There’s been a major shift in our home lately. I could see a sort of downward spiral happening. It was hindering our homeschool and the relationship between parent and child. As I reasearched living joyfully, living free, all the while still maintaining parental guidance and protection, I have grown closer to an eclectic mix of independant learning, unit study learning as a family, and unschooling. I used to think that they key to all of it was planning. If I mapped it all out years ahead of time I could relax and follow my plan, right? I’m a planner and I might relax once a plan was in place, but I’m also a worrier, so I don’t know that I could relax just because I have a plan in place. Only the Lord can calm me about something so important.
The best things in life aren’t things, they are relationships. With Christ and with people. I want to change so that our lives reflect and support a loving and respectful relationship with my boys. As I begin to look at schooling through a relationship lens rather than a thing-to-do lens, I see that I’ve been like a nagging seargant in many ways. In my new resolve to let go, here’s what’s happening so far… I show the boys what to do, and they understand and learn why we do what we do. That’s it. I am learning to trust that I don’t need to micro-manage my kids. I can’t be so controlling anymore. It’s making me unhappy and them unhappy. I don’t want them to feel like I am a buzzkill, for lack of a better word. I don’t want them to hear my voice and feel dread because they think a whiny, screetchy, command is coming their way. I want them to respect me. And if I want respect, I need to show respect. It’s a two way street, even with kids.
Kids deserve a voice and a time to share that voice. I don’t want to force them to eat and sleep when they truly don’t need more food and hours in bed. I want to trust them when they tell me they’ve had enough. I want my children to learn through experience when their stomachs are full, when they’ve had enough sleep -one of my children literally only needs 6 hours of sleep and he’ll stay up reading while the rest of the house sleeps. I understand that in the beginning there will be some excitement in their newfound freedom. Me and Chris may even get taken advantage of a little as they sense it as a display of weakness. But as the relationship continues with all the freedom and they see I’m no longer fighting for power with them, they will begin to relax and feel comfortable being themselves.
When kids, like mine, aren’t used to having so much freedom, they push for things that aren’t overly important, but that make them feel powerful within the family. They aren’t used to being equals with me and Dad, but with different roles. I had a heart-to-heart with God last night and felt peace in the new paradigm shift. Over time, as my little boys see me taking their needs seriously and I stop struggling against them, I am no longer fighting for power in the relationship, and that we are sticking with this new way of parenting, they will begin to feel comfortable being themselves.
The family is a shadow, or a picture of the Body of Christ, a church family. Every member gets a voice. And as the new family members join, they are to be shown the way, but not forced, silenced, or given a lower place in the family. Just as the older Christians mature and share the wisdom as elders in the church, the younger Christians find excitement in the newfound freedom, make mistakes, and find a voice. It’s a really neat. There’s not really room for dictatorship in Christ. It’s the opposite of who He is, but how many families today parent that way, ourselves included.
I am not in control of anything and the sooner I realize that, the better my life gets. Speaking loudly and barking orders does not equate control over my kids. Being aggressive and in charge does not give me control in any situation.
As forbidden fruits lose their lofty status in the newfound freedom, I am excited to see the wonderful conversations and new relationship dynamics that develop. I am glad for the revelation and happy to write about it. Have a wonderful day!