Catholicism, Life, Unschooling

Questions

“When we pray, the voice of the heart must be heard more than that proceeding from the mouth. “- Saint Bonaventure

I seem to have spent my whole life trying to make sense of the balance between heart and mind, soul and intellect.

There doesn’t have to be a dichotomy of course, yet I have tried to seek a balance, to see where the distinction is between the two.

It has been the writing of Saint Bonaventure that has helped me see the importance of heart, of love, whereas my natural tendency has been to rely solely on intellect and reason.

To take the safe route.

Yet in unschooling I chose what may seem to be seen as the unsafe route, a way of educating without school methods, a way of melding life and learning.

And as the youngest Unschooler begins study at university, I ponder what unschooling and St Bonaventure have taught me.

To allow for love, for passions, in our lives. Yes, even in the daily life of lists and chores and work. And most especially in the big picture, of goals and dreams.

In talking with our Unschoolers about life and goals, I have learned that it is the questions that are important. Like Socrates, we can ask questions and leave the thought for pondering.

And in doing so, we can help our Unschoolers use their reason and listen to their hearts.

What is your passion?
What do you love?
If everything else in your life was not a consideration, if you didn’t need to be practical, what would you do? Where would you live? How?
What book or movie makes you sigh with love and longing?
What saint and saint’s writing most appeals to you? Why?
Deep inside, what do you want? And if you don’t know forever, what about now? What is fun? What is intellectually stimulating?
And what does God want? Have you prayed? Have you asked? Have you given this to Our Lady, and asked for her intercession?

The last is a clincher for me.

These are not your typical career counselling questions. But then unschooling is not your typical means of education or, indeed, of life.

And in asking these questions I, too, have sought answers. For me.

That’s how unschooling works, isn’t it?

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familiaris consortio
Catholicism, Life, Unschooling

Parenting Rules

I’ve realized that it is okay to break the so-called parenting rules.

I get it. I get consistency in parenting. I really do.

But you know, when that toddler had a temper tantrum in the food hall because he wanted Coke to drink , not water, it made him quiet (and thus I and all the patrons happy) when I gave him a smidgeon of Coke in his sippy cup. And, no, contrary to the rules, that son did not grow up to become a child or young adult who believed that having temper tantrums and making a fuss would gain him his way. Rather, he is a pleasing, determined young man and university student, much harder on himself than on others.

Similarly, waking a bit earlier every morning to ensure that the two/three year old had his favourite He-Man shirt clean and ready to wear, that we had rice bubbles for breakfast, patted into a pyramid shape in his Sesame Street bowl, with milk poured carefully around the edges, sounds, well, bizarre. And definitely catering to a young child’s whims. Yet that son is now an adult with a deep spiritual life, one who thinks of ,and prays for, others.

Or allowing a teen to spend a year playing video games sounds like shameful neglect when, in actuality, it was a much needed year of growth and development and maturity. And that son is currently a university student who earns High Distinctions and is very involved in campus groups at a Catholic college.

So, why did breaking the parenting rules work?

I think what actually worked was that, in spite of the seeming no rules existence, what was present was commitment, a few unbending Tiger Mother parameters ( never be mean ) and authenticity in my parenting life. I might be me, I might be imperfect, but I really shared ME.

Authenticity.

“Families, be who you are!” Blessed Pope John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio