"Although I speak from my own experience, I feel that no one has the right to impose his or her beliefs on another person. I will not propose to you that my way is best. The decision is up to you. If you find some point which may be suitable for you, then you can carry out experiments for yourself. If you find that it is off no use, then you can discard it." Dalai Lama...
My mind has been a whirl of activity these last few weeks.
Many thoughts swirling around - trying to make order out of chaos.
Conversations with lovely friends have thrown up topics that I thought I had dealt with but realised I still needed some clarity.
I make choices every day in how I handle the interactions I have with Milly and Alan.
I choose to allow Milly a great deal of choice in her life. I don't see her as a child who must do as I say, she is a small person who is as entitled to an opinion on where we go and what we do as Alan or I are in our family relationship. She learns more from the process of discussion and possible compromise ( because it isn't about anyone *getting their way* or *being in charge* ) in these situations than she would if she was just made to do what I say when I say it. I envisage her growing up expecting to be listened to and to have her opinions valued and to take those negotiating skills into her relationships.
I see myself as her partner rather than her boss.
I certainly don't subscribe to " children should be seen and not heard ". In time she will be able to hold a thought in her head and not need to butt into a conversation before she forgets what she was going to say. I choose to acknowledge her as soon as possible if I am in a conversation - even if that means stopping the conversation I am having - so she can say what she has to say. What she has to say is as important as anybody else. She will grow knowing her opinion counts.
I choose not to make her do chores and to treat her kindly by taking her breakfast in bed and many other little things that I don't *have* to do.
All that said - even though these are choices I make - there are still times when I get irritated, short tempered when she interrupts my conversations and times when I feel like a servant and put upon...
Over the last few days this quote and blog post have come along with just the insight I need to set things straight in my head :-)
~ Living Magically "When service comes from the heart, there is no conflict or contradiction between loving our lives and doing our work. For the natural mystic, service is not based upon duty, guilt, obligation or martyrhood. It is part of who we are, of how we freely choose to spend our days." Pure Bliss, p59.
Yes, both are making a choice. Much of it is about perspective. For so long, I was the servant, and it was miserable. It is a mindset. Often, we assume others expect us to play that role or put us in that role, but the usual reality is we choose that role. If we feel like a servant, then we need to stop believing that we are one. If we believe it, we will act upon it, and it will be reflected in our attitude and how we treat others.
Now that I see myself as one who serves, it puts the ball back in my court. It is my choice to serve or not to serve, what to do or not do, how to live, and that makes all the difference. When we realize that every decision/action in our lives is a choice, it is amazing what we are capable of doing and the beauty that radiates from it.
1. erika says:
May 23, 2011 at 8:48 am
I might add that one who is a servant may not even believe she is appreciated (when she is) or may not be appreciated because she acts like a servant, and others treat her as she acts. Whereas one who serves willingly is loved and appreciated by those who respect her. The love and appreciation isn't demanded, but it is reciprocated.
How much nicer to treat the ones you love the way you would hope to be treated.
There are times now when Milly will do things - within her skill set ;-) - for Alan or I without being asked, cups of tea are made or snacks are brought, a cold flannel soaked in vinegar ( yes it is an alternative remedy she was told of by my Mum ) is placed on my head when I have a headache. Small gestures, but given freely with love and with no expectation from us for her to do it.
We all make choices and I choose to serve willingly and lovingly.....
"Of course, a child may not know what he may need to know in ten years (who does?), but he knows, and much better than anyone else, what he wants and needs to know right now, what his mind is ready and hungry for. If we help him, or just allow him, to learn that, he will remember it, use it, build on it. If we try to make him learn something else, that we think is more important, the chances are that he won't learn it, or will learn very little of it, that he will soon forget most of what he learned, and what is worst of all, will before long lose most of his appetite for learning anything."
However we had planned a hike up a hill to find a plunge pool and the weather is never a barrier to Emily when the chance of a paddle is on offer ;-)
Off we go up the hill....
