I am rounding up our academic year here, and this is a reflection of my current being.
I want to be a better parent, a better mother, a better role model. I have an idea of where I would like myself to be, which personality traits to shine and which to control. I know I need to yell less. I need to stress less. I need to plan less and go with the flow. I need to relax more and stop pressuring myself and the kids. I need to let go of my anal nature and embrace laid-back sides of me.
I know all of this, but change is hard.
Before I expect my kids to change their behaviors, and there are plenty of those, I need to remember how hard it is for me to change.
I need a game plan for myself.
I tell kids not to yell, but I slip into yelling. In order for my yelling to be effective, it needs to be used sparingly, only for emergencies and truly dire situations.
I know that one of my kids is very good at mirroring and magnifying emotions around him. I need to provide positive emotions to mirror.
I know unschooling works, yet, at the back of my mind, there is a nagging thought: what if they will never master this or that? What if they are behind? What if they will grow up lazy and stupid and you will only have yourself to blame? So I plan and spring my plans on them. They recoil and resist, I get wound up, and at the end, everyone loses.
The more I look around, the more I see that what is considered "education" is just a facade. Real learning happens all the time, only it is not easily classifiable. Real learning happens when you do not want it to happen, like when you lose it, and you are too tired to do whatever it is the kids asked you to do, or you minimize their request because, it is not important. Not important to whom? It might mean the world to them.
I clearly remember the day I learned the word "egotist". My father was supposed to take me to work with him, but, for whichever reason, it did not happen. I was quite upset, because it was important for me to go with him. My mother tried reasoning and explaining that I am behaving egotistically, thinking only about myself. Well, I was! Now, in addition to being upset, I was also behaving badly.
People do swearing jars. I think I need a whole collection: yelling jar, OCD jar, pressuring jar...
As for kids: we have been doing a bit of schoolwork here and there, but all real learning has been through unschooling. Like my 2 year old learning the letters off my T-shirts and then calling them out in books, or counting the eggs while baking muffins, in English and in Hebrew.Or 6 yo asking who is Elvis, and when I explain, exclaiming that Elvisosaurus is that dinosaur with a crest and 8 yo reminding me of Hound dog on my iPod. Or 8 yo talking about terrible clef and quark cheese being made up of quarks, of course. Or 8 year old asking me what's 12 times 4, because he wants to know how many more weeks till his birthday, and then figuring out that it's the same as 6 times 8, only he does not know that one, either, so then he added up two twelves, and then added the sum. Or 8 yo asking to do Rashis, because he's excited about them. We were ion the middle of Hagar and Ishmael story. I asked him what he thought about Hagar leaving Ishmael under a bush so she does not see him die. I asked if he would do the same, he said, yes. Then I gave him the following scenario: he breaks an arm and cries and I do not come over because I do not want to see his pain. His lip quivered and he said he does not want to talk about this any more. In fact, the next day he refused to answer anything about that pasuk, too painful. I keep forgetting how sensitive he is under all that tough big boy facade.
I need to pull back and cut my ambitions.
Change is hard.