Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Unspoken Lessons

I encounter the same thing that I'd imagine a LOT of unschoolers encounter.  Supportive yet unsure family members.  Since I have very little biological family and a few less active in my life I don't even count "Jon's side" or "my side."  I'm super blessed to have awesome in-laws who have actually gone through difficult times with me with more respect and love than my own family have.  So, to separate them, to me, is useless.  No one has said they disagree with what we're doing, but I'm fairly certain most of them aren't really buying in to it and that is fine.  Everyone's being lovely and open-minded, at least in their communications with me.

So today during a Skype call, my father in law asked me(or Zane, but he was in hyperactive mode so I think it was for me), "What've you done in school today?"  My "deer-in-the-headlights" and "super cautious about this whole thing with you cause I'm not sure what you are expecting or hoping from it all" response was "Nothing, we took the day off."  But we didn't.  We just didn't learn things that I think he wants to hear about.  Rather than telling him and feeling insecure, I didn't tell him and felt insecure.  HA!  Silly me...  Good news: This very way of not standing up for one's self to an "authority figure" was a lesson for Zane today.  Read on...

I've been looking for a pretty cheap, but smooth, level, and even pool table for Jon for about a month on Craigslist.  I finally found one this weekend that looked like it'll be perfect.  It was in the basement of their house and had been purchased by Mom for the hubby and kids to play with.  Many a beer had been spilled on it and nicks all over the wood.  BUT, it was level, the felt was in good condition aside from the stains, and all the pockets were in good shape.  So, we went to pick it up today.  We loaded it up (arrgghh!  hear me roar!!), said our thank-yous, Zane got bit by their effing dog, and we went home.  We took it down from the truck bed and, with my super-nose, I smelled cat.  Bad.  Now, I smelled it while we were in their garage too, but they had an outside cat and I just figured the poor thing pees around the perimeter of the house and maybe in the garage.  I asked Jon if he smelled it too and he said yes, so we proceeded to sniff the whole thing out to distinguish if this was the smell of stinky-outside cat or cat pee.  Most was stinky-outside cat, but Jon was the lucky one and stumbled upon the pee. Damnit!  We made a quick decision to NOT keep the table and loaded it back up on the truck to bring it back to the folks who left out this major downside to their item.  Grrr.  My point?  This type of thing is VERY hard for me to do.  I struggle when speaking to any superior, be it an older adult, a parental figure in my life, a boss-man, I even get the SHAKES when pulled over by the police and I have a clean slate!  But, I took it back and I did not hesitate and I did not get scared and what the hell does this have to do with teaching Zane a lesson, you ask?  He asked why we have to go back.  I told him about the cat pee.  We got there and when the neighbor said "hi" (who he had spoken with while we picked it up) his response: "They sold us a table with pee on it."  Atta boy!  Lesson: speak up with confidence and pride when you have been done wrong.

Getting back to the dog thing...  Zane also learned that you don't go near a dog with puppies, because they are protective.  And, no I don't mean he learned this by cause and effect (duh, Shannon...can't count that as any unschooling lesson.)  When it initially happened I was upset, obviously.  In fact, I was pissed.  I was mad at myself for allowing him to stay inside the door and look at them after I told him to come out and I was mad at the people for allowing their dog to get close enough to him.  I was mad at Zane for not coming out with us when I told him to.  I was even mad at Jon for letting the kids trust dogs so easily (I am afraid, by nature but Jon'll pretty well let any dog lick either of the kids in the face and it drives me NUTS!)  Mostly, I was mad at myself.  So when it happened, my disappointment came out to him, "Honey you can't go close to dogs when you don't know them without me." We finished loading quickly, and while I was driving home I realized how crummy I had just been to him.  As soon as we got home, I asked him to come to the porch with me and put it simply, "When you got bit by that dog I think you really just needed a hug from me and I chose, instead to try to give you a lesson in dog safety, which was really bad timing.  -grabbed him for a hug-  I'm sorry you got bit.  Was it scary?" "Yeah..." "Did it hurt really bad or did it scare you more?" "It scared me more; a whole lot"  "I'm so sorry Zane that she bit you."  Simple.  How many times a day do YOU look over the lesson of love or compassion with your kids?  Is there really any lesson more important here on planet Earth?  Not only was this here, but because I chose it poorly and I failed at my first opportunity another lesson was given: You can mess up and think about it and come back and do it right.  And NOT cause anyone made you do it.

