Re: Radical Unschooling Let Down

Melissa Wiley

You can casually be more attentive without forcing yourself on him. Do
it in a thousand different ways by thinking of him throughout the day
and doing some little thing for him. I just went to my daughter's room
and got a pillow off her bed and put it under her head (she's on the
couch nearby). She smiled sleepily at me and said, "I love you, Mommy."
She's 18.

Maybe just take him a soda into his room - or a monkey platter of little
things he likes. Show him by your little actions throughout the day that
you love him.
Pam, I loved this. These practical, tangible,
doable-because-they're-single-small-moments suggestions. This post reminded
me of something else you wrote which I read on Sandra's site a long time
ago. It's on the "becoming the parent you want to be" page.

You wrote:

Stop thinking about changing "for good and not just for days or moments."
That is just another thing to overwhelm you and you don't need that!

Just change the next interaction you have with the kids.

Stop reading email right now and do something "preventative" - something
that helps build your relationship with them. Fix them a little tray of
cheese and crackers and take it to them, wherever they are, unasked. Sit
down on the floor and play with them. If nothing else, just go and give each
of them a little hug and a kiss and say, "I was just thinking about how much
I love you."

Okay - so that is one good, positive interaction.

Here's the link:

That thing about the cheese and crackers really jumped out at me then,
whenever it was (years ago, I'm thinking) that I first read it. The
simplicity of it, the love and tenderness in the gesture. Such an ordinary
thing, fixing a plate of cheese and crackers, and yet--and yet--

"Take it to them, wherever they are, unasked." Anticipating a possible need,
showing love with action, not making a big deal or grand gesture out of it.
It's an active kind of love that is thinking about the other person and
putting yourself in his shoes and imagining what would make that person feel
happy and loved.

I don't know why that post gobsmacked me the way it did the first time I
read it, but it made me examine the best relationships in my life and
appreciate the magnitude of the little things people did for me, like the
way my husband always keeps our Brita water dispenser filled up. I don't
even notice it & could easily take it for granted. I'm the one home all day
drinking the water, but I bet I haven't refilled that thing more than five
times in five years--probably times he was out of town. He keeps it filled
up because he loves me. There are things like that I do for him, and for
each of my kids, some things I was doing even before I read that post and
started really thinking about how much love there can be in a simple quiet
act like bringing a plate of snacks to someone playing a video game. Ever
since I read the post, I think of it all the time, looking at my children,
thinking, What kind of cheese and crackers could I bring them right now?
It's figurative--"cheese and crackers" has become my mental code for looking
for nice little things to do for my kids. Or sometimes if I catch myself
starting to be cross or distracted, I'll think: "where's the cheese and
crackers?" It's a memory-trigger for me, a reminder to be present and nice.

So thanks, Pam, for the cheese and crackers, and Sandra, for posting it on
your site.

Lissa in San Diego, mom of six

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