It's hard for an optimist like me to ever believe that perhaps my best, my all, would eventually not be enough. In the past I have always had success with hard work, though humility was never far away to remind me of my limitations. For me, humility's greatest tool has always been the element of surprise. Thankfully, reality and acceptance do eventually arrive to remind me that opportunities will only open if I find courage to let go, even if with all my heart I don't want to. I have told my children many times that when we open our eyes and open our minds, that our hearts can soon follow. Open, again and again MJ.
last year. Yet, I was so sure that learning at home with me was where my children belonged, that I just had to work a little harder to meet all their needs. And so I did. I devoted more of my time and energy into helping them find complete satisfaction. I committed myself fully, confident that together we could find a groove that worked for all of us.
There is no doubt the children gained from this. They gained a belief and a confidence in themselves that what is important to them is truly important to their parents. They have gained the courage to pursue those interests wholeheartedly, as well as communicate those interests with peers and adults alike. To see them blossom this way, having the confidence and initiative without needing permission or approval to be who they are, often inspired and encouraged me to continue in my efforts and resist old patterns of thinking----that learning should happen primarily in an institutionalized setting. But, as time passed, I began to feel imbalanced, and the less I did for myself, the more resentful I became. My children, especially my son who will be 10 soon, wanted more social interactions that despite my efforts I could not provide. They wanted more opportunities that allowed them to be independent, without my always having to find it for them. And me, I wanted more time to just relax and be more than just mom and wife. I want to be more creative, be healthier, and be more independent. My husband, seeing all of this unfold, began to encourage me to think outside of my own box of unschooling bliss, to consider that with all that the children have gained from being home with us for three years, a structured learning environment may look different now.
Meanwhile, I have also been reminded that if I am giving more than what keeps me whole and balanced, then what I am really giving is nothing. To lose myself in the needs of my children by sacrificing so much energy and eventually my confidence, to rub against the grain of personal fulfillment, does no one any good. It was a good effort to continue believing that I could make everything work, effort that I won't regret as I know I gave it my best. You get what you give, even though what comes back may not be in the package you expected.