teens natural aversion to authority gets to have an education in Anarchist theory and learn about the responsibility that comes with autonomy . How authority must meet a
burden of proof, but if you wish authority over yourself that how for you too. Where kids aren't taught to obey The Rules but to have a moral compass so they know which rules to defy and which to hold fast. A place where children learn about consent and choice. 
Imagine a place where a village of educators and mentors and coaches raise a village of honest to goodness citizens.
Take a moment and think about it.
A place as magical as Hogwarts and way more practical .
Kids would come home at certain times of year and parents would visit, but the children would learn to live in community and solidarity with each other.
Imagine that.
Heck, while we're imagining such things, imagine that the way such a place is affordable to working
people is that the parents contribute skills and labour in trade.That'd not only make it affordable to
more folks it'd mean that you could see your kids while lending your talents to the place.
We live in an age where there are no end of specialty summer camps, and prep schools and of course the cliche military school that some folks sometimes joke about.
But what if enough of the right people came together to create such a place?
A place where a village that we contributed to raised our children into socially conscious and conscientious citizens. 
The next time your teen has you needing to think about your Happy Place so you can calm down, remember you love them and do The Work of raising a decent person who not only isn't harmed by this world but who doesn't harm others as well, think about such a place.
Don't think Miltary School.
Think Anarcho Syndicalist Academy.
Think about what it would take to manifest it.
Start talking with those who you think might be a part of making it happen.
If every time a teen frustrates a parent to distraction that parent takes a moment to contemplate how
we get there we'll get there .
Believe me. This whole idea happened because me and the father of the two children I'll one day be step dad to, had a Miltary School Moment. And in a moment of pause...
Hey. What if...
Because the truth is we love the kids given to us to raise. No matter how tiring the work can be at  times. To raise kids, is to want a better future for them and in raising them we help shape what that
future will be.
Raising kids well is a revolutionary act. Instead of warehousing our kids in any of the available options what a thing it would be if we took home schooling to a community sized level.
I don't pretend to have the whole idea fully formed here.
But I'm putting it out there so folks can think and converse about it.
It takes a village.

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