Making the Better Choice

Thinking of "better choices" instead of "RIGHT choices" is an easy step to a world of other easy steps.
—Sandra Dodd

Pam Sorooshian wrote:

My suggestion to you is to focus on making a "better" choice each time you can. I think that was the most helpful advice I got as a parent of younger kids—it was surprisingly practical and encouraging to simply consider at least two choices and pick the better one. The next time, try to think of the one you did choose and then one other—pick the better one. If you make a choice you're unhappy with, after the fact, think then about what would have been a better choice—have that one "on hand" for next time.

Don't expect to be perfect, but expect yourself to be improving all the time.

Pam Sorooshian

The original, at AlwaysLearning, December 2009

Faites le meilleur choix.
Translated by Catherine Goudouchaouri

Sandra, giving examples, in 2002:

Here is a transcript of more explanation for this method of thinking of two or more things and making a conscious choice:
Don’t ever decide from one choice, you know, wait until you get two and make the better choice. And if you think “Ok, I’m either going to whack him or I’m going to yell at him,” yell at him—that was the best choice you had at that moment. And the next time, start with “yell at him."

“Ok, I'm either going to do what I did the last time or something better. I'm going to yell at him or I’m going to go in the other room for a second." Go in the other room.

And the next time, maybe your choice could be either “go in the other room” or “I’m going to take a deep breath and make a joke about it.” Make a joke.

And gradually and incrementally you come closer to the place where you want to be. Beause I don’t think anybody can just jump from a lifetime of responses and expectations and behaviors and just pick some other person and just become that person. You can’t do that.

—Sandra Dodd
You can read more, and hear it spoken, at SandraDodd.com/parentingpeacefully

Sandra, responding to the onion analogy, when someone wrote:

-=-Sometimes I think I've started to understand something but instead it's like an onion and there's another layer I didn't know I needed to understand.-=-

That's how everything good is. Every hobby, skill, pastime, has a surface and has a depth. Some things can be just surface, but parenting and unschooling last for years. And if a family can't resolve to be and do and provide better for the child than school would, then school is better.

If a family resolves to provide a better life experience then school did, then their decisions and actions should be based on that.

-=-Where does being tired change from laziness to not? Or does it not?--=-
Don't look for rules. Look for "better." Some days you won't have the energy to do your best. So find ways to have more energy, to focus, to make choices that lead you toward what you want to do, what your children need, what benefits your family most.

Parenting Peacefully

At the bottom is a transcript (thanks to Marta Pires) of a certain part of the sound file there, which is free to hear. The choices you make this week won't be as good as the choices you make next month, or next year, if you're consciously moving toward "better."

Sandra Dodd, April 6, 2015, at Radical Unschooling Info, on facebook


Photos are links

2007, on UnschoolingDiscussion (me/Sandra):
When people speak without thinking, they're speaking thoughtlessly.
Very literally so.

When people write without thinking, they're writing thoughtlessly.
No sense arguing about that. It's just better to work on being thoughtful.

In 2011, I used the quote at the top of this page for a Just Add Light post.
A gentleman, father of one, objected, and I defended my position:

That guy:

Unless we've made many of bad choices in our lives, we won't be able to know which choice will be the better one.
Sandra Dodd, August 22, 2011:
I disagree with that. People can look around them and see better and worse choices playing out in others' lives. And if you know where you want to go, you can tell "getting warm" from "getting cold" without stumbling through a lot of bad choices to figure it out.

But if (if) it's true for a parent (who might have gone through traditional parenting and traditional school), then a glowing advantage of radical unschooling will be that the same parent's child should be able to practice making better choices from a very young age, so that by the time she's to the big choices she's being thoughtful and analytical and not justifying bad choices.

The top-of-page quote is from February, 2017, and worth repeating with its link:
Thinking of "better choices" instead of "RIGHT choices" is an easy step to a world of other easy steps.
—Sandra Dodd

Getting Warm (ideas for choice-making)

Other pages on choices

the Peaceful Parenting sound file is here

Mindful Parenting