Later, we both proved the value of that event.  UN-intentionally!  Zane was playing Lego Star Wars on the computer and having a really hard time with one specific thing, which he did fine on the XBOX.  He was crying and semi-yelling about it so I came to see what was going on.  He told me what he was struggling with and I suggested he give it a break.  Nope.  He didn't want to.  He was sucked into it.  I offered my help.  Nope.  He didn't want that.  He wanted to "get better at it by trying."  So, I marched my bootay up to the kitchen, grabbed two popsicles from the freezer, and marched my bootay right back downstairs.   I sat down, half across the room with them in hand and while he was still engulfed in the game, I gave this totally rockin mini-speech:  "Zane, you know... sometimes I'm having a really hard time with something, but I just KNOW I can do it and even though I know I should stop and take a break I refuse to, cause I really, REALLY want to get it right.  Sometimes, I'm so focused on that one thing it seems like there's nothing better to do anyway.  I wish that when that happens someone would bring me a popsicle so I could just get away from what I'm doing."  Of course, at popsicle, I had his attention.  "Come over here, let's eat this popsicle and talk about dogs."  He came.  We talked a bit about dogs and their body language.  We sword-fought with our popsicles.    We enjoyed our popsicles and our time together.  And when we were done, he got back to the computer and chose a different level to play.  I NEVER MENTIONED EVEN A MERE SUGGESTION TO THAT WHILE WE ENJOYED OUR POPSICLES!!!  I was only there to distract him and enjoy him.  And he got it!  He took care of himself and made a choice to do something positive for himself and I had made the choice to parent consciously. It was a beautiful moment.

Much later, after our Skype session with Grandpa, Zane had become way overstimulated and had a rough time for probably about half an hour.  During that time he said some things, didn't listen, told me he's the boss, etc.  A general fit.  I disengaged and waited it out while doing something else until I was ready for our walk.  We started walking, still with very few words being exchanged, and about 5 minutes in or so I hear from behind me "I'm sorry for being mean and not listening and saying rude things."  "Whaddya mean Zane?" (I don't accept lip service; I want to know if he's "saying sorry" or recognizing his mistake.)  "Well, I should've listened when you told me to stop jumping around and I know I shouldn't have thrown the marbles across the room.  I didn't go upstairs cause I was too mad and then I tried to be the boss."  "Thanks Zane, that means a lot."  -hug-  "I'm really proud of you for sitting back and thinking about what happened and I'm so glad you wanted to come back to me and make it right."  Done.  Onto sticks, chipmunks, cacti, and dinosaurs.

There was even more thrown in here today too.  But, these were the big, meaningful super lessons from today.  It's really ends up being one long, all day lesson.  Which is the very point of doing all of this.  Most of us don't take the time out of our day to interact with our kids enough to see what is happening in the big picture and draw lessons from that.  We're often too busy with telling them what to do all day so we can make it through our days.  Me too, by the way.  I'm not up on a high horse telling you why you suck!  I'm telling you what I think I do that sucks and why I want to change that.  My kids matter and I want them to know that.  We can learn it all, together.  I'm really looking forward to talking with Tara on Friday and getting some help with a couple issues we've been having, including my hesitance in talking with potential nay-sayers.  I usually LOVE causing a ruckus and speaking freely about why I do what I do, but I'm having a tough time right now.

By the way...

Saturn has no hard surfaces to stand on.  Crazy cool, huh??
Giraffes are transported in custom-designed trucks that have adjustable roofs in the back to make room for their necks.  They drive and just before going under a bridge the driver has to pull over, crank the roof down slowly which gently forces the giraffe to lower their head, drive under the overpass, pull back over, crank it up to allow the giraffe to stand straight again, and on the story goes until the final destination.
Sedating a giraffe will cause it to die because it's neck head will be down to long.
Giraffes sleep standing up
A food web is different food chains intermingled in any given ecosystem
Photosynthesis (which Zane sounded out while reading!!!!) is when a plant turns sunlight, water, and air into food
Plants have the highest concentration of energy out of any living thing

No comments:

Post a Comment