“If you must find a teacher,
Find one under one year of age.”
I believe that every child is born full of love. Not just full but brimming over. The love fills their entire bodies and radiates out to anyone around them. We are drawn to babies to see their smiles, to bask in their wonderment at the world around them. Children can teach us so much.
Society’s belief that we must teach, instruct and make our children "better" ensures that by the time they have grown into adults much of their innate joy and love has left their cuddly, soft limbs (which are now stiff and inflexible) and no longer shines from their eyes.
Instead we should look to the children to teach us!
I thank my four children, Alex, Ishy, Tama and Amaya for everything I know about parenting and for helping me understand the Buddhist Principals of Non-Attachment, Being in the Present Moment and Impermanence.
Children let go of emotional and physical hurts easily, they have a good cry and five minutes later are happily playing again.
They have taught me to get lost in the joy of the moment instead of thinking of the future or the past.
I love that they find the fun in the act of creating not in the end product.
Just as Buddhist monks make a sand mandala that takes many, many hours that is then blown away.
Often after doing art with the kids we have nothing to show for it. The point of the exercise is to have fun, not to necessarily create an end product. The experience is in the mixing of the paints, the textures of how they feel when you squish them, the colour mixing and the spreading.
The lesson is the learning not the results. It is not the piece of paper you save that shows what they have learnt; it is their experience of the world around them that is important. And that kind of knowledge can not be saved on paper.
My goal with parenting has been to preserve the love my children were born with.
I started off just wanting to do my best for my children and soon came to the realization that doing my best for them meant not destroying the innate love and joy that was their birth right. I do this by following their lead, trusting that they know their needs and will let me know.
They let me know as infants when they wanted to feed, when they wanted to wee. They let me know when they were hungry and when they were tired.
A big lesson for me has been to let go of my expectations. Not being attached to any preconceived notions of what raising children should be like.
Not being attached to an age when they “should” stop breast feeding; an age they “should” be reading; a certain way they “should” behave.
Practicing non attachment to their behavior means not punishing because of a certain ‘bad’ behavior but finding the reason behind that behavior and helping the child solve the problem.
To me Unschooling is an extension of the principal of Attachment Parenting and also an extension of my practice of NON-attachment.
Not being attached to what people think children should learn, letting go of punitive punishments in favor of working with my kids, treating all human beings with respect no matter what their age.