can I retract that?

Sometimes I talk before I think. Sometimes I write before I think. Sometimes I think before I write, but then someone else says something that makes me think a different way, and I want to change what I originally wrote.

You know?

Last night, I was frustrated with the tone of my almost-ready-to-publish e-book. Parts of it seemed too Polly People-Pleaser, parts of it too Brash Betty, and I felt like I was walking a tightrope and ending up all Wanda Wishy-Washy.

So, I published the disclaimer that was going to go in the front of my book.

So that all of my friends who send their kids to public/private school (or even homeschool traditionally) would still love me.

Whew. It felt good to get that out of the way.

Then, one of my former students, of all people (this e-book is actually dedicated to her and her 12 classmates) had this to say:

Isn’t it the people who have made different choices who are potentially the most impacted by your work? If people are happy with having their kids in school, reading your book should, I would think, encourage them to be all the more happy that you’ve found something that works for your family. However, hopefully it also encourages people to think about issues related to family and schooling they may not have considered.

I don’t only want to surround myself with like minded people as it curbs my opportunity to learn from other people. I understand that choosing something different from mainstream society may make some people feel challenged and defensive of their own choices. I don’t know that I believe there really are wrong people to read your book. But I am hopeful that anyone who disagrees with what you publish can recognize that how you live your life is not a judgment that other people’s ways of life are inherently wrong because they educate their children differently. And that any disagreement can be done respectfully.

I don’t know if that makes sense. I’m hopeful that what you write will inspire many to think differently about school and what is right for their families. Even if it brings conviction that what they’re presently doing is the right thing.

Um, exactly. She must have had a really amazing 6th grade teacher. (Thank you, Amanda, for your kind and wise words!)

YES. Yes yes yes. That’s what I want. For people to read it and still feel confident in their own choices. Oh, how I wish that’s what would happen when people read the book. 

But, like I told Amanda, I’ve just been around the block enough to know that it is VERY difficult for people to do (see: Mommy Wars).

But maybe I need to give them more credit. Give YOU more credit. 

Why must I assume that you’re going to read the book and feel like I’m belittling you if that’s the farthest thing from my mind? The only people I’m worried about are people who know and love me, and the people who know and love me know my heart already.

I don’t give a poo about random strangers (and a few choice acquaintances) who will always find something to criticize no matter what.

And then I hear from these AMAZING (seriously, I have the best friends in the history of ever) people from all walks of life and education that want to read the book, even if they don’t fit the descriptor of my “ideal” audience.

Jonna, who works in public education but still wants to read it.

Sarah, a single working mom who can’t unschool but wants to learn more about it.

Melissa, a future homeschooler who wants to be open to others’ perspectives.

Bethany, who wants to explore options for her family.

Debbie, who has three grown children and has never heard of unschooling but is now intrigued.

Hannah, who feels like the education system in Australia has some problems.

Sharon, who has specific schooling plans for her daughter (not unschooling), but wants to read about our lives anyway.

So, forgive me for not giving your more credit. Seriously. Gonna try to have this baby birthed in the next 2 weeks or so. And I’m leaving out the disclaimer. Eek!

4 thoughts on “can I retract that?

  1. priscilla

    What’s wrong with “fully grown up” people who can’t read something without their feelings being hurt or without becoming defensive. Just read it and move on! Or, hey, don’t read it at all. It’s ridiculous that you (Marla) felt you should write a disclaimer to your book. Your literary track record speaks for itself (positively). I’ve grown weary of whiners. Take responsibility for yourselves, people. If you feel yourself capable of being a parent , then you should be capable of: making a decision for educating your children (public, private, homeschool or un-school) and reading something without going nutZ. Don’t (not you, Marla, but “some other folk,” as the saying goes) to look to others to validate your decisions, get on your knees to God in prayer.

  2. Sarah

    Retraction shows humility;) But in all seriousness…I love what Amanda wrote. Let’s listen to others and try to understand one another. Let’s QUIT saying “she’s right, and I’m wrong” and start saying “it’s not wrong or right – just different.” My kiddos are getting a great education as majority culture defines “great” – BUT will Livi and Hannah and Ava and Owen and Nina all be able to function in this world and in God’s calling for them? YES! If our goal is to raise kids who love Him – then schooled or unschooled…our kiddos will be fine:) LOVE YOU!

  3. Sharon

    No idea how old that 6th grader is now, but, wow! Amazing what she wrote. So glad, Amanda, that you shared your heart with Marla. Praying that the birthing goes as planned 😉 And, so glad you are leaving out the disclaimer. I mean, it’s your book after all. If someone wants to be offended, they can always find something, even the tiniest thing, to choose to get offended about. They also have the right to use their own brain and to decide the book may not be for them because they are too immature to be able to appreciate a view different than their own. I hope the last few sentences came across right. Meant to be encouraging to you and for you to not take it personally (near impossible to actually do though. I know it would be hard for me if I were in your shoes). As I “re-read” it, thought it might come off like I was being rude towards you. Not my intention at all. lol. Did I just kinda put a disclaimer at the end of my comment????

    1. Marla Taviano Post author

      You totally put a disclaimer at the end of your comment. See?? Feel my pain?? No, you’re totally right, and I’m 0% offended. (Amanda was in 6th grade in 1998-99, so late 20’s?)

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