I went to the first weekend workshop of my nine-month Interpersonal Neurobiology course a couple of weeks ago. It was great in so many ways, but especially great to get my brain working hard and taking in such interesting stuff in an environment set up for whole-brain learning. Not only that, I was there as an individual, responsible only for myself. I feel like there is an awakening happening right now, some broccoli flowerets sprouting from last year’s wizened old broccoli plants. And it’s wonderful.
Taking that growth home and knowing what to do with it in the context of my life as a homeschooling mother is another thing. My desire to learn and work and be in control and be self-directed is waking up, but where does that part of me get to play during my everyday life?
This week I decided that I wanted to have more of a structure to our days. Not anything crazy, just, you know, getting dressed and brushing our teeth before 11am. Doing project work and “schooly” study in the mornings, having outings and playtime in the afternoon.
My children do not share this same desire for structure. They want to continue jumping right into whatever seems most interesting directly after breakfast and organically deciding the flow of the day as it unfolds. I was hungry for control and looking to satisfy that hunger by controlling other people. My children countered with some serious resistance, and I got totally triggered.
WHYYYYYY won’t they do what I want them to do??? WHYYYYYY am I even doing this homeschooling thing if I’m not in control??? Blleeargh!!
I’ve struggled with this before and I imagine I’ll continue struggling with it in the future. It took me 6 years to learn that I was better off learning to love my partner just as he is instead of trying to change him, but there is something about the fact that children are dependent and immature that makes me want to believe it’s OK to control them.
Yes, children need boundaries and limits. Yes, there are definitely things children need to be taught – how to have good manners, for instance. But they sure don’t want to be controlled for the sake of being controlled any more than we adults do. Teaching doesn’t have to necessarily involve control. Inspiration is far more effective.
The solution is (always) to look towards changing myself. What can I do to bring more structure and direction and control to my life without controlling my family? How can I hold my relationships with a gentle hand and at the same time push myself into areas of new growth? This is where I can focus that desire for control. I can use it to strengthen my self-control.