Somewhere along the way I picked up the idea that to succeed as an unschooling parent I needed to be a super interesting human being. I can not even trace back the origin of this idea however it is there late at night when sleep eludes to taunt me. From there I often appease myself by creating a super long list of goals or things that I am going to take up to make myself more interesting. One might at this point wisely note that none of this is coming from a place of interests or passions and that a whole lot of it is wrapped up in fear of failure (as defined by someone outside of myself). And then one day it hit me and I changed the words the slightest bit to uncover just what I was already up to. I did not need to be an interesting person, which is really up to personal discretion, I simply needed to continue to be interested.
Be interested in the things that capture the attention of my children. This runs deeper then simply sitting beside them to hum ha and question what they are up to. It means truly be interested in the subject matter. the story lines and the characters. To engage in the materials right there alongside my children in order to uncover just what pulls them in. So very often it is easy to walk away and say things such as “I don’t like video games” or “that show is for kids.” It takes a lot more effort to really see what is being presented and uncover the points of interest. Not only does that open me up to new thought patterns and information it translates to my children that their passion are valued. They are worthy. And they are fascinating. All of this from a place of true authenticity that can only come when I am truly (not faking it) interested in what they are up to.
And this idea to be interested extends to how I exist in the world. By this I mean taking a genuine interest in the world around me. Whether that be engaging in a conversation with a person in the parking lot who has an unusual vehicle or noticing the bug moving across my path way. It shows up as an awareness of ones surroundings and a willingness to engage in those tiny moments that spark new ideas. I think it also translates in to the power of learning in whole life fully engaged kind of way. We bumped in to a lady in the parking lot once driving a 1968 mustang. After commenting on the car she shared with us some special functions of the engine. Now we know about mustangs and their engines. The info stuck cause we heard it from someone real who genuinely was passionate about mustangs.
I am even bold enough to strike out a step further to showcase how this applies to relationships. In order to remain connected to my children I need to be interested in our relationship. This means paying it the same attention I pay the world around me. In showing up with interest to attend to our relationship, I say it’s important to me. And I also watch it with interest and notice when it needs tending to. More then just noticing our relationship needs tending, I receive clues on just how to do this in a most effective way.
I also think it is worth mentioning that as a parent it is true and of value that I be interested in those things that spark my interest. Be it romance novels or physics, when I am free to be interested in my own passions I model just how that creates a pathway to happiness and joy (the kind the spreads from one family member to another).