"People who make careers out of helping others --
sometimes at great sacrifice, often not --
usually don't like to hear that those others might get along fine,
might even get along better, without their help."
John Holt
(1923-1985) American author and educator, proponent of homeschooling, and pioneer in youth rights theory
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Reader comments about this quote:
lets just take this to its limit, heck, those home schooled children don't really need their parents either, they will get along just fine if we just toss them out on the street at birth to fend for themselves... makes about as much sense as his quote...
 -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
    I'm with Anon from Reston on this one. I'm sure some do-gooder some where has overstepped their bounds but it has to be the exception.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Home schooled children are in a natural environment with their natural parents who are their natural teachers. As opposed to small insignificant people trying to be big important people by telling everyone else how to live...according to them! And we sure as hell would get along better without bureaucratic "do gooders" imposing themselves into every single little aspect of our lives. I think this quote stands very well on its own.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    If someone is struggling with a problem and I offer to help the other has the choice to accept the help or not accept. If he accepts then I do my best to help. If he does not accept it never crosses my mind that I "don't like to hear that". It's his choice, free to make it. If he makes a mistake an makes the problem worse that is good in its own right. Mistakes happen for us to learn from. The important part is he had free choice. The attacks from government on home schooling are just another attempt to strip the freedom of choice from America.
     -- Dan     
    Some times,yes.Sometimes no. It all depends on the individual.As all things do.
     -- Me Again     
    An overly helpful person may have an exagerated view of themselves and a low opinion of others thinking they all need their help. I am struggling with a family issue of a doting mother and in return a doting son who do not know how to live their own lives. Doting is defined as "Extravagantly or foolishly fond."
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
    J Carlton and Dan thanks, my focus this morning was on all the people I've worked with doing charity work, like for Katrina, different tornado relief, food centers, etc. I totally missed government do-gooders, oops.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    There's always the rule of unintended consequences, such as when the US sends food to various countries, and in so doing depresses the market for the local farmers. Then there was the misguided thing called "Urban Renewal" which has virtually destroyed the Black family structure. Just two of many examples, but have faith, and remember the slogan,"I'm from the government and I'm here to help you".
     -- jim k, austin     
    Mike, the author of this quote is talking about people who make "careers" out of their charitable work. In other words they are not so much helping others as helping themselves at the expense of someone else. He is not talking about charitable people who freely give to those who freely accept. He is more likely talking about the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons of the world, who would turn perfectly able and competent people into victims for their own benefit.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
    This mirrors my personal experience as a student and a home-schooling father. There are plenty of options for parents to educate their children -- especially if they are willing to pay for it. Our children have attended Montessori schools and been home-schooled alone at home and with other children in a 'little red school house.' The quote rings true -- there are a lot of people who take their service very seriously, but I think we can all get along without it. If our children were actually conditioned to go to the library for their education and meet with others to discuss, the benefits would be immense. Education is important, but when obedience becomes the primary creed, then it's time to find a different service provider. Let reason, logic, and compassion lead the way. I guess my children are naturally curious, so they need little direction from us. They don't need to be threatened to do their chores, only reminded that if the dishes aren't washed, we won't have any clean plates. I only wish I had been given that opportunity.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    jim, Ken, and Archer, said well, thanks, that reflects my greater sentiments.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
     -- warren, olathe      
    Kids are already isolated from the rest of the world, and this would really set them apart. They now suffer more mental and health problems than ever before - this would just be the death Knell.
     -- RobertSRQ     
    Mike, in all honesty I wasn't really thinking in terms of honest charity or relief work. I suppose I was focusing on government bureaucrats whom I despise. Genuine community work is a different matter altogether and one that comes naturally to good people who actually care. More power to them.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    Mike I agree with J.Carlton and Ken. Charity work "freely" giving of yourself to help others is not what the author is talking about. I'm sure the victims of Katrina appreciated the help of charitable works especially since their guardian angel of govt. did nothing. To exemplify what I mean I am reminded of the man who died when he refused help and stayed in his home when Mt. St. Helens erupted. He was offered help to get out and chose not to accept it. His choice. Just as any victim of Katrina could have refused help if they chose. I certainly wasn't disrespecting good works from people with good hearts "freely" given.
     -- Dan     
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