And he was the biggest Duck, Duck, Goose player, too! :)
You really should be very proud, Sandra.
He was just very genial and always seemed to be smiling. He lit up
the room and really made the conference more enjoyable - I am glad
that he was there.
Marty did a really great job at the talent show. Our trip was worth
it just for the talent show! He called my daughter's name early on,
and she said she wasn't ready yet. He was very gracious, and she
really appreciated it when he introduced her later and thanked her for
being patient because she was super nervous.
And you should have heard Christy's Darcy sing a capella! What a lovely,
clear voice! I think she sang Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" (I'm not
totally up on CA's song titles <g>). It was definitely worth the wait.
Oh, and Darcy did something that you learn in public speaking classes
usually somewhat later in life - she acknowledged her nervousness up front.
It's a technique to help you relax and go on. I was really impressed when
she did that, too.
> lives were touched...
As I say, I'm not intending to detract from the wonderfulness (?? is
there such a word?) of Marty , but rather to let people know that it
isn't a surprise to me - I too get comments like this about my sons.
They too are wonderful special people - and if you are unschooling your
children with love and joy your children too will bring in these comments.
My hope for the world is that one day nobody at all will notice how
great Marty and my boys are - that one day these kind of kids will be
But I'm not holding my breath!
mother of 4 boys aged 26, 23, 20, 16
And even in a world full of unschooled people, I don't think very many
people are like Marty. He really seems interested in people, and he
was the only teen that I met at the conference that exhibited this
quality. For the most part, the teens were pretty cliqueish or else
very shy. My daughter Darcy is quite shy around new people, and she
tried talking to a few of the more shy girls with little success but
didn't even attempt to talk to the others who were in tight groups.
She does not have that sort of open personality at all. Not that
there's anything wrong with it, but she's usually pretty self-absorbed
and isn't really interested in small children. My younger daughter,
on the other hand, introduced herself to anyone she could find. And
certainly not all of the unschooled kids at the conference were nice
to her. Many were too shy to talk to her or just didn't want to play
with her because they already had friends.
Plus, it's just plain nice to hear nice things about your kids! I
felt happy reading the comment you made about Darcy, Robin, so thank
you. I too was impressed and surprised by her performance since she's
never been in front of a large group of people before.
I believe this is true.
I think the value of the stories of unschooled kids (more so people
MEETING unschooled kids and talking to them) is that it dissipates
the worries people have about what will happen if parents go against
traditions, but it goes way beyond that.
When people are new to unschooling, they fear their kids won't be
The much greater likelihood is that if people go all the way into
unschooling, and really live it in their whole lives, their children
will NOT be normal, they'll be better than anyone could have
imagined. It surprised me, how cool my kids were with adults and
younger kids. I hadn't predicted that.
I think because my kids have been willing for me to share stories
about them all these years, because their lives became public, even
the negative parts, and because Marty agreed to things like my
putting the story of his online porn explorations online for
strangers to read, the story of Marty's current state is important to
the overall tracking and reporting of his life.
There was a bullying, threatening kid at a Live and Learn a few years
back. The teens handled it well, I think. I kinda wish they had
reported it while we were there and not on the way home, but the kid
wasn't a long-time unschooler. He was being a schoolkid.
That's another reason not to average all the kids and stick to
statements about how all unschooling teens are. Some have years of
school resentment and experience. And not all schoolkids are
universally the same either.
When Mary Gold first asked Marty to do this, he was afraid. And the
week before he left, he got nervous again, saying he didn't really
know how to do it, or what to do. We talked about it a little and I
encouraged him to just do his best.
It might help people to know that he wasn't calm and confident in
I'm really glad to hear he seemed at ease, because I know he didn't
start off feeling it would be easy, and if it looked easy that's
good. It will give him more confidence for future situations.
I'll share the feedback with him when he gets home.
We've known for years that Kirby had a facility with younger kids.
He ran the Pokemon league at the gaming store for a long time, and he
taught a children's karate class later. It's nice to know Marty has
that same ability.
Holly's babysitting for a two year old and ten year old (which is
very helpful, the combo, because the older sister can be so
helpful). She's liking it.
It's interesting that they can all be so good with younger children.
