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I have learned that the most gratifying and sustaining form of motivation comes from within, intrinsically. Sadly, much of our world is built on a punitive or reward based system. Most of us are doing things only to avoid pain and gain a reward.

There are countless thoughts, feelings, and variables influencing a persons’ action and self-worth. Much of these go ignored, unappreciated, refuted, shamed, criticized, rejected, etc. Our self-worth deteriorates into a distorted picture of what others think and by how we are treated. We focus on external things to not only judge our own wellbeing and value but to also make us feel better.

I have an extensive history of being successful: captain, honor roll student, summa cum laude, job promotions, Masters of Science, business owner, happily married, brilliant children, yet whenever anything goes slightly off, all I can see is a big fat “F” and feeling terrified of what other’s reactions may be. Most often people’s attempts to comfort feel dismissive or insulting. When I am in this depressive, stressed state and one exuberantly points out everything I have to be grateful for or even what I did right, it sadly only highlights my inadequacy. I even fail at being grateful and seeing my strengths. This may seem extreme yet this has been one my realities I have to face.

Now I am well aware of where this all come from as I have dedicated my life to finding peace. Fortunately, I have many more moments in peace and joy yet I am human and still get triggered.  I have a history of abuse, shame, and guilt to heal. Accepting pain and negativity was the only way to survive and still be next to the people I loved and needed the most. I know from the bottom of my heart that the cast of people in my childhood were truly doing the best they could with the resources given to them. You only know what you know and can’t give what you have never received.

I vow every day to give everyone the unconditional love and support they need to be honest, free and process their pain. Our universe, body, mind, and soul have a highly intelligent and sensitive communication system that regulates beautifully when innate resources are given time and space to do so.  It is amazing what the one’s will manifests when trusted and nurtured from beginning to end.  Love and connection is the ultimate inherent reward.

Here is a link for deeper exploration into this dynamic in a parent/child relationship:

When a Parent’s ‘I Love You’ Means ‘Do as I Say’ http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/15/health/15mind.html?_r=2


I ran across the book, SummerhillA Radical Approach to Child Rearing by A.S. Neil  in 2010 as it was cited in Norm Lee’s site http://www.nopunish.net/pwp-ch2.htm. He writes “Neill taught me how extraordinary the possibilities when we really respect children, and place our trust in them and the democratic process.” I have not read the whole book, yet it speaks my language on many levels and greatly aligned with my research and experience. It feels validating that someone has had success using a loved-based and diplomatic approach. I also just read in Becoming Attached that John Bowlby (father of attachment theory) was a fan of Summerhill and progressive education.

I aspire to create safe-heaven like Summerhill on the island I now live and my sweet home Chicago. I will create a place where all children are accepted and will get their vital needs met. They will get unconditional love and respect they deserve. Where they will be safe to express and process all their thoughts and feelings. Where there is no boss because they are free to be their own boss and given tools and opportunities to regulate themselves. We will create a homestead to nourish ourselves from food to knowledge. Emotional intelligence, mindfulness and inspired, hands-on learning are the experience.

I have faith that we will make this dream come true

We will heal and transcend the suffering, negativity and the fear

The essence of free will and trust will emanate…

Here a few random quotes from the book:

“The thoughtful parent will be shocked to realize the extent of pressure and power that he is unwittingly using against the child. This book should provide new meanings for the words love, approval, and freedom… Children reared by such methods will develop within themselves the qualities of reason, love, integrity, and courage…”

“Obviously, a school that makes active children sit at desks studying mostly useless subjects is a bad school. It is a good school only for those who believe in such a school, for those uncreative citizens who want docile, uncreative children who will fit into a civilization whose standard of success is money.”

“Self regulation implies a belief in goodness of human nature; a belief that there is not, and never was, original sin.”

“Well, we set out to make a school in which we should allow children freedom to be themselves. In order to do this, we had to renounce all discipline, all direction, all suggestion, all moral training, and all religious instruction. We have been called
brave, but it did not require courage. All it required was what we had–a complete belief in the child as a good, not an evil, being. For almost forty years, this belief in the goodness of the child has never wavered; it rather has become a final faith.”

“We are human like everyone etc, and our human frailties often come into conflict with our theories. In the average home, if a child breaks a plate, father or mother makes a fuss–the plate becoming more important than the child. In Summerhill, if a maid or a child drops a pile of plates I say nothing and my wife says nothing. Accidents are accidents. But if a child borrows a book and leaves it out in the rain, my wife gets angry because books mean much to her. In such a case, I am personally indifferent, for books have little value for me. On the other hand, my wife seems vaguely surprised when I make a fuss about a ruined chisel. I value tools but tools mean little to her.”

“I think that the Freudian emphasis on aggression is due to the study of homes and schools as they are. You cannot study canine psychology by observing the retriever on a chain. Nor can you dogmatically theorize about human psychology when humanity is on a very strong chain–one fashioned by generations of life haters.”
“To be a free soul, happy in work, happy in friendship, and happy in live, or to be a miserable bundle of conflicts, hating one’s self and hating humanity – one or the other is the legacy that parents and teachers give to every child.”

You can read the whole book here: https://trisquel.info/files/summerhill-english_1.pdf

I found a review of students who attended Summerhill: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/schools/summerhill-alumni-what-we-learnt-at-the-school-for-scandal-2373066.html

“What it did was put me off conventional schooling, but it sure as hell left me with a childlike thirst for knowledge.”

Zoe Readhead, Neill’s daughter and Summerhill’s principal since 1985, says: “In society as a whole you would be considered ‘more successful’ if you studied maths and sciences than if you took art, woodwork and drama. Who can define success? The only person who knows if they are successful is the person themselves. We produce people who feel in control of their lives and have the courage to follow their interests.”

Hussein Lucas concludes: “The key feature that sums up the distinctive nature of the Summerhill experience is the virtual absence of fear: fear of failure; fear of authority; fear of social ostracism; fear of life and the consequent failure to engage with it with a feeling of optimism and a positive outlook.”

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