How do you know who to trust?
My kids and I have had many discussions about trust over the years. We’ve talked about it in terms of everything from their on line activity to interactions with strangers and acquaintances. We’ve talked about how trust is definitely a two way street and that once a trust is broken, it can be next to impossible to completely restore it.
For unschooling families, I would say trust is at the heart of what we do and how we raise our kids. We trust that they know themselves; their minds and their interests and that with our support, encouragement and assitance, they can succeed far beyond our expectations. We trust that no path is perfect or complete but that if we are genuine and present we will find the best route for ourselves and our kids.
We practice letting go of our anxieties and fears around learning on almost a daily basis, which too is a kind of trust. Often, to bolster us in our choice of lifestyle and learning, we look to others who are living the same way or who are ahead of us on the unschooling/life learning path. From them we seek guidance, encouragement, support and leadership.
But what do we do when one of those people – a person who has actively positioned themselves as a leader and guide in our community and who has built a somewhat over-idealized reputation as such – falls from their pedestal; the pedestal to which they seemingly aspired and on which many of us willingly put them? What happens when we realize that this person might be in need of more help than many of the families she counseled and who had given her their trust?
As my husband likes to say, you have two choices: blame or learn.
Blame does no one any good. Neither does saying, “Well, she should have….” As human beings it is difficult not to think that way, especially when a trust is broken; but at some point we need to let it go and move forward.
We need to learn, and it’s a tough lesson.
Very few if any people are worthy of guru status. When we hold them up (even at their own behest) as something more, one of two things will happen: Either we set ourselves up for disappointment and disillusionment or, what might be worse, we refuse to believe the lack of perfection in our guru and continue to model ourselves – unsuccessfully – after someone who doesn’t really exist.
In the case of Dayna Martin, I do not know the exact truth of what happened over the last couple of months that culminated in some pretty disturbing blogs and Facebook posts last week. My own experience of being censored on her and Joe’s FB page was minor in comparison, although it did not seem in keeping with the message of love and respect that they preach. Based on what Dayna herself has written in the past few days, it seems that she is dealing with some major issues in her own life and I hope she can take whatever steps necessary to get better. I also hope that she reaches out to those who feel their trust was broken, no matter what the cause.
Finally, as a community I hope we learn that we all have things to contribute, opinions to share and stories to tell. I hope we learn that while it is wonderful to be supported by those more experienced than ourselves; while we can respect, admire and even look up to them as mentors, we should never expect them to have all the answers or to be perfect or ideal. As I said in my last post, we need to remember to think for ourselves, and if something a mentor or leader says doesn’t work for us, or doesn’t fit our own common sense, we need to examine that and find what does work, even if it differs from their suggestion.
Sometimes this is a difficult lesson to learn.