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Blink! Think! Make Your Choice Use Your Voice

When you place your children in the care of other adults – day care providers, teachers, coaches, religious clerics, camp counselors – you trust they will be safe but you know you can’t be totally sure. When a supposedly trusted authority figure tells a child to do something wrong it is a confusing and potentially dangerous experience.

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How to

Devise pedagogical programs using age-appropriate methods for doing several things:

1. Creating an understanding of the autonomous and the agentic states and their function

Sometimes people do things they decide to do, and sometimes they do things others have told them they need to do.

What are examples of things “the person decides to do,” and what are examples of “they do what they are told”?

2. Creating awareness of the two states within the experience of those being educated

In your own life, when do you do things you decide?

When do you do things others tell you to do?

3. Creating awareness of how to self-regulate the tendencies of each state

When you decide what to do, what are the kinds of things you need to think about? (Is it safe, fair, enjoyable, hurtful to others, best way, and so forth?)

When you do what others tell you to do, what are the kinds of things you need to think about? (Who is telling you? Does he or she have the right to tell you? Is what he or she is telling you to do harmful? And so forth.)

4. Creating awareness of when to let either state be dominant

Under what conditions is it better to do what others are telling you to do?

Under what conditions is it better to question or resist what you are being told to do, even if it seems hard to refuse?

5. Creating a bridge between the states that preserves personal accountability, despite acting as an agent

When you do what you are told, why are you still responsible for what you do?

Are you always still responsible?

6. Developing the language and skills to translate that sense of accountability into speech and action

If you are not comfortable doing what you are told, how do you say so?

How do you resist doing something even when you are pressured to do it?


Read full excerpt from Intelligent Disobedience

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