With the amount of water we had had in the last few days the falls were quite dramatic.
Half way hot chocolate.
Then onwards and upwards, through bluebell strewn landscape.
We come to the style ( as per instructions ) but couldn't see a path forward. By this time I was tiring and did not fancy going over what looked like very marshy terrain. After a dither about where to go and what to do Milly was keen to just get on and explore so we took the opposite route and found tree's to climb
and streams to be dammed.
More hot chocolate and then back home - a different route that was just as nice but much easier on the legs :-)
Past the unusual tree with another tree growing up it.
Back home in time to get things sorted for my sister and Nephew to pay us a visit.
The day had cleared up nicely and the sun came out so we were able to eat out. It soon clouded over and got too cold, so the three adults went in whilst Milly and A went exploring. A really lovely evening - just a pity poor old C ( brother in law ) was poorly and couldn't make it.
The next day dawned and was the brightest day we had had :-) After all my exertions the day before I had a migraine and Milly and I had a very chilled start to the day in the yurt whilst Al walked to Ambleside to get the paper and a few bits of food we needed.
After lunch he and Milly decided they would try to find the plunge pool. I stayed in bed but had the door open so I could still enjoy the lovely weather.
Pictures taken by Milly and Alan...
Very cold and very deep apparently.
Back home and I was feeling more human but didn't feel up to cooking so Alan went out for fish and chips and we had our daily family crossword challenge ( a part of the holiday last year that Milly really wanted to do again ) and then more of the card game of the holiday - Black jack - Milly loved it and had an uncanny amount of luck at getting 21!
We enjoyed watching a few campers setting up in the field below us. A really beautiful evening to finish our stay.
I often read over old posts and this one caught my eye today.
I found this picture whilst I was sorting some paperwork out.I remember the day it was taken.I remember how she loved to wear my boots and would spend great parts of the day clopping around in them.I had many images of the happy days we used to share and her easy going nature,her innocence and complete trust in me.Looking at this picture made me cry.
I try not to regret things,my thinking is that things happen for a reason and that we grow and learn from all experiences. I knew school wasn't right for her,in my heart I knew.But I just didn't have the confidence to follow my heart and I don't know if I will ever stop regretting that.
I am just grateful we got her out and we are now able to live this life and to help her to recover from the hurt she felt during those years.
The comments I received are words that I think many could benefit from.
Aaaaw... don't be so hard on yourself.
You're right... we learn and grow, and things happen for a reason.
Just remember that it's not fair to beat up her Mommy about it.
Love her well enough today to heal yourself. I'm sure she's recovering beautifully!
6 February 2009 01:59
Heart Rockin Mama said...
I, too, would have done things differently. We didn't listen to our hearts at first, either. But, we all do our best at every given moment. We learn and grow. Think of how great it is that Emily knows that you can admit to mistakes and make things better. It's awesome!
6 February 2009 02:47
Big hugs for you Lynn. This post is really moving and thought-provoking. Following your heart when it is telling you to do something that goes against the grain of what most people do is incredibly difficult, and no-one should feel bad for not being able to. I'm sure Emily appreciates you and the life you have created for her all the more as she can compare it to what most children have to do (ie go to school/nursery) and can be grateful that she has a mother who is brave enough to home educate her. :) xxx
6 February 2009 13:48
It takes a lot of courage to make the decision to home educate and because of that it's not a decision made lightly. You are right, everything does happen for a reason. I think you are doing a great job and Emily will look back and appreciate everything you have done to help her.
