Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing enough for my children....I'm pretty sure this is universal. Every parent wishes they had more resources to provide the right amount of activities for their children and if they have enough resources to do it all; they want more time.
In my wandering and searching for just the right amount, I started to look backwards. Way back. Long before families were run tired and ragged from activities and school work. I think somehow I've been caught up in this quest to expose my children to all the right things, sports, music, languages, fine arts....the list goes on. In this quest I find that I begin to lose something very fundamental. Freedom.
Although each and every thing on my list is beneficial, it was becoming tiresome and it was all encompassing. I was losing something, slowly it was slipping through my grasp.
Freedom. Childhood. Exploration. Self-realization.
All of a sudden my children were being told by everyone else how to do something, how to be, how to play, how to create. They weren't able to explore on their own without the pull of the piles of homework and expectations that were put upon them by all the planned activities.
This is MY experience and I AM a freedom fighter by nature. I am an explorer and a creative soul. I do not color inside the lines and I don't make a lot of schedules. SO this mama was trying to keep up with something that just rubbed me the wrong way. My children were holding up and yet pulling against the constraints of the activities.
And then one day as I was teaching World History and my kids were asking questions and it turned into this full day of exploration and talking and natural learning and my lesson plans kind of went out the window. My children had this light in their eyes and excitement over learning something new and I knew that we had grasped onto something. Freedom! The freedom to learn the way it made sense, to hold onto the information and use it in the real world. It was a scary moment to step away from the text book and learn with passion. Normally, I forget everything I learn until the end of the test and I move onto the next thing and drudge through it until I've passed someone's expectation of learning. I don't want that for my kids. I want them to grasp it, to love it, to understand it. I doubt this will happen with every subject for every child, but it could. IF we can find the freedom in it. The joy of learning another subject can come alive when we are allowed the freedom to appreciate it in our own way.
I have to remember that the best things in life are free. The freedom to allow my children to explore on their own and find adventure in the outdoors to learn by their own mistakes....is priceless.
I don't know the right rhythm for every season in our life, it changes every year. But I have learned that living and planning through the expectations of the world around me produces failure and burnout. SO I am looking back, way back to the season of life when families worked together, played together and learned from each other. When children were allowed to play until dark and explore their own passions with the freedom to make mistakes and try again. Where trophies and tournaments and loads of homework weren't the only things that filled their minds and hearts. I want to leave an openness in them that challenges their hearts to search for what's important to them.
I am challenging myself to not panic in the moment when other people's children are playing Mozart on the piano or traveling to Europe to sing songs or winning the world cup or finishing college at 15. I am settling into my own ordinary and extraordinary. I am learning to pace myself and be busy enough for my extroverts and quiet enough for my introverts. Stepping back when my schedule starts pulling me away from the freedoms I hold dear.
Find your freedom. Explore your world with abandonment of expectations!
Be wild and free mamas!