Thursday, August 5, 2010
When to let go
We were given three Monarch caterpillars at a homeschool meeting. You wouldn't think caterpillars are so picky with which food they eat but they are. Monarch's eat milkweed.
We were lucky enough to go through the process of caterpillar to butterfly. In the first picture, you can see one green cocoon and two caterpillars hanging upside down just about to turn. The green then turns to black and shortly after the butterflies emerge. How wonderfully beautiful. Through this process I witnessed a strong resemblance to raising my own children. You take care of them and then set them free. That is the short version of it. If you are me, you go more in depth with that thought.
I find that society is very quick to rush their little children to independence. The 1st's are celebrated with great enthusiasm. Moms hands hold baby Ruth's tiny hands as she guides her steps. A cheer erupts at a 1st tooth emerging. Baby sleeps through the night and mom gets awed "lucky you's" from friends and family. When I had Amelie and Ricky I was right in with the crowd. I was that mom rushing my babies to grow. Proud when they spoke their first word and calling Ron at work when they laughed for the first time. Sure memories are to be had there but what was I really celebrating? With my youngest children I allowed them to follow their own rhythm. I let them walk when they were ready and let Cohen decide when he was ready to use the toilet. It seems parents are in such a hurry to get them potty trained and sleeping through the night. This comes with Crying It Out Methods or Baby Sleep Training methods. This comes with accidents in pants and frustrated parents. (And maybe a few poops on the floor. Who can forget that?) Part of Unschooling is trusting in your children to know what they "need" to learn at any given time. It doesn't stop there. They eat when they are hungry (no waiting for dinner here!), they play when they want and sleep as long as they want. I allow their independence in a different way. I don't rush them into life but allow them to live their life. Too soon our children will be headed out the door into the big, wide world and we will be thinking...where did the time go?
I notice that I am very On with my children. Some may say I am overprotective or overbearing. I am THAT parent who is always there allowing my children to come to me if they need. I am at arms reach when my two year old is climbing high on the monkey bars. I am at ears reach when my daughter comes running into my arms in tears because her friends are being mean. I am there. I am their mom and there is no where else I would rather be. Literally. Am I hindering their independence? Am I stunting their growth? Phooey! I am their rock. I am their net when they fall...and they will fall. I am safe. I am mom.
I let go when my child is the only one in the sandbox, munching away. I let go when my child makes up a song about bums. I let go when my children drink rootbeer floats for dinner.
I am not in a rush to see them grow up and go. Why not allow our children the independence they crave (food, sleep...) and stop trying to shove their independence at them so they will grow up faster? I know I am in no hurry to let go.