Living Life & Learning!

Monday, August 31, 2015

When Unschooling Works

I'm coming off of a couple of big social activities for our family (my twin sons' birthday party, a local unschooling conference) my 10 year wedding anniversary and other non-regular get togethers that my family had the chance in which to participate.  It is when I see my kids interact amongst a larger, less familiar community that I get to see what amazing human beings my children are and continue to become and it reinforces, loud and clear, that the path on which we walk is the perfect one for our family.

There is nothing more poignant that having other moms pull you aside to tell you about an interaction they had with one of your kids that made them realize our kids are very different from the average kid out there.  My children spend time thinking about their friends and how they can make their friends' experiences in our home be the best.  Whether its loading a bowl full of extra candy a few days before the party to offer up to the kids who might not have had a chance to grab an equitable stash from the broken piƱata, or to do a check in with a friend who is having an emotional moment during a visit to ensure that the friend is ok and to offer up their support.  Or maybe it's joining the adults at the table to interact in the conversation, offering up salient discussion and interesting insights into the dialog.

Sometimes the pearls of living this life are not outwardly focused interactions at all, but watching your child handle a situation with more poise and grace than the adults with whom he or she is interfacing.  To see your kid recognize that his/her point of view is being ignored and devalued because the spiral of "assumption" is well at hand.  To watch them hold their tongue so as not to be disrespectful, but knowing inside that they were not wrong, that they wish they were granted the grace to be heard without the spiral of judgement.  To recognize that they are being treated unfairly and that they are angry, and not emotionally distraught as I might have originally thought.  And in the end, watching your kid boldly reengage in the same community to show that those adults can't break his spirit.

It is these experiences that are the gifts of unschooling that no one could ever predict or strive for or "demand" of their kids.  It is the pure manifestation of living unschooling principles, treating your children with grace and respect, then watching them offer up that respect and caring to others and to demand similar from everyone (especially the adults) with which they interact.  My heart is filled with pride and love - and I am so filled with gratitude that I have been shown the path to this amazing lifestyle.

I am coming to realize that it is not unschooling per se that has enabled our family to end up here, though...  It is realizing that FEAR begets CONTROL - and that in order to unschool well, it is imperative that we parents focus on the inner work to peel the onion of our own psyches and understand from where our FEARs come.  I am so thankful that I found Parenting for Social Change. I feel it has accelerated our family's ability to see the fruits of unschooling so quickly in our tenure. I cannot thank Teresa Graham Brett enough for her boldness and insight into how to change our family dynamic and ultimately our society!!  This stuff really does work and I'm so glad I found her and her ideas so early on in our journey.  It's important to know where FEAR manifests.  FEAR makes us act in ways that runs counter to the principles of unschooling and FEAR wants us to impart influence and coercion techniques to help bring stasis back to ourselves -- no matter what the collateral damage that trails in its wake.   So it is my personal work in studying, contemplating and living the principles of of peaceful parenting and unschooling that is bearing fruit.