My Happy Happy Children

Happiness is not a destination.
It is a method of life.~~Burton Hills

Funny thing occurred several times recently--enough to make me think about it. Typically, I don't really think about our unschooling life as I don't feel like my life is about leading people through my words--plenty of awesome wise folks in Blog World, holding torches for those on unschooling trail. Instead, I do have a passion for those I come into contact with, in our daily meanderings through life, let it be grocery stores, parks, riverbanks, health clubs, art and nature walks, movie and shopping outings. I have always been one to show through example rather than words, and this has flowed into my children, I think. Since we're on the go constantly, we have ample opportunity to converse with people about unschooling. I often find myself being watched by people for weeks/months, only to have them approach me at some point and bring up parenting. It often starts out as a complaint (typical frustration at "the children.") I just listen...and nod...lots of encouraging nodding.

Eventually, I remind them how much they do love their children. How amazing they ARE. I disagree when needed about specifics--punishment, limitations, disciplines, time-outs, etc.---most often, I don't really have to disagree. In odd contrast, I agree with them--that they love their children, and yes, they're frustrated; that they want the best for their children, and YES...they're frustrated. I ask them questions about how their style is working: How's that working for you? How could you do that differently?

Anyway...specifics aside, I've been noticing people talking to me about parenting. People that I don't even know that well, but we see them around town or at kids' activities. Now I'm starting to notice it's happening quicker--rather than taking weeks, people are talking to me almost instantly; sometimes in checkout lines!! It's gotten funny...and sad...all at the same time. Is it because I enjoy my children so much and they're curious to know why? Why are we laughing together? Don't I CARE that my kids are _________ (fill in blank)? Ain't I worried about what others think? This particularly applies since my kids are often doing something socially unacceptable, like MOVING AROUND THE STORE AND GETTING THINGS OFF THE SHELVES OR MOVING TOO MUCH AT CHECKOUT LINE. It's funny they're comfortable enough to be happy in a checkout line. Unlike the rest of people, who are like zombies...waiting their turn...quietly...conformingly...and STILL. Just like they learned in Kindergarten.

This reminds me of when the kids danced and sang while we were in line at Dean Lesher, most of us were quietly waiting our turn to enter. It was freezing--January in the Bay Area, FREEZING...RAINY...windy, cold...perfect weather for dancing-to-keep-warm. So the kids danced. Picture it: 100 people standing in line, all queued up along the building, in the SHADE, watching these girls dance/sing/laugh....away from the line, in the sidewalk, plenty of room for dancing. Nobody quite knew what to do. For awhile, I acted like I didn't know the girls; Whose kids ARE those? Nah--not really--we DO do that sometimes, just for giggles.

My kids are extremely funny; they make me laugh. When I was a teenager, I had such different thoughts about myself--for a period I wanted to fit in, have adult approval, and never EVER make a scene in public. And I wanted to like myself.

The ironic part is that my kids DO like themselves. And therefore they don't think about others' opinions of themselves. They're okay with someone not approving of them; they'd rather be true to their own thoughts and ethics.

And I love this about my kids. And apparently THIS is what reaches out to folks and makes them take notice. My kids are being true to themselves and I still enjoy them. I still want to be with them.

Happy living!

1 encouragements:

Kaylynn's Mommy said...

Nice post! Thanks for sharing!

True learning-learning that is permanent and useful,that leads to intelligent action and further learning, can arise only out of the experience, interest, and concerns of the learner.
John Holt
Real heroes are men who fall, fail and are flawed, but win out in the end because they stayed true to their ideals, beliefs and commitments.
Actor Kevin Costner

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