It’s a well known fact that great change doesn’t happen without some risk of failure. The people at the forefront of instituting change open themselves up to criticism and scrutiny. Because of this, it’s easier not to get involved and just continue doing our own thing, quietly and without causing a fuss.
Anonymity can be very enticing.
Real change only comes about when enough people demand it. It’s a bottom up kind of thing. People cannot demand what they don’t know about, which is why the first step toward any significant change is awareness.
And how to bring about awareness? Well, somebody has to take the initiative and speak up, step into the forefront…lead.
But then there’s that risk thing again. Being the person who stands up and says, “Hey everyone, look at this great option you have. Here’s how it might work for you. Here’s how you can do it,” is risky because what if people listen to you? And what if they don’t? Equally terrifying on both fronts.
I’m thinking about this as I prepare a new website to be boldly titled “UnschoolingNYC” because just the other day my new friend Henry Grinberg said to me, “You know, you should really be in the public eye so that more people know about what you do. If they’re like me, they probably think only fundamentalist Christian Republicans teach their kids at home. People need to know that’s not the case.”
I told him I’m working on it.
Turns out, though, that bringing unschooling to the ‘masses’ as it were, is not a popular move in some parts of our community. I chalk it up to fear, because even though unschooling is legal in all 50 states, in New York we walk a thin line and must work hard to be in compliance with state regulations. Being vocal about what we do might rock the precariously positioned boat. I get it.
But some change is worth the risk, when considering the alternatives.
In this case, the alternative is our current compulsory educational system. Just because my kids are not subjected to it doesn’t mean I can take a pass and watch other people – who might be very frustrated but unaware of their options outside of the school system – flounder around, desperate to find a lifeline to a better future for their kids. If I believe unschooling is a viable option that will allow their kids to flourish, shouldn’t I say something?
Yeah, I think so too.