Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Emotional Maturity

So I don't blog much with words these days. Seems like all I can do to keep up our family's photojournal. But I so often have something I want to SAY. Most of the time I let it go, as I don't have much of a way with words and keep trying not to spend so much time on the computer, but some topics just keep rolling around and won't let go. I take that as a sign. :)

This idea about emotional maturity is something that has been bubbling around since our trip to CA, and kindof solidified the other night when talking to Ron about it, as it turned out he had noticed the same thing in Orion! I have always marveled at the way he moves through things and never seems to hold any type of grudge against people when he has a negative interaction with them. For a long time I thought it was just being young, but now he is getting to an age where other moms tell me for sure their kids hold grudges, and did when they were much younger as well.

Orion seems to have such a big heart to me. Whenever we are out someplace, like a playground or McDonald's (where we sadly spent alot of time on our trip because my dad doesn't have internet), he is happy to make friends and play with anybody who is there. I started closely watching his interactions with some kids on the trip one day, and was really struck by the sense he was "different". There is something totally open and accepting in his face when other kids have this look of suspicion and "sizing up". When other kids are sharing sidelong looks and being subtly meanspirited, he just keeps smiling and doesn't even seem to get it. He seems to see the best in everybody.

So I started wondering... is this where homeschooling and "lack of socialization" gets you, and would some people see this as being "behind" in his emotional development? I brought it up with Ron, and what he had to say blew my mind. Turns out he was talking to a friend about the very same thing, and they were giving him the blahblah line about homeschooling not preparing kids for the real world and that type of naivete not being a good thing. But Ron said, "Are there any adults that come to mind who kept that sense of love for all intact?" Names like Gandhi, Martin Luther King and the Dalai Lama came up. Whoa, well OK, that really reframes it eh? If this is what a lack of socialization gets us, I'll take it!

I feel like kids in school get thrust into a "political" world at such a young age. There are cliques and hierarchies formed as early as Kindergarten. I remember it myself and saw it when Sarah was growing up as well. Some people might say that *is* the real world, but I don't think it has to be. I think we *can* move more toward a partnership way of existence. Indeed I believe we are going to *have* to if we are going to survive as a species.

I have also seen these differences sometimes in groups I have been a part of, with otherwise similar parenting styles, where the kids in school will be in one group, doing alot of mean name calling that the homeschooled kids are not participating in. I am not saying this is a perfect correlation that schooled kids are namecallers and homeschoolers never are, but I have noticed a strong relationship around that type of thing. The older kids don't seem "unprepared" for it. Instead, I have often seen them just look at the other kids with a puzzled expression and walk away. Or speak up and say they don't feel comfortable with it.
Can you imagine what our world might look like if more and more of our children just started refusing to participate in insulting each other? My imagination goes wild. :)


Amoreena said...

Love this :) I often notice that Lilly is a lot less "mature" or a bit more "naive" than other kids (especially schooled kids). I generally don't worry about it, but I've never thought about it in such a positive light. I love how you have completely reframed this for me :)

Karen Buxcel said...

Beautiful, Lisa! Something else I notice with conventionally parented children is this apprehension towards just about everything. At least I see it very much in the children in my life (extended family, etc). It's like they walk around on tiptoes, just hoping they don't do something that may disappoint their parents, teachers, or other power/control sources in their life. Must be exhaustin for them, and it rather annoys me. So glad my kids can just relax and BE. No pressure from sources outside of themselves.

Kirstin Eventyr said...

Love this! I see this too with my own children and their schooled friends.

Shady Lady said...

Fabulous post, Lisa! And I often see a glaring difference between homeschooled and schooled kids. Honestly, being around homeschooled kids is a joy. Being around schooled kids (especially in large groups) totally stresses me out!

Lisa said...

Thanks everybody. And another good point Karen. I think you see this around control sources, but also around peers if they are fearing being outcast or made fun of. So sad. :( Speaking of which, a recent conversation I was a part of has me totally wanting to write about the concept of control. For me, what I want for my kids the most is aunthenticity, and I truly feel it is next to impossible to escape manipulation in the school system. I mean all of life frames who you are in some way, but I would like to be a source of LESS manipulation instead of more!