This spring, Boy 1 (the 8-year-old) will start a new class for homeschoolers. Once a week, he will go to a 12-acre farm and do everything from caring for horses to fort building to creative writing. I was so thrilled to find this opportunity for him. Between activities organized by our homeschool organization and other extracurricular stuff, he already has several short, focused group activities along with free play time with friends.
I was looking for one more thing: a place for him to be with a consistent group of kids for a longer stretch of time working on varied projects—ideally in a semi-structured, nature-based environment with a whole-child approach. Then I heard about a weekly program called Earth Kids. BAM. For this, I will happily make the 45-minute trek every week. And I’m looking forward to some one-on-one time with Boy 2 (the almost 5-year-old), hanging out in the local library or park while his brother is in class.
The first step for enrollment was to fill out a questionnaire about my child and our family. Given the teacher’s philosophy and offerings, I wasn’t surprised to receive a list of interesting, thought-provoking questions. Here’s the one that stopped me dead in my tracks:
“What do you want for your child’s life?”
It doesn’t get any more open-ended than that, does it?
If I approached this questionnaire true to form, I would have written paragraphs in response to each question. Obviously, you could write pages to answer this particular one. For me, it was going to be hard not to. So I decided to challenge myself to keep it very short by distilling it down to the essence.
Here’s what I came up with:
I want him to feel free to be who he is and to have compassion and connection to others.
I thought about it later, and realized I could shorten it even more and still cover everything. I believe compassion and connection are at the center of all our hearts, if we are free to access those qualities and be who we truly are. So really, all that needs to be said is that I want my child to feel free to be who he is.
I’m grateful I was given the opportunity to go through this exercise. It has simplified and added some clarity to my parenting. When I feel stuck in fear and negativity, a little uncertain, or totally lost, I can practice returning to this as a guiding principle. I’ve tried it a few times, and it has moved me beyond the details of the current situation into remembering the big picture as well—just enough of a shift to help me collect myself and respond rather than react. Sometimes 😉
In as few words as you can manage, what do you want for your child’s life?
We can help each other stay focused on what is most important. If you want to play, please share what you came up with in the comments!
© Camille Williams and Wake Up, Mama! 2015