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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Everything Is Voluntary

Whenever I teach a PDR/SPEAR Seminar, I always lay out three ground rules. They are all embedded in the PDR/SPEAR curriculum, but I like explicating them so my students know.

1. We are options facilitators. 
2. Ask Questions. 
3. Everything Is Voluntary. 

That last one is what this is about.

I will not make a student do a drill, exercise, or activity they are not mentally or emotionally ready to do.

If a student does not want to do something, I won’t make them. I don’t make them give reasons, and I don’t punish them. This is non-negotiable, and I believe it’s an ethical consideration.

First—as an instructor, I am my students’ servant, not the other way around. My job is to make my students’ better.

Second—if my job as an instructor is to empower my students, particularly to empower them to take care of their bodies and minds, I can’t do that by forcing them to do things with their bodies they don’t want to do. If a student says “I’d like to sit this one out”, then I let them.

Note: there is a difference between “I am not doing this” and “I am afraid to do this, but still kind of want to.” One is an invitation to explore a challenge. The other is a full stop statement. I’m happy to help people face their challenges. I’m not going to force people into things they don’t want to do. If you’re an instructor, you shouldn’t either. If you’re a student, your instructor shouldn’t do that. 

Period.

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