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106 . twin oaks community it’s like they died.Of course in the Walden Two vision,the society would be so ideal that no one would ever leave.But I believe that,even inWalden Two,it was true that childcare was just one of many jobs one could do for a short amount of time,and then move on to,say,milking the cows or gardening. . . . Children become attached. I am still deeply attached to metas who parented me since I was five. There is a lot of pain associated with that for me. I got very used to losing people. And probably the single hardest thing for me growing up was how often I had to form new attachments. . . . Now what’s also true, given the early Degania model, is that we never went without food, without clothing, without hugs, even. I was a well cared for child. If I missed a meal, it was because I hated what was being served. But in terms of attachment. . . . (47) Lee Ann Kinkade concludes that although she benefited from the emphasis on positive reinforcement, there were “major drawbacks” in the basic assumption underlying the communal child-care system as envisioned by Skinner (46–48). “Metas are not automaton scientists, and they shouldn’t be,” she insists, pointing out that people’s skills, experiences, and personalities differ. Yet this is “one of the things that Skinner really failed to see coming: that the individual relationship between, in this case, child and meta, superseded in some ways the structure of that relationship” (48). In recognizing the strong emotional bond that children and parents at Twin Oaks have come to value much more than whatever benefit there might be in a Walden Two–style ethical training,the communal child-care program virtually dissolved.Nowadays,all major decisions rest with the parents,children and adults live together, and the community’s children are either home schooled or enrolled in local public schools or in a Montessori school in Charlottesville. Degania, the former children’s building, stands deserted. 11 The Labor-Credit System the twin oakers spent the first three weeks of their communal life together without any work system at all. They were so excited about building a community that everybody just pitched in and worked as much as they possibly could. It was when the first complaints came that they set about implementing the labor-credit system as they understood it. The initiative 03.79-132_Kuhl.indd 106 3/29/05 4:02:04 PM came from one female member who did most of the housework. She resented the fact that the other women in the community did not help out and demanded that they help her do the dishes. These other women, Kinkade and her daughter Josie, were not the least bit interested in housework and were not willing to wash dishes if the men did not do so as well. It seemed to all of them that it was time for some kind of agreement. The communards knew they wanted to work under the kind of laborcredit system suggested by Skinner. So they studied Walden Two carefully to find out what they had to do next. To their dismay, they discovered that Skinner does not lay out a detailed plan of any kind. He talks about the theory of the labor-credit system, and portrays his communards chopping wood and liking it, but he does not elaborate on the practical side of such a system.Among other things,the Twin Oaks communards had trouble deciding what should be considered work. In the beginning, only dish washing was on the labor-credit system.As time progressed and the initial enthusiasm for work subsided, more and more tasks were added. “Within a month,” reports Kinkade, “we were going by the concept that every kind of work that was useful to the group (except thinking, talking, reading, and research) belonged on the labor credit system” (Kinkade, Walden 41). The first system they invented for the distribution of work operated without labor credits and went only by the hours that had to be spent on a job. Every week, the communards would sit in a circle and deal out a deck of cards with a work description and approximate time written on each card. Then everybody checked the cards they had been dealt and passed the card with the personally least desirable job on it to the person on their right. Whoever was satis...


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MARC Record
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