Wednesday, March 26

AP Parenting the soul.

Well looks like another update is in order! :D I feel like I am finally managing to pull myself out of the darkness that has been this winter. What a long and miserable season it has been this time. I've been reading some good books that I managed to lay hands on through serendipity! I tore through Unconditional Parenting in the hopes that it would be the last parenting book I would ever have to read, but it ended up raising more questions than it answered leaving me rather frustrated with it. On balance the theory is a good one but certainly not one that can apply to all children and all families at all times. This lead me to realise that NO parenting philosophy can apply to all children and all families at all times and I need to take what I enjoy from the books and ignore what doesn't fit!! This may sound like an oversimplification, but it's a new concept to me!! All this time I have been trying to bend my children to fit the books...!! I have!! My children are just fine! I need to find a style that works WITH them rather than against them and it may well end up being a book I write for myself! :D

Another book I have enjoyed and one which has opened my eyes, is John Taylor Gatto's "Dumbing Us Down". Amongst many pertinent arguments he makes, one particular one stood out for me. He talks about today's society and it's proclivity towards "networking" rather than "community" ... in other words building relationships and investing time with a group of people with whom you have one thing in common ( a chess club, an art class, an online group etc) rather than investing time in real relationships and friendships, a "community". The networks allow you to feel you have "friends" but when it comes down to it, you don't. This can lead you to feel "lonely in a crowd". I've experienced this situation many times myself and I am sure many others have too. We feel we have friends, but when it comes to the wire, we have acquaintances at best. I have been working hard at making real friends lately and as such have found a deeper happiness.

One more book I am reading ( yes, I DO read more than one at a time!! ) is Endangered Minds Why Children Don't Think and What We Can Do About It... Jane M. Healy, Ph.D. What a fascinating and mind opening book! :D The author leads us through horrifying tales of children's brains and how they learn clearly showing how language has degenerated through the years and demonstrating how old heroes such as Sesame Street and PBS are doing a disservice to children today. She outlines how important it is to read to your children, and not just any books, not picture books, but "REAL" books with well rounded language and complex sentence structures. Having followed Ambleside Online on and off for a few years I have seen results of this with my own eyes and ears!! We read great books at bedtime, we are currently reading The Borrowers for instance. Both children lie in bed listening closely to the story. They are learning not only to listen, but to form pictures in their minds. They are hearing beautiful language which is not dumbed down to a level beneath them, but instead pulls their skills up and encourages their comprehension. I am only a third of the way through Endangered Minds, but what a book it is.

(I'm trying to write intelligently about the books I have been reading but I am thwarted by the kids who seem DETERMINED to talk to me and show me this or that....!!! THIS is why I try to write at night.... when I am only thwarted by exhaustion!!!)

Of late I have been working on my "self". I'm trying to kick the sugar habit, giving up chocolate, sugar, cookies and so on. I am trying to find time to read, to meditate and to exercise. I am also spending time with friends and trying to focus on what's important. Not sweating the small stuff. It's a goal...!! I'm also clearing out the house... spring cleaning. Moving the furniture about and freeing up some emotional and physical space!!!! Ahhhhhhh!!! It's a good thing!! :D

I hope you are all ready for spring, to emerge into the warmth and to let the sun shine on your skin once more..... It's really been a long time coming.