6 February 2009 21:28
lots of sympathy for how you feel Lynn *hugs
we feel like that with Naomi too. All you can do is make the most of now so that that time is well forgotten or put behind. I guess we have to have the downs to appreciate the ups :o)
7 February 2009 00:43
Hello I'm a new reader. your post struck a chord we're newly home educating and there are reminders of school everywhere, but it's the pictures of the kids when they were tiny and just starting that hurt. How little we all know when we start out as parents. Emily is very lucky to have parents who recognised that school was not working and is not compulsory, and who are now tailoring her life to suit her as an individual. Hazel xx 7 February 2009 20:21
Thank you all so much, you are all lovely:-)
There are a few pictures I have of Emily that always make me catch my breath.They are not beautifully posed artistic shots, they are ones that have seemed to capture her essence,does that make sense? The way she tilted her head and the look on her face in this one just transported me back to that time and caught me out!!
When I started out on this blog adventure I was so concerned about putting such personal "stuff" out there.I appreciate you reaching out and your words have helped a lot xx
8 February 2009 09:09
To some - this might feel like an over reaction - to others you will recognise those emotions.
I know there are a lot of people just starting out - or contemplating starting - on the home ed route.
My advice to you would be to relax and enjoy your time together, don't try to replicate school, relish in spending your days just being.
Learning happens - interests are sparked by living life.
We arrived after a very short drive from home - with a stop over at Hayes Garden world for a cuppa, cake and browse - the place is enormous!! Milly fell in love with a rabbit that reminded her of Liz and talked keenly about getting two for her 13th Birthday! By the end of the visit the idea of having a snake ( they even stock those! ) had also been talked about - we have a while til her birthday and things may change again ;-))
On to the site and after booking in at reception we headed out to the field. Ben the owner met us as we were getting out of the car. It was pouring with rain and he had his waterproofs on - but no shoes! He wanders around cutting up wood and driving his land rover barefoot - a kindred spirit for Emily ;-))
I forgot to take a picture on arrival - I was in need of oxygen half way up the steep climb and pictures were the last thing on my mind ;-)) We had managed to pack light - well lighter than last time and only had to make two trips from the car.To be fair that was cooler bags and bags of food as well so the actual clothing - soft toys and dolls - was fairly minimal. Could have packed less clothing - we didn't need the spares in case we got wet stuff - and will do next time!
A picture halfway up the approach to the Yurt...
It's a long way, but oh so worth it, for the privacy it afforded at the top....
A few pictures of the yurt after we had settled in and unpacked. The solar fairy lights come on at dusk and stay on ( if you want them too ) they give a lovely glow through the night.
The single bed hides another one underneath :-) We pull it out slightly and make a kind of sofa to sit on.
The most wonderful wood burner..
to toast your toes by :-)
I had marinaded chicken in oil, lemon and garlic before setting off from home - just in case we could sit out and BBQ. Not to be - no probs - just fried them off on the two ring hob and added a little stock and the marinade - that simmered away and reduced. The
pan then sat on top of the log burner to keep warm whilst the potatoes ( I had par boiled at home ) were fried off to make little roasties for a young lady who LOVES roasties :-) A few veg boiled up and voila supper in the glow of fairy lights...
Day two saw us walking in the rain to Ambleside along the old coffin route.
A wander round, then into the coop where we picked up some steaks and after that went shopping for a water proof for Emily, who had grown since the last time she had worn the one we brought from home! She also saw a baggy men's T Shirt she loved. It had a VW van on and was made of organic velvety soft cotton .
The route home and the clouds were gathering.
Lot's of time to stop and admire the surroundings.
And finally to trek the hill home :-)
The evening faired up and after a meal and a chill out Emily and I set off to explore the grounds.
Play area for us then.
Milly took this as I was recovering after I had managed to trip and fall flat on my behind
down this slope ! I heard an almighty crack in my ankle and thought I must have broken something!
Miraculously - apart from a slight pain when moving in a certain direction - I was fine to carry on :-)
A little tower to sit and watch the water and look out into the woods.
An interesting felted, woven curtain had been added - perfect little peepholes ...
Mum, I'll go this way and meet you back at the Yurt. OK then !
Wander back through the woods to the whooshing sound of the streams, and cascading waterfalls.