I thought I'd share an incident that happened that let me know that I
am growing in the unschooling philosophy.
I was running an errand and my husband was in charge of the kids (8
and 6). Actually, he was in the den watching t.v. and the kids were
in the living room playing. When I got home, my daughter ran up to
me and said, "Mommy! (Brother) did something naughty! Hurry and
see!" My first thought was, "Oh, no. What did he do THIS time?"
Well, my daughter led me to the living room and pointed at the big
train table we have set up (it's one of those with the plain white
formica type top. The kids use if for all kinds of toys, but usually
NOT for trains!)
My son had drawn all over the top and even on the wood sides with a
permanent marker! At first, my usual response began to erupt from my
mouth, "Oh, Matthew!" (in a very dismayed voice) and then I noticed
what I was thinking and how I was about to make my son feel horrible
and afraid and guilty. I stopped for a second and really LOOKED at
his drawings. They were totally awesome! He had drawn palm trees
that looked really good and all sorts of ocean type things (he's into
the Beach Boys and sharks right now). My son had run away as soon as
I began to show the look of horror on my face. He was hiding around
the corner and peeking to see what I was doing. I smiled at him and
asked him to come tell me about his art work. He hesitantly came
over and then, when he knew I wasn't going to yell at him, happily
began explaining what all he had drawn.
After he was all finished telling me, I gently told him that he
should probably talk to me or daddy first before drawing on something
that isn't paper. I explained to him that permanent markers usually
don't come off (I don't keep permanent markers out, but evidentally,
my daughter had found one with my scrapbooking stuff and had it out
while I was gone). All three of us worked at getting the marker off
(which was nearly impossible - but finally we found nail polish
remover worked). My son actually had fun cleaning it up and making
it disappear. We never could get his name off the wood side, though!
Then I realized that I should have taken a picture of his beautiful
art work. Drats! As we were cleaning, I thought about what he may
have been thinking. He may have seen that big expanse of white and,
since he loves to draw, he probably couldn't resist the urge. I
wondered how I could help him meet his need to have a big area to
draw. Then I remembered that we have a bunch of colored dry erase
markers. I told my son that we would try a little of the dry erase
markers on the table and see if they would clean up easily. It
worked! So for the last two days, my son has been drawing an
unbelievable mural on the train table using dry erase markers. It is
a wonderful scene of shark fins coming out of an ocean. I've been
taking pictures of his progress.
I just wanted to share that it is getting a little easier to stop
some of the learned, automatic responses I usually have and replace
them with more mindful thinking.