I believe there is a better way to serve all the beautiful children that don’t fit society’s mold!
Some of us who parent these kids will feel unsettled by the approaches used by behavioural therapists, doctors and parenting experts. Unsettled by what seems to be a prescription for a lifetime of breaking down every single skill into bite sized bits and teaching it to our kids. I can hear the the life draining out of you, getting sucked right out of you as you read this and think about it even just for a moment!
Others will feel ill at ease with the behavioural approaches used to teach children or to get them to comply. Treats for good behavior, offering rewards for learning what others believe is important. If this feels wrong in your bones then read on. If you’re like – say what? This is just simply good parenting and education, then you might want to find another author – I’m likely not your person and that is absolutely, 100% okay. You get to decide what you take in, what you want to spend your time on.
I believe ALL children, ALL adults, ALL humans, want to learn.
We humans are built for learning and growth and that’s just plain TRUE.
Universal truth, baby.
So then what if your experience is that your child doesn’t seem to want to learn? To address this question, I like to think about situations where I don’t want to learn. I’m either a) not sufficiently interested in the topic to warrant the effort, or b) I don’t feel comfortable in my skills, or c) I feel too much pressure from the instructor or too exposed by people watching.
There are, however, many things I love to learn that I do naturally – it just took me a long time to realize this was learning. I read non-fiction, I attend courses online, I do lab experiments within myself (cool, right?). This is all learning. Natural, self-motivated learning.
But my message to you actually isn’t even about the truism that learning is natural for ALL humans.
My message is that if you feel uneasy about how you are supporting your child or yourself in learning or in life in general, there is always another way.
It begins by listening to yourself and your child.
I believe you know when things aren’t working, and when there could be a better way. It feels like knots in your stomach or racing thoughts when you’re trying to go to sleep or a faint feeling of nausea. It might also feel like a haunting feeling of dread all over your body, all energy draining out of your body or countless other ways your body tries to tell you when there is incongruence between your values and your actions.
Like sending your kid to school when they are crying everyday begging you not to send them. Your whole body tells you something is not right, but your mind says “everyone goes to school you gotta go.” Or, “if you don’t go to school, how will I work to pay the bills? How will you get educated and socialized?”.
The point is, your body and your child are trying to tell you that something isn’t right. And your mind can’t hear it or acknowledge the cry for help because it believes there are no other options.
The better way involves as a very first step, creating a safe space to let your body and your child speak.
What would your wise inner voice, your gut or your kid say... if you had the courage to hear them?
If you were willing to risk the pain of not being able to do what they ask? Because maybe you can’t allow your kid to quit school. But if you don’t even let your child and your inner knowing say what they need to say then you’re permanently stuck at ground zero with absolutely no options.
Allowing your inner voice to say what it wants, hearing it and acknowledging it and THEN deciding what to do is part of growing up.
And the beautiful part is that sometimes opening just enough to let it be heard helps to take the pressure off. It sometimes (often!) even allows new possibilities to be seen.
Have you ever had the experience having an insurmountable problem tied up in knots inside of you, and when you finally let the air at it by sharing it with a friend – a solution that you hadn’t thought of bubbles up inside you? All the friend did was let you voice the problem out loud, or say what you wanted most and give it some space, and POOF!... a previously unimagined solution surfaces. It’s like magic my friends, and I suspect you’ve had that experience as I have many times.
That magic is called Presence.
And truthfully, I don’t know how it works or why it works, but I KNOW, deep in my bones, that it is powerful, and it does work.
And I also know, and want you to know, that following this way of listening to all of yourself before making a decision and opening to possibility is a much much better, more peaceful, and infinitely more respectful way to be with yourself and your child than simply following along with society’s expectations. For me, this way of listening has put me on an upward spiral of freedom and growth for me and my kid. The other way had me on what felt like an endless grind of effort and constraint.
If this feels familiar, gives you hope or if you’d like to learn more, “hit the subscribe button” as my son would say.
Hugs and love,