18 July 2007

Instincts and Obligation and an Update

Well, first things first - my husband a/k/a the Fabio version of the computer geek - only without the long hair and without the rest of his body waxed of every hair - managed to get everything (we hope!) off of the hard drive on my computer. Hewlett-Packard is sending me a Fed-Ex box with shipping paid so I can send it to their repair center. I hope that we get this problem eradicated before the 1 year warranty of the darn thing is up. It must be something special about me - I do indeed have the opposite of the Midas Touch when it comes to electronic devices.

Now on to my regularly scheduled thoughts this evening:
Right now it is 10:15 pm, and Kendra decided a short while ago that she wanted to make a Chai cake she found in a recipe book yesterday - the chai flavor being her favorite and all. She asked if she could - and I hate to say it but I really struggled to say yes. You see, I am learning to live free - and accept that my kids need to live in freedom in order to blossom into the individuals that God made them to be. For Kendra, her optimum, peak-performance time is night. It has been since she was a baby. What upsets me is that I have to fight everything in myself so hard to allow them this freedom. I don't want a mess, or the noise, or the questions that will come with baking an unfamiliar recipe. But what my daughter needs to do is create - try her hand at something new. I grew up with an early bedtime, waking up every morning to the demands of an alarm clock or someone else's idea of what I should do and when, making my bed before I left my room, and following "the plan". This is very responsible, and there are likely quite a few of you reading this thinking, "what on earth does she think is wrong with that?" This routine may create an obedient, well-regulated, societally oriented person, but it will never facilitate the extraordinary. When I was in high school my life was school and work. I was a talented writer - but my homework assignments, even in the creative writing class that I loved, were delegated to an item to cross of the never-ending list of things that I was obligated to do. There was no joy, no searching out the world around me with wonder.
I watch television shows like the Gilmore Girls and see the college bound Rory that I adore, however, I find it supremely unrealistic. Rory is involved in about a zillion extra-curricular activities, has breakfast every morning before catching the bus with her mother at the local diner, participates in everything that is going on in the community, has a boyfriend, a best friend and reads constantly - not light reading either - Russian authors, and classics like Shakespeare, all while maintaining a grade point average to keep her at the top of her class. I am sorry but no real human can maintain all of that - but yet most of our society models their lives after what they see on the boob tube. I imagine many families watch the Gilmore Girls and feel inferior because their kids and families aren't doing all of that.
What I want is to create space in our lives for my kids to grow, branch out, try their wings. It is counter to everything I have ever learned. It reminds me of learning to breathe - it should come naturally - but when we are anxious or under pressure - we tend to hold our breath. I have been holding my breath my whole life waiting to learn this lesson - for them and for me. It is what unschooling is about - inhale - exhale - inhale - exhale.


  1. I LOVE this part:
    It is what unschooling is about - inhale - exhale - inhale - exhale.

    It really is. Although we've been unschooling for over 8 years now, I still find it hard sometimes for the same reasons as you- noise, mess, its not society's norm...

    But when I see the joy in our lives. I forget the things that tend to hold me back. That breathing is coming more instinctively every day!

    The Joyful Mom

  2. Okay, okay... I'll let them be free and all that tomorrow night. Maybe. Okay, how about when they're older? I'm okay when they're this age, right? 2,6 and almost 8... still need early bedtimes right?

    I hope you say yes.

    It sounds like we had similar school/adolescent experiences. School, homework, school, homework... I did everything in class and then got stuck with busywork to take home. Mounds of it that would keep me up past midnight but had to be at school sometimes by 7am for something or other. Yup, that's the life. But I was socialized, right? Stifled, but socialized...like a zombie.

    I'm going to bed now. I think I just wrote a crazy rant.


  3. Jewls, I love watching you flourish, you are on the path, stay on it :)
    I understand about the reluctance to start something, in my house it's at 12 or 1 am but I know the feeling. It's ok to be honest and say you know what I'm really wiped out tonight. On the other hand unschooling in action happens at all hours and in various forms and we just need to grab hold and hang on because our kids know the way to true freedom and real, natural learning. It is as easy as breathing for kids who haven't been schooled, we just need to trust the process, I'm so happy for you!!!!

  4. "This routine may create an obedient, well-regulated, societally oriented person, but it will never facilitate the extraordinary."

    I LOVE that!
    "It will never facilitate the extraordinary."

    I wouldn't trade our extraordinarily non-ordinary lives for all the "model homes" & clean kitchens in the county (or country!).

    What could possibly be of more importance than exploring life together! Supporting... encouraging... conceeding... bending ... for one another.

    Learning how to live FREE in an anal and oppressive world, together... knowing God in one another together... in the organic flow that is His Spirit. BECOMING our UNIQUE selves in HIm... freeSpirits who know how to LIVE in a dead world.

    These are the lessons and discoveries dearest to my heart... and I don't mind stepping over a million toys if that's what it takes to cross the daily thresholds into the extraordinary.

    In Love...

  5. That was very well said. We are not an unschooling family, but I completely get the 'let them flourish' concept.

    I have dd's who like to bake, and cook, and make a mess in my kitchen. But right there is my problem. MY kitchen. I had to stop thinking about it as mine. It is a room in this house for the family to use. The things in it are tools to be used for the good of the family.

    My dd's are only 8 & 10, but they love to cook and I let them. My dd even baked her own birthday cake, because she wanted to!

    You are so right about letting our kids be free. In our house it is the opposite. My kids (all 4 of them) are morning people. It is my job to make sure they get enough sleep. They won't sleep in (even my teens) so I have to make sure bedtime is reasonable. But then they're up and loud and messy in the am. I am NOT a morning person and would prefer it quite and calm in the morning.

    But it's not all about me. It is about raising my kids to be the kids God created them to be. And around here, that means loud noises in the morning, and messy kitchens. A small price to pay.

    I recently found your blog. I am enjoying it!

  6. I have very creative children, especially my independant almost 11 year old girl. I too fight the urge to "squash her down" at times as I want tidiness, order, quiet. I enjoyed this post-thanks!

  7. Well, you know how I feel about Unschooling. I believe that Extraordinary People had extraordinary childhoods. And that is what you are giving her. I think "children need structure" is another big parenting myth and there is no such obligation. I love that my kids are flexible, they stay up late naturally, but when a job or class or activity demands an early morning from them, they know how to do that too. So what is the big deal about just being where you are and enjoying what each day has to offer? How was the cake?! :) Love from the Dimwhits in WV


Awaiting your words......
♥ Juls ♥