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Learning in Freedom

Welcome to Learning in Freedom, a blog all about the learning adventures (and mishaps) of the Allen family. My four children are unschooled, following their interests and passions every day and living the lives of their choosing. The purpose of this blog is to share our every day lives (and my not-so-humble opinons) with anyone interested in stopping by. We hope this will give a glimpse of how natural learning unfolds from day to day......

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


"As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live. "
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Ah yes, that trust issue again. There are several after-thoughts about the conference I'd like to share. Still doing that whole sifting/processing that happens after such amazing gatherings, so I won't be able to get it all out tonight. One thing I wished we had time to explore more thoroughly was during the "Terrific Teens" talk that Erika and I did together.

A Mum was talking about recently moving towards the Radical Unschooling lifestyle and how her teen seems to be "pushing" her. Erika likened it to an invisible fence, the child being sure the old rules and boundaries are still there so she's searching for it. I like that analogy.

Joy Karim brought up the fact that the mother could just quit looking at her child's behavior as "pushing" and try to see it as simply living her life. I think that's such good advice. It's not outrageous to think that the child might be trying to see if her mother is trustworthy and trying to find just what the boundaries are at this point. But if the behavior can simply be seen as part of her LIVING and BEING and nothing more, then the mother can be more open to finding solutions rather than feeling "pushed".

I loved that thought and wanted to discuss it further but the conversation turned other directions.

If we can simply see our children as living their lives and be their partners in the journey, then even when a family is making shifts towards freedom there need not be the filter on the eyes that makes behavior look more intentional than it really is.

Seeing our children as doing their very best, helps us truly be in the moment with them rather then filtering the behavior through our own baggage. I remember adults talking about how I "tested" them and it felt SO unfair and like they didn't understand at all. I never remember intentionally "testing" anyone! I simply didn't like the way I was treated at times, nor did I agree with their judgements of my behavior.

Being with our children in the moment means letting go of our own notions of what the behavior is about. Seeking understanding allows us to connect rather than judge. And if they are "testing" the waters so to speak? Then it might be more important to let go of that idea entirely, in order to become more trustworthy for them.

Just as the road to peace is to simply BE peace, the road to trust is to simply TRUST. Trust yourself, trust your children, be trustworthy. That's it.


Blogger The Hubbs said...

I frequently read your responses on always unschooled and checked your blog out. I find your way of life inspiring as we delve deeper into RU ourselves. I appreciate your honesty and the joy you obviously have for life and living WITH your children.
Sarah from GA

8:10 AM  
Blogger Ren said...

Glad you stopped by!:)

12:33 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Hi Ren
As the mum in question I'm so glad you blogged about this. Liz and I have had some good times being together since the conference and I am trying to remember when I feel "pushed" to take a breath and not push back. It's hard to break old habits : ) but I am working on it.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Snavleys said...

I LOVE that quote!! Because so much of our trusting our children comes back to trusting ourselves! I often come back to comparing things with my relationship with my spouse, and obviously I'm talking about MY relationship, which is a healthy one. My husband definitely questions me when he is concerned for my safety or if he thinks there will be dire consequences for my decisions but ALWAYS in the long run he is there for me; my support, my cheerleader, and he is there even when I fall down. He does not control my decisions, does not see me as an adversary always "testing" him when we don't agree, and certainly doesn't try to make me like he wants me to be. Part of the reason he is so attracted to me is that I AM different than him. I want to be that same thing for my kids! Because teens REALLY TRULY are fun to be around - they rock!!

4:46 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I remember visiting my kids Great Grandma and feeling frustrated that Tyler wouldn't settle down in their house, wouldn't do as I asked, wouldn't stop this or that... and she looked at me with the sweetest eyes and said, "Ahh, he tries so hard." I think she saw the intention behind his actions, the intention to just be a kid who HAS to move alot. I saw what I thought was the "pushing me to my utmost limit" while in someone else's home, which is a trigger for me that I have to be careful about. Your point is a good one, we tend to take everything so darn personally!

3:35 PM  

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