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Episode 178 - Tomis Parker, Trusting Children for Social Change

Tomis have been facilitating in Self-Directed Education environments since 2009. He helped birth the first Agile Learning Center in NYC and served as the Director for three years. He now live in Charlotte, NC where he works and plays at ALC Mosaic. He wants to help organize a coherent movement for Self-Directed Education, because he believes trusting children is the most powerful catalyst for social change. Websites:

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"All the things it just seems like adults knew were madness and it didn't make sense and were crazy or were illogical things to be doing are just part of the way it works. You're just suppose to accept it and do that and fit into the world. For me the lightbulb was like, 'what does education look like, what does life look like, if we are telling ourselves and telling our kids that it's hasn't actually happened yet but that we are creating it moment by moment and that we're responsible for a reality for what's going on?' The goal isn't to become complicit with it {schooling} but to be an active creator of it {education}."

"I initially thought, this concept of 'trusting kids' essentially can work for everyone. And I think that it can work for everyone, once "everyone" is actually ready and interested in trusting kids but you can't just say, 'oh yeah, I want self-directed education for myself, for my kids, and my family,' without actually doing the work to orient yourself and your paradigm to that [self-directed education]." "Something we write about a good bit is the importance of 'relationships' in this work and viewing conflict as opportunities rather than problems and that friction becomes the teacher." "Life is play and the idea isn't to win it but to keep the game going. It's kind of inspired by the book, "Finite and Infinite Games" by James Carse "In terms of the overall arc of trusting kids and seeing conflict as an opportunity, seeing "bad choices" as an opportunity...this is kind of fundamental to this new ideas... we are all going to make mistakes in life forever, that's actually how you grow, that this a catalyst for growth. How do we approach that [correcting mistakes]? What tools and practices do you want to have in our lives to make sure we're seeing that is growth? How do we approach that as parents and facilitators in the spaces as well, so that it's not about making sure everyone's doing awesome all the time or feeling great all the time...but how do you support people if they are going through [difficult] things." "Being humble as an individual yourself can help you see your kids in a way that you're not trying to get them to be all the things that you're not able to be."

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