(They're good with people their own age and older too. *Maybe* it's
as simple as not being discriminating by age; maybe it's about having
respect or compassion or something for people regardless of age.)
Sandra Dodd wrote:
> I think the value of the stories of unschooled kids (more so people
> MEETING unschooled kids and talking to them) is that it dissipates
> the worries people have about what will happen if parents go against
> traditions, but it goes way beyond that.
Oh yes. I think it is great that you share your stories, and that your
kids a willing to have their stories told. Mine are not so keen on that
sort of public exposure.
My "so what?' reaction puzzled me for a few posts - I hadn't realized I
had reached the stage of taking my kids so much for granted! I just
thought it would be good for people to know that the abnormal in terms
of the whole of society is more common in this part of it.
My main wish is that you'd lived down the road, Sandra - so my boys
could have had the company of yours :-)
in New Zealand
Kirby is just back from a day and a half in another town where his
girlfriend goes to college. Her parents were there. He's met them
before. They all like each other. I'm kinda dying for more detailed
information, but he'll be 21 in a few months (end of July) and it's
increasingly not so much my business.
I took for granted all those years that everything they did and
thought was mine to know and hear, and because we weren't punitive or
shaming with them, it seemed true! They would tell us just about
every single thing, because it was safe. I forget not all parents
and children have that relationship. It was great. (Still great
with Holly; beginning the not-totally-as-talkative with Marty, but in
large part it's because he's not at the house as much as he used to be.)
Sandra Dodd wrote:
> I'm kinda dying for more detailed
> information, but he'll be 21 in a few months (end of July) and it's
> increasingly not so much my business.
> I took for granted all those years that everything they did and
> thought was mine to know and hear, and because we weren't punitive or
> shaming with them, it seemed true! They would tell us just about
> every single thing, because it was safe.
It's not so much that they don't tell things because they don't want you
to know - it's more that they don't realize that you'll be interested in
the stuff that to them is commonplace and boring stuff. I came upon a
quote that says:
"We think that it’s the big moments that define our lives – the wedding,
the baby, the new house, the dream job. But really, these big moments of
happiness are just the punctuation marks of our personal sagas. The
narrative is written everyday in the small, the simple and the common."
/- Sarah Ben Breathnach/
And that's the problem I have with my kids, especially the three who are
living away from home - they tell me about the big stuff, the
punctuation marks, but not always the 'small, the simple, the common'.
I remember when I went to boarding school for 2 years, and again when I
went to the UK for 18 months (a million years ago!), my mother wrote
wonderful letters, telling all the small, simple and common detail of
her life, and dad's. I didn't know what it was at the time, but I loved
getting those letters, and they helped keep homesickness at bay. Of
course, I didn't realize that she probably would have loved similarly
detailed letters from me! But now one of my sons is living far enough
away that we only see him once every couple of months, I am writing long
e-mails about the detail of our lives, 'the narrative' - of course I
have been more cunning than my mother was - I explained exactly why I am
sending these long rambling letters to him, and he is trying to write a
few letters back. However, I admit I get a lot more detail msm'ing with
I think that e-mail, msm (or windows live messenger as it calls itself
these days), texting and so on, lend themselves wonderfully to the
retention of that easy, casual chat that is the essence of 'the small,
the simple, the common'.
> Can someone tell me if i can get these posts in a daily digest
> (like in yahoogroups)?
There are two options:
> Abridged Email (No more than 1 email per day) - Get a summary of
> new activity each day
> Digest Email (Approximately 1 email per day) - Get up to 25 full
> new messages bundled into a single email
I could be wrong but I don't think you can do it with an email
command like with Yahoo. You'll need to go to the website and click
on "Edit my membership" to change it:
Luke and Hayden both 8; this part of the conversation was about
Hayden: I don't EVEN want to know how smart I'll be when I'm a
Hayden: Because I'm so smart now.
Luke: I want to be like Marty when I'm a teenager.
Hayden: Everyone wants to be like Marty.
~Jill P in Colo. (Addi 12, Luke 8)
I gasped right out loud. THANKS!
