Many of the choices we’ve made about parenting are becoming more accepted in the main-stream.
- Extended nursing
- Child-led potty training
- Cloth diapers
- Home birth (Okay, this one not becoming more accepted, but it SHOULD be!)
Ahh, homeschooling, that last one. I believe it is becoming more accepted, but, and this is a big but, it’s becoming more accepted in people’s perception of it, not necessarily the actuality of it. People who have a vision of “school-at-home,” where the children are gathered around the table, with Mom or Dad spouting forth wisdom–that feels comfortable to people. It’s wierd that you want to not send children to school, but as long as you are doing the same thing to them as school would be doing, it’s probably okay.
What if we accepted the idea that children’s hearts and minds and bodies lead them on the correct path–assuming the “correct path” is one that offers them healthy, safe, age-appropriate options. In other words, why is it that our then-two-year-old is praised and encouraged for being an “early potty-trainer,” but our seven-year-old is a concern because she isn’t reading like a second grader? Isn’t it possible that she understands her path just as well as the two year-old? And that both of them, given support, and love, and time, will both achieve all that they are capable of–and choose?
My acquaintance, Stephanie, has a fantastic blog here: http://www.throwingmarshmallows.com/. The title comes from this quote, which has always resonated with me:
“Learning can only happen when a child is interested. If he’s not interested, it’s like throwing marshmallows at his head and calling it eating.”
It has fascinated me to watch the things the children have chosen to learn: Zoe’s desire to whistle, which she now does really well, although I’m not sure why the “wolf whistle” is part of her repertoire. The Buster’s drive to be adept at both Wii games and legos. To think of him as a three-year-old, focused on getting those little pieces to attach together. And Yessa. She has been the first/earliest to potty-train, but she also has been the first to learn to dress herself, including shoes.
True, these are all “physical things,” but why should the mental exercises they are each engaging in, but that cannot be seen, be any less determined and fruit-bearing. I’ll stay this course–seeing them each as wonderfully capable of whatever they would choose to learn. Ready to assist, but not to force.
Oh, and the title of this post: Choosing the Battles. It has nothing to do with battling the children…