11/04/2008

I Love My Life


I went to vote this morning, rolling out of bed when it was still dark to walk to the elementary school in our neighborhood. As I was standing in line, I was looking at the artwork and kid citations on the walls. Such a different experience my kids have! I was annoyed by only one thing - there was a poster about being creative, like ten tips for creativity or something like that. Among the tips: Finish what you start! and Don't go with your first idea! Think for a while, you'll probably have a better one. Agh. Creative Tips for Those Who Need to Fit In At School, it should have been called. And I think tips for being creative are awesome - if they're actually about accessing the creative part of you. But these? They were like: Rules for Being Creative... which squelches true creativity. Sometimes you want guidelines, sometimes you want to go with your first idea, and not finish what you started 'cause you don't care for it. Bleh. So, so glad to be unschooling.

There was a volunteer there, we used to be in the same babysitting co-op when Evan was small. He was (and probably still is!) a really good Dad, very caring and available. But as I was sitting, waiting in the chairs, I remembered... when I used to go to his house, I felt inferior as a parent. He and his wife were married, stable - I was a single parent. They had a TV, but only very uncomfortable chairs in front of it, so no one would be tempted to sit too long. Evan almost always showed up barefoot - he didn't care for shoes 'til he was older - and that Dad would always ask, "Where are your shoes?" I hadn't yet heard of radical unschooling; in most choices, I was following my heart about what felt right - and around them, I felt like I was coming up short. Seeing him today brought back all those feelings! I hadn't really hung out with them since Evan was really young; a couple times, when Seth was small, we saw them, but we hadn't kept in touch at all. So when I saw him today, I reverted back to feeling inferior - my last way of being around him. THEN I realized what I was feeling, and had to laugh at myself. I hadn't been an inferior parent; I was making different choices! Choices that worked for me and Evan. I didn't have support at the time - and actually, that lack of support meant I had a few years where I wasn't following my heart - but we were doing what was right for us. I was never an inferior parent.

As I was sitting there, waiting to vote for a candidate I DO truly believe in - no lesser of two evils, here! - I was filled up with love for my life. Our lives. Love for myself, too! For hanging in there, despite feeling less-than. I love our unschooling life - lack of creativity rules and all.

Writing this out, I also realized this is the kind of support I want to offer parents. Support for what they're feeling in their heart - not judgment for where they're making different choices than I would. I want to be the voice that says, "Oh, it's fine if he doesn't want to wear shoes!" There's a slight difference - support for what is (or could be) versus pointing out what's NOT - but I can feel the difference.

If I could go back in time, I'd tell my younger self: Trust yourself! It's OK if no one else is doing it that way! It's perfect! Hmmmm... I've been reading Holographic Universe - maybe I will go back and tell myself that!

about the picture: I know the ground there doesn't make sense - it just felt right.

4 comments:

David said...

You want inferior parenting? I've got your inferior parenting right here! My kids, especially my son (13yo), seem to be fairly lacking in table manners. But wait! There's more! When he was young, maybe about 5 or 6, while on a trip to the beach, we were inside a restaurant waiting for something (carryout perhaps), when he decided he had to pee. He was in the van in the parking lot and the van window was open. You can guess what happened next. Hopefully few people saw him.

I could go on, but that's quite enough for now!

carin.c said...

We need to remember to trust our gut more and go with what feels right rather than what is popular. Too bad about those creativity tips - I'll bet an art teacher didn't put that up.

carri said...

AS I walked in to vote yesterday in my pj's and Chloe in her Barbie gown, I felt a little inferior as well. I have moments like that ALL the time. It's nice to come back home and feel kind of normal. I LOVE the art you've been posting!

Serena said...

Trust in yourself. Great post...it's sad how today's society is so conditioned to be a certain way or you're frowned upon. I guess it was the same with generations prior too. When will they learn?

I haven't heard of unschooling before so not really sure what it means but, judging by your post, it sounds like a positive thing to me.