what holds us together

For many decades, an artificially induced hysteria about "basic skills"
has been the masquerade used to intimidate us into abandoning children
to a form of schooling that simply doesn't work. Behind this mask,valuable
lessons of service to a vibrant community of real human beings have been denied to the young - and all of us have been denied the reciprocities healthy adults need with children across the full spectrum of ages.....When schools consume the youth of the nation in confinement, and all the products of their labours become paper to be thrown away, there is no joy possible in the seeking of such goods. The pricing of time through grade points establishes an irrational currency by which something precious, time, is corrupted in the service of arbitrary and nonsensical urgencies."
-John Taylor Gatto, "A Different Kind of Teacher."

I've been wondering about what we lose, as communities and as human beings, by sending our children away for most of the day into schools for the majority of their childhoods. Apart from what the children gain from a life without school, I'm excited by the social implications of communities accepting children into their midst each day.
Service or gifting time to others is part of the ethos in this family. We see it as part of being part of a community, with or without natural disasters to deal with.
Cultivating generosity, love and interconnectedness just seem essential to living well with others and anyway it's usually fun and always feels good.
What better way to debunk greed and separation than to give of your time freely and where better to do it than in the exact same community as you live in. These relationships that are created in the act of gifting time can be maintained more easily and these in turn feed the rich web of community connectedness and the health and well-being of the community as a whole.

So when we can, we spend time doing things for others.
Ruby and Sky take their role seriously helping out where they can as well as spending a lot of time laughing, chatting and dancing, among other things.
A few days ago we had a load of visiting university students helping us out around Lyttelton; we collected rubble from people's access ways and used it to fill a retaining wall at the community garden. It was a thoroughly satisfying day for all involved. The lecturer and I chatted over lunch. The students were doing a day of "service education" and she informed me that this is what the girls were doing as well. Living outside of institutional definitions we see our work simply as taking responsibility for our part of our relationship with this community we live in.

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