I've been surprised by a couple of friends recently. One friend who knows me very well and reads here regularly (or so she tells me ;-) asked me how I'm teaching Marisol to read. (Actually, I think she asked me how I "taught" her to read, now that I think about it.) Since Marisol is still in the process of becoming a fluent reader, I kind of dodged the "how" part by explaining that she's still working on it. My friend explained that she is fascinated by the process because it is so mysterious. All I could think was, "me too!" I don't know HOW kids learn to read exactly and I don't think that anyone really does - even reading "experts" (I've already explained how I feel about those!) I do know that each child is different and the most powerful thing you can do is read with them. So I keep doing that with Marisol and so far the process has been (relatively) fun and (relatively) painless... and at times magical.
But my point in sharing this, is that the question took me completely by surprise - mostly because I don't even think or use that word hardly ever anymore... "teach". I don't think of myself as teaching my kids - guiding, helping, encouraging, explaining, sharing, learning with, etc, YES. Teaching, not so much. And I guess I thought most people who know me well know that by now.
My friend and I weren't on the same page. But upon further reflection this is not so surprising. Unschooling is something that takes years of DOING to really "get", so I can't expect anyone to make such a huge paradigm shift from reading here the few times I've written about it. Especially when they are still immersed every day in a completely different world.
But to be clear - I was NOT upset or offended or hurt by the question. Not in the least. Surprised yes. And that led to some thought and introspection - which I happen to enjoy - so actually mostly I just want to hug and thank this friend. Which I do when I get to see her, because although we may not be on the same page, we surely do share space in the library. I love her genre - being around her, learning from her, breaking out of my own fabricated paradigms.
Another friend recently commented on how "dependent" Gerry still is on me. That stung. I thought that this particular friend "got" how much I trust my kids to grow, mature, and try new things on their own schedule. This includes weaning, sleeping in their own beds, playing with other kids, etc. So I was again surprised (and a bit hurt) when when she suggested that he or I should be doing something differently.
What helped this time was knowing that it really didn't matter. She could think what she wanted to think, I can keep parenting the way I think best, and we can still keep on loving each other and being friends.
When we moved to DC 6+ years ago (no way! it hasn't been that long...) I was on a mission to find friends. I am friendly and outgoing so I could strike up a conversation with just about any mama (or papa) or nanny at the park. I would often find phone numbers saved in my cell with names that I no longer recognized. When I found a friend that I really clicked with I felt like her stalker. But we remain friends to this day and I'm so glad that I was persistent. Part of my mission was to find parents "like" me. People who were breastfeeding or co-sleeping or passionate about birth... It feels good to connect with people who do things similarly and/or believe what you believe. It makes you feel like maybe you aren't crazy after all.
Being on the Same Page is sometimes very important (like on the BIG things in marriage) but it isn't always necessary and sometimes maybe it's not even desirable. How boring would this world be if we were ALL on THE SAME PAGE? Can you imagine? It would be like a world library... with one page. How much better is is that we have books upon unique books. That we have fiction and non-fiction and every other genre you can think of? How amazing is it that we humans can make connections and find "similarities" in the oddest, most unexpected places?
These are just a few of my thoughts on being on the same page. What are yours?