One of my absolutely most obsessive thoughts that I remember from long ago, that carried itself forward for several years, was “my children should be home-schooled”.
I read every education author out there that I could get my hands on. I got the books on free schools and democratic schools and private schools and specialty schools. I read about Un-Schooling, I heard speeches, I toured various schools in my city, and there were a LOT since I live in a big city.
My children started public school, and then I took them out and home-schooled.
And then I put them back in.
I think I drove my best friends BONKERS with the repetitive topic. It’s like I was gathering data, and I couldn’t get enough data. I needed more. I couldn’t feel comfortable with ANY decision. Nothing was right.
The search for the perfect decision will drive you crazy faster than trying to go to sleep with 5000 mosquitos in the same tent.
I look back on myself now and have so much compassion for that poor, distressed, anxious mother who was trying to be the BEST MOM EVER.
I wish at the time I had The Work to penetrate my thinking and stop. Just stop and look at my frightened ideas.
They looked like this: my children could be damaged, my children will be bored, they will hate learning, they won’t succeed, they will be sad, I want to be involved, I want to participate in all parts of their cute lives, bad things can happen, schools can hurt children (look at the proof)!
Dang. That was rough.
Fortunately, life circumstances and my own capacity to (barely) let go of my images of the Perfect World for Children made it so schooling became calmer over time, and it was the easiest and best choice. I needed to work.
It was a fabulous several years, home-schooling and being with my kids in many very amazing and fun activities.
Fortunately, my kids appear entirely undamaged and even very unique and interested in learning (they are now 18 and 15). My daughter attends a very alternative, tiny high school that focuses on community. My son attends university, his choice.
They are thoughtful and have their clear opinions. They are great to have discussions with about learning.
But back then I was such a *BASKET CASE*!
So much of my experience was tainted with fear. Fear of the potential abuse. Fear of the potential failure. Fear of not offering my children the most amazing, incredible childhood anyone could possibly ever imagine! OMG!
Kids will bring forward your fears in the most precise, beautiful, clear way. What you wish for them (for yourself, for people in this world) will cut you to the core.
Schools will bring up all the possibilities of pain and images of where BAD things could happen.
Doing the work on school for your kids can be like doing the work on the world, for you.
It could hurt to be here, something bad could happen, failure could occur, people can’t be trusted, wrong turns could be made.
If you get really freaked out for your kids, like I did…doing The Work can be the biggest relief you’ve ever known. You can find relief about just being alive, in this world, yourself.
I discovered that if I stopped worrying about my children, I used think it would mean that I would not be good mother. If I didn’t bend over backwards and do ANYTHING to bring them an awesome life, then I didn’t care enough.
After you do The Work on your worst fears about what could happen to your kids and what you really, really want for them and what you’re anxious about, the most amazing loosening of fear happens. At least it did for me.
“Imagine your child coming up to you and asking, ‘mom would you be okay without me?’ Now you can look into his or her eyes and say,”I love you in my life, and I’d really miss you, and I would be fine.”
“Really mom? What would you do without me?”
“Well, sweetheart, let me see. I wouldn’t have to get up so early in the morning, and I’d have the first shower, and I could go out whenever I liked. And the bottom line is that I love you in my life. Nothing can take you out of my heart, honey, ever.”
There’s no fear there. You’ve learned—and they learn—that love doesn’t mean fear.
~Byron Katie in Loving What Is
Now, I notice when I have little nervy thoughts about my kids. Is she cold? Is he getting enough sleep? Is everyone OK? And I have to laugh.
Even on the tiniest moments, the mind will start to fill in a story when it comes to children. They are 30 minutes late and it means they’re lying in a ditch, dead.
The thing is….I notice I actually don’t think that anymore. Almost never. And the reason, I think, is because I keep finding out that the WORST thing I could imagine, I can actually open to. I can let it cut this frightened me to the core, and love would still prevail.
Horrible Food Wonderful Food Weekend In-Person Intensive Seattle January 12-13, 2013 Saturday 10 – 5:30, Sunday 1:30-5:30. $215. To register click HERE now and then send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark your calendar for Breitenbush, the end of June 2013! We will be looking at all aspects of what we consider to be flaws in the body, and Un-doing our beliefs about them. Stay tuned if you’d like to join me and Susan Grace Beekman from June 26-30, 2013. You can change your internal beliefs about what you think bodies should be like….and change your entire experience of being in yours.
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