We've been helping out a friend of a friend over the last couple of days.
She's studying towards some kind of Family therapy degree and needed a child to practise doing a psychological assessment on.
She asked and we agreed and what an insight it has been.
To step into the system of tests and questionaires and general mainstream assessment has been, let's just say, affirming of our life choices.
This has nothing to do with the results; we won't have them for quite a while and they are unimportant to us.
Rather it has been the process that has reminded me of what a different paradigm our family lives in to most.

A vocabulary test for the child that comes from the States.
It's 2011; can't we have a test from our own place in the world; our own words with our own images looking back at us.
A questionaire built around words such as "misbehaviour," "discipline," "naughty" and "punishment" - words we don't even use in our family; they don't make sense in our view of the child or of parenting.
What a deficit model to begin with we thought.
We couldn't answer many of the questions and thankfully the student understood and encouraged us to make comments in the margins.

As I wrote in the margins, I reflected on how in many ways we live our lives on the margin peering back at a society whose priorities often don't make sense to us.
There are many others who live on the margins but through no choice of their own.
How do they make sense of the tower of words? What do they see when they look at those images? How does the "assessment report" affect their future choices.
We tried to imagine a life defined by someone else's assessment and failing the tests constantly without fully understanding what they were asking.
We feel thankful to be comfortable where we are.
This is where life makes most sense for us and that's mostly enough for us.

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