Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Changing the present, healing the past, hope for the future

Often people have been resistant about the idea that unschooling involves anything more than just letting their kids play. They don't like to think it involves changing themselves.

Gradually, freedom for the children creates a new looseness in the parents, though. And as one increases, the other does too. When a parent hits a hard spot, where they feel jealousy and resentment, it's often a sign that there's a painful childhood memory that hasn't been laid out to dry yet.

When we're tempted to say "no," and we have that little internal conversation about "Why not?" that can be healing. When I'm there, I think of my mom saying no, and then I picture her having been open enough to say yes more, and I picture my childhood self having a thrill of freedom and approval. There was some freedom, and some approval, but I can imagine up a lot more of it, and shower it on my children.

Sometimes I picture my granny telling my imagined young-girl mom "Yes" a lot too, and I think maybe if my mom had had more freedom she would have more to spread around. And I hope my children will not have to think so hard when they say yes to their children.

Others have mentioned feeling lighter and less bound by "have to." It doesn't seem to matter whether they start with "educational" issues or general parenting issues, it all builds together. All the relationships get better.

photo by Sandra Dodd (hot-tub stove, open)


  1. i love this so much i don't even have enough words to say it. but what i can say is "thank you!!" again and again and again. when people say to just "let go of the past" it isn't always useful. re-imagining a past that could have been is so much more healing than just trying to let things go which often feels impossible without some sort of action or rethinking process...and healing. i don't know which comes first sometimes though. i guess i do have some words after all.

  2. Thanks, Laura. For me, the action/rethinking/healing all work together. I have comforted my "inner child" by comforting my own children. I have felt like a stronger, better person by being a stronger, better mom. Then it's not imagination, it's reality.

    Helping them grow up whole helped me feel more full and whole myself.

  3. Thank you for articulating this. It's inspiring, especially as it suggests that you can improve wherever you start from. And that you can benefit your children and your relationship with them by being compassionate to yourself. X


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