I've been thinking about something I learned about nursing a while back.
It's called 'the therapeutic relationship', and it's mentioned here:
Although it refers specifically to a healthcare practitioner and a client (once called a patient), the relationship between them should lead to a beneficial change in the client (or patient).
I was thinking that perhaps local authorities who seem to cause much turmoil in the breasts of some home educators think they have a 'therapeutic relationship' with said home educators. Or the local authorities think they should have a therapeutic relationship with those unusual characters.
I mean, it must be dreadful to have to 'engage' (how I hate the duplicity of that word) with these demanding, rejecting, feisty individualists who believe that either their children can educate themselves or that their children are better off being educated outside the state school system.
Imagine going along to a person's house, knocking at the door, and, when it's answered, saying, "Hello, here I am. I've come to help and support you and deliver a beneficent relationship wherein you, as my client, will change for the better."
I can imagine the responses. Can't you?
Even in a seemingly lovely idea like the therapeutic relationship there is a little worm at the core of the rosebud. There's the idea that, basically, buddy, you need to change: you're not doing something right, you're skeetering about thinking you're all that BUT I KNOW as the local authority person that, really, there's something not right about you.
Well, you must be wrong (or a little bit suspect) since you think you can deliver an education better than the one lots and lots of our resources and good people are serving up in school. You must be needing a therapeutic relationship with us.
Then, again, we need you too. We need to inform you that you're wrong or, if you're not too bad, we need to tell you that we'll let you get on BUT you've got to fill in consultation forms or questionnaires about what you're doing with your kids and you MUST TELL US if you need support.
And you must need support because you don't want it. BUT you must be in need of it because most of the population put their children in school and YET YOU DON'T WANT TO PUT THE SCHOOL IN CHILDREN.
You're telling us that our schools aren't good enough for you so we want the opportunity to tell you that we don't think your non-schooling is good enough for us.
You can see how and why everyone gets a trifle testy about the whole therapeutic relationship thing.
My idea is that the real therapeutic relationship rests in parents giving to their children the gift of trust (where they believe that the children can educate themselves) and the gift of time (where the children aren't dragged away from something they are in the middle of to do something else that someone else has decided they should do for no reason that is based on evidence that it's good and proper that they should do that something). Then there's the most important one: the gift of love. The sincere and honest caring that goes into home education. Love.
So when a local authority starts poking about in your life, try to feel sorry for it and wish it all the best. It needs a little love.
It needs a therapeutic relationship in its life.