Ramblings about learning, life and other stuff

Free at last- The Sudbury Valley School- 2

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One of the chapters which fascinated me most in this book is chapter 18 called “Time Enough”.

Greenberg says- The image of the creative genius is always accompanied in our stories and legends by an image of total concentration and utter disregard for time. “That’s for geniuses,” we say, with admiration. We are all in our own ways creative geniuses. We all have within us that same potential for passionate involvement, the same need to disregard the outer world’s clocks and turn our eye to our inner clocks.

Greenberg gives many examples of children taking time to do their thing. He speaks of Jacob, a 13-year-old, who spends four hours one day at the potter’s wheel not satisfied with a single pot; next day Jacob tries again and rises in 2.5 hours, finishing three specimens he likes. In the same vein, he speaks of a girl who reads a book all the way through in three days, wto children who go out for a walk in the woods and are out for four hours and one child who goes on fishing for three years! Older teenagers at the school often say, “More than anything, the school gave me the time to find myself.”

Greenberg differentiates between public time and private time, and says that public time at Sudbury is as punctual, as private time is loose. Classes, meetings and trips start exactly at the appointed time and if someone is late, they just carry on, even leaving the person behind.

Reading this chapter was a revelation to me-schooled as I have been in the “importance of time”. I could not help feeling that this was excessive indulgence, though I could feel my deep craving for such slow time, secretly feeling guilty that I even desired such a thing. Could it be that we are all a little lost, maybe more than a little lost, never having taken time out to try and find ourselves?

Interestingly, a few weeks after reading this chapter I came across a quote by Emerson- “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

So perhaps it is not irresponsible to take a long pause and breathe, and allow time enough for things, neither less nor more. Is our incessant industriousness perhaps just an excuse to keep ourselves distracted? Think about it…

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