I would like to talk about “letting go”. We all have our own educational philosophies and I’m not preaching or pushing any particular one on any of you.
We homeschool. My son is 16, is at the end of his grade 10 year and the year didn’t go according to plan.
The plan was to get the 10 level courses done along with some extracurriculars and be right-on-schedule. That’s what this mama likes. Her children to be on schedule. Who’s schedule? I dunno. Let’s see…THOSE kids over there. THEY already have their own companies and are musical geniuses. They’re awesome at sports and have a tonne of friends. They’re reading the Iliad for fun, are hard workers and never waste time on computer games. In fact, the only time they play them is when friends are over and even then, they’d rather be outside building a cabin in their back yard. But most of all…they are motivated individuals with a clear view of what they want after highschool and they make the effort it takes to get there.
That ^ is what I’m working to let go of. The ideal. And, btw, I do know kids who hold many of those qualities and they’re awesome. They rock! YAYYY them! This is not to diminish them. I’m proud to know them. I’m addressing the pervasive comparison bug that is actually very unfair to the high achievers of the world. They shouldn’t dim their light to make someone else shine. Not EVER.
The thing is I didn’t even know that I held onto that ideal and letting it go has become one of my biggest hurdles as a parent. Letting go of that ideal and accepting my child as-they-are has taken a surprising turn. I can only let go of the ideal I have of my children when I let go of the one I have of me. And therein lies the rub.
Acceptance of who my child is, how they are in the world, what they think and say, and how they learn is anything but a passive process. It’s a choice in every situation. A LETTING GO.
This is what it feels like to accept my child in a particular moment: In order for me not to push my agenda onto them, it’s as if I am allowing them to ruin their ENTIRE lives. That’s the feeling.
Example: an opportunity comes up for them that I think would be great and they don’t want to go. I’m thinking, “If they don’t go, they will never learn to push themselves. Not EVER”. If they fail a class it translates to, “They are FAILURES!” If they dare to talk back to me it becomes, “They will be disrespectful people and no one will ever want to hire them. They will become homeless and die alone!”
How can I just accept them when their very LIVES are at stake!?!
So…I am willing to let them ruin their entire lives in order for me to listen to them right now.
Sound crazy? It’s the mind game I play with myself in order to ease the constant urge I have to push my agenda onto my children. I intend to be the kind of parent they need – not make them be the kind of child I need.
A balance would be beautiful. One I strive for. Encouraging while accepting. Giving a nudge in a direction while not outright shoving. Guiding while not dictating. Talking and hearing. That’s the tight rope of parenting. One that seems even thinner, perhaps, for the homeschooling parent especially in the highschool years.
Oooh and like that tight rope analogy, I need a net for the times I fall so I can get back up and try again.