Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mothering... Naturally

I just had a thought.

Within the current unschooling discussion on my local homeschooling list, one person brought up a question, something like "Why is okay for another to 'teach' your child, and not you?" The question wasn't posed to me, but another.
I didn't think much of it (read: it never arrived to the forefront of my mind) until now.

Teaching is something I don't consciously do. I see it as throwing marshmallows. (Just in case you're not familiar with the term, many unschoolers subscribe to the philosophy that "teaching" a child something - what you think he should know before he chooses to learn it - is really just pounding something temporarily into his head. "It's like throwing marshmallows at his head and calling it 'eating'.")

Not too long ago, Eric (dh) took Trev fishing with him, they met our friend and his son, who is of a similar age to Trev.
At the end of the day, when it was time to go home, Trev just had a melt-down. He was inconsolable because they had not caught any fish.
He just couldn't let it go.
"Look, things aren't always going to go your way," said other six-year-old.
Our friend made a comment to Eric akin to "you need to spend more time with him - he's a Mama's boy," in the kindest way possible.
Eric was a bit concerned about it, wondering if Trev wasn't as equipped as he might be to handle life's woes. He was also concerned that maybe Trev needed exposure to folks outside of our same-thinking philosophy.

I went back and forth on this one for quite a while. Still do, probably. Not that our friend's observation had merit, of course!, just Should I ever speak to him, again? :)

My son plays computer games that have requirements - ie, you have to complete level one before you move on to level two.
I don't necessarily mind it.
Many games operate on reward systems. Stickers, trophies, leadership keys, etc.
Whatever, I think.
In this aspect, I am quite comfortable with letting another teach my children.

So what's the difference???

I've mentioned before that Amanda of Soule Mama said something relatively recently about her not being too keen on parenting books, because they don't focus on the heart of parenting - ie practicing being mindful.
I thought it was a beautiful statement, and quite liberating.

Today, as I have these thoughts drifting and flashing through my head, I begin to consider a few things.

Well, in response to the question "why is it okay for another to teach your child?" and "What do you consider natural circumstances?, for you are responsible for the groceries, too, so that is a circumstance that you've imposed" a few things come to mind.

First is - Well, I have no desire to protect him from everything.
Secondly, I cannot even begin to provide my child with every possession and experience on this planet, in order for him to choose what suits him, and what does not.
I do consider these hindrances natural circumstances.
I know my children.
I pay attention to their likes and dislikes.
The point is not to remove all limits and challenges of life, but to be supporting as I am able amidst those challenges (including my own preferences that may be conflicting).

Following this trail of thoughts is... (a doozy)
So what about your mother, then?
Why do you feel it necessary to correct the way she interacts with your children, and why do you get angry at her for not being more open-minded?
(keep in mind that while my mother has issues, she would never, I don't believe, abuse physically or emotionally my children.)

Isn't She a natural circumstance, also?

Yes, actually, she is.

And now... as we're back from getting our tree, these thoughts to be continued tomorrow. :)

1 comment:

whimsigal said...

I'm eagerly awaiting the continuation of this post, friend. This is something that I think about, too. Ryan would have been like Trev, upset and melting down, and my father would have made a comment like your friend which I, in turn would have taken extremely personally.

Please, continue!!