Marty's imperfection comes now:
12:30, middle of last night, my cell phone was playing me
Gilligan's Island, which means it had already "rung" (vibrated)
twice... I missed the call. It was Marty. I got up and was going
to the den so I could call him back and heard Holly talking. When I
hadn't answered he had called Holly, so I just talked to him on her
He had gotten a speeding ticket, $120, and wanted to talk to someone
about it. I'm guessing Mercedes let him drive her car, and he got a
ticket. (Sorry, Mercedes, if you're here!)
But having gotten a ticket, Marty opted to call his mom. He said the
money he had saved from working wasn't going to last as long as he'd
thought, and he needed to start thinking about getting another job.
Marty worked at the grocery store for sixteen months, full time, and
saved thousands of dollars before he quit. He was planning to maybe
get a job in summer or fall, or go to school, or maybe both. He's
still in the vague thoughts phase.
But even though I know Marty's failings and frustrations and fears,
it's really nice to hear reports of how he is when we're nowhere
near. Thanks for the reports, and thanks for that very, very sweet
You can let him know too that my husband was impressed with him too.
His almost exact words were, "Marty was one of the best talents in the
talent show. He has a great people and stage presence."
That came out of the blue at the talent show from a guy who's met very
few IRL unschoolers, other than his own children. When he said that,
I told him it was your son, since he is familiar with your name. It
was nice to be around so many other families that treated their
children with kindness. That had a nice impact.
Chamille recognized Marty from having met him a couple of years ago,
but was too shy to go and say "hi". Maybe next time she won't be so
shy. That was really hard for her, to be so shy, yet wanting to go be
with the teens. She ended up hanging out with the younger kids and
said she had fun with them. She also liked Darcy. It seemed there
were a lot of kids there by the end that kind of showed up from the
Since I am the person who sent the note about Marty, I'll tell you why *I*
As I mentioned in the original (and personal) message to Sandra, I credit
her with much of my eye-opening journey to peaceful parenting and radical
unschooling. I wanted her to know that what she does in the world has been
important to me and her kids are an example of what happens (for the most
part) if children are treated with respect and trust.
Perhaps her kids are more *special* than others and that it didn't matter
how they were treated, they'd turn out "just fine". But I doubt it. I've
learned that my child requires what Sandra promotes (and as challenging as
that might be, given dd's shiney-ness, she may need lots more of it than I
thought). So, Sandra's example and her kids' example is what I want for my
life and my child.
I just happened to have more contact with Marty because of our proximity and
I knew that he was there, on his own, without his family. I thought it
would be kind to tell Sandra how I saw it, since she was not there.
It was not meant to diminish anyone else's children. It was *my* experience
of *one* person whose mother makes a big difference in my world.
Twenty minutes ago I stopped at the grocery store nearest our house,
where Marty worked. One of the checkers pulled me out of another
line, saying "Marty's-Mom! I'll check you out over here." Really,
though, he wanted to ask me how Marty was, and tell me how much he
missed working with him, and what a great guy he was. I told him
about this feedback and he wants to read it. I told him Marty got a
ticket last night, so no doubt he'll be teased about that next time
he goes to the store. It's very nice to get positive feedback, as a
mom. I missed all the regular possibilities (report cards, school
plays, all that), so these kinds of things like someone being nice
enough to share what her husband said, or what she overheard younger
boys say, are better than big bouquets of flowers.
Another Marty vignette that's really more of a Robin Coburn vignette is
that I was chatting a bit with Kelly and Robin about my son having
difficulty connecting with other kids sometimes (something that likely
bothers me more than him unless it's an immediately frustrating thing to
him like not being able to negotiate a ride on a scooter...). Anyway,
Robin said (in her Aussie accent), "Have you met Muddy Dog? He's really
good with younger boys - maybe he can give you a hand". I replied that
I hadn't, so she turned me around to introduce me to (as I read on the
nametag) Marty Dodd ;-) So Sandra, your (I'm sure) carefully-named son
will forever be, in my mind (and Robin's accent) ... Muddy Dog ;-)
And Christy, your younger daughter made the conference very enjoyable
for my daughter - she's still talking about playing together, and every
time she talks about singing at the talent show (which is frequent) she
talks about your daughter's whistling "Row Row Row Your Boat" and dance
And Brenna had just as much fun with your daughter!
What's going on in that photo? Looks like pajama time. What is Marty
doing? This isn't what he was wearing for the talent show.