Re: extropian kids (opinions from a non-parent)

Mark Grant (
Sat, 23 Aug 1997 15:07:51 +0100 (BST)

Kathryn Aegis ( wrote:
>>>} intellectual growth. One of the main cautions for parents
>>>} considering home-schooling is that their children must somehow be
>>>} exposed to situations in which they must negotiate disputes with
>>>} other children, and learn to assert themselves, without the

As I said, most people who hold this belief seem caught up in the myth of
"childhood innocence". You seem to be under the impression that kids are
somehow rational, civilised people with whom you can "negotiate
disputes", and ignore the rather obvious fact that most kids are far more
vicious and irrational than most adults.

>>How does the weakest boy in the class negotiate with a pack of 8
>>apparently intent on beating him up? That was part of my childhood.

>I made it very clear in
>the sentence following my statement above that adults should step
>into a situation that is dangerous for the child.

Of course, in my experience the adults would do no such thing. Either
they believed, as you do, that kids should be left to fend for
themselves, or they just couldn't care less. None of our complaints to
teachers had any long-term effect on the vicious thugs, and in many cases
made the situation worse by giving them a reason to 'get even' with us.

The only reliable method we found to deal with them was to throw a knife
at their leader's head (which would, of course, have got us in deep shit
if they'd reported it to any teachers); they stopped messing with us
after that. Frankly I can't think of anything worse for a kid than to put
them in a situation where they're threatened daily by vicious thugs, can
do nothing whatsoever about it without potentially getting into real
trouble themselves, and can't even get an adult to help.

>Your example does
>nothing to obviate the need for crucial socialization into
>assertiveness skills, and I also never stated that a home schooling
>parent could not provide those settings necessary for that type of

I agree that a home-schooling parent probably couldn't provide the
settings required to learn such "moron management" skills. I strongly
disagree that I or any kid of mine have a need for such skills. What they
need is experience of dealing with the kind of reasonably civilised and
rational adults who they will be working with in the future. What better
way to do that than to spend time with those kind of adults?

>Also, one need not "throw onto a playground" any child for that child
>to encounter bullies or other threatening types, and certainly some
>sort of training is necessary for every child to deal with bad

So send them on a martial arts or Practical Pistol course, where they can
learn those skills without being beaten up by vicious thugs. Otherwise,
to take your comments to their logical conclusion, we should drop our
kids off in Watts at an early age and let them find their own way home.
If any of them don't come back, well, that's just "evolution in action".