Within: A Manifesto Towards Freedom
By Sammy Kunina
Many Compleat Mother readers will feel like they’ve arrived in the arms of a dear old friend when they read this book. Ms. Kunina breastfed her two children for nine years and kept a family bed. Unlike many how-to-raise-your-kids-right books, this one takes an entirely different approach: do nothing but watch the children grow. Instead of rules, Ms. Kunina recommends freedom; instead of schooling, unschooling – letting children learn on their own.
Ms. Kunina advocates a parenting style she defines as “libertarian” that embodies recognizing the innate selfhood of children. Rather than drawing borders, setting rules and defining appropriate behavior, this book advocates letting the children determine how they will live. Please be aware, she is not advocating the Libertarian philosophy in general, but rather applying the essence of libertarianism that recognizes all people have the innate right to self-ownership.
Some may find the concepts presented to be more complicated than the usual parenting advice books. That’s because these ideas run counter to the thinking most of us have been indoctrinated with from our own childhood. What are some of these ideas? Ms. Kunina advocates allowing children to make their own choices in what to do or not do each day, to determine when to go to bed or eat, defining father, doing nothing and being whatever they want to be.
While promoting a child-led life, Ms. Kunina recognizes that she is on the path less traveled and is at war with the ideas of the majority. Compleat Mother readers can appreciate her promise: “You’re not taking them, cutting my babies out of my body, you’re not taking them away from me, off my breasts, out of my arms, not into your schools to mould them, not into your hospitals to drug them, not into your ideologies to prepare them, not into your wars to maim my sons and rape my daughters, to kill and bereave them, you’re not taking their lives; you’re not taking any part of their souls. I defend their spirit.”
Those who share the child-led philosophy will feel a soul connection with the author and the ideas presented in this book. The rest of us…well, we’d be better off using our smidges of children’s nap times, or those precious moments when the baby’s nursing to read something else. Those sensitive to adult language may find a few (just a few) words offensive. Additionally, it is difficult to ignore an underlying theme of male loathing. Where fathers fit into this child-led nirvana was not made apparent and some may find this omission concerning.
But for readers who feel a connection with the theme of Revolution Within, get ready to feel righteous as you read, knowing you are raising your children to be the best they can be, although not necessarily to be monetarily successful.
Compleat Mother readers can all agree with a quote included in Revolution Within by David Orr, author of The World Does Not Need Successful People, What Is Education For? “The plain fact is that the planet does not need more ‘successful’ people. But it does need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every shape and form…It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane.” Amen.
The book is available from Praxis Publications at L8/$14 per copy, which includes postage and handling, or in bulk order of five or more copies L5.50/$9.50. To order by credit card, telephone 011-44-1548-830987 from outside the UK
To make contact with others who share this philosophy, contact:
Libertarian Family Network
Reviewed by Roberta Waters
Joy, & Raspberry Leaves
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