Only Stupid People Dont Change Their Minds
On Friday’s i do the Louisa town trip for both Acorn and Twin Oaks. This is basically a centralized shopping task, where any member of guest who wants something purchased in town fills out a pre-formatted form and slips it into the appropriate drawer in the main office at Twin Oaks (or writes it on the right clipboard at Acorn) and the town tripper goes and satisfies all the requests. If you get your request in before 9 AM, there is a 95% chance you have it where you want it by 1 PM the same day. This is a powerful and convenient system. You don’t have to handle money, you don’t have to do the accounting, you are not even expected to thank the tripper.
Last Friday i got this TOR (Twin Oaks Request)
i believe it is the first one Willow has ever written, it is certainly the first one i have ever gotten. And my immediate thought was “He might stay.”
i have always assumed that Willow would in his later teens go off and do something that might result in him never returning to the commune. In the last few years he has talked about becoming a lawyer. This is after some years of him saying he was never going to go to school. Parents who worry about their children’s college/employment plans before they are 15 are people who apparently don’t have enough to worry about. Kids change their minds.
But the emotional impact of getting this first TOR was significant. It was more than just a request for chips. It was Willow stepping into the complex set of systems which make the clockwork community of Twin Oaks work.
The last two teenagers who grew up at Twin Oaks did not go away to college, unlike the half dozen before them who all did. Instead they stayed and became adult members of the commune. [One of the most common questions we get at college speaking gigs about the communes is “What do you do about kids education?” For the college part, the answer is “We send them to college.” The community does not simply write a check for the totality of tuition, fees, room and board. Instead we go thru the entire financial aid package, do some combination of loans and grants and money from other places. But what we make sure is that any one of our kids who wants to can go to the school that they get accepted at.]
To go from a kid member to an adult member is a non-trivial jump. Your quota goes from something like 14 hours a week to 42. You need to do a three week visitor period, but you dont go thru the regular membership input process, instead, if you make full quota as a visitor after 3 weeks we simply accepted you as a member.
Until this TOR i had never really thought seriously about Willow following the lead of our most recent teens. When they became adult members they moved out of the residences where they grew up and where that their folks live, into different buildings in the community, where their parents did not live. It is worth pointing out that both of these kids continue to have fine relationships with their folks. And it is some type of vote of confidence that the commune is attractive enough to hold it’s own kids.
i am guessing Willow won’t stay. He has an adventurous streak and will perhaps go see the world, or become a lawyer, or a lion tamer. But who knows. Kids change their minds.
The title of this post comes from an interview with former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. When asked why he was seeking a second term, having initially emphatically claimed he was only interested in one term as Secretary General he replied in part “Only stupid people don’t change their minds“