"Level up," on the Always Learning discussion

Once Heather Booth and another mom joked to me, at a symposium, that they wanted to "level up," in unschooling. :-) People do it, all the time.


A message in 2016:
I was writing a question to the Always Learning list last night and simply in being careful about my words, and thinking about what I was writing, I was able to calm down and see things differently and hold off on sending it until I was more clear. It's pretty amazing when group expectations about communication lead one to finding comfort and guidance simply in being thoughtful in the asking!
—Kelly C.

Shira Rocklin wrote on Always Learning:
Often when I post something looking for help - I get some great initial ideas. And then I take some time and think. Sometimes I post again before thinking enough, and Sandra always calls me out on that. But a lot of the time, I come here to post something - and then while I'm writing it all out, I first realize how long it is, how much detail my 'problems' contain. Then I begin thinking and brainstorming - thoughts occur to me about what the others here might say to me. I come to realize that its a waste of time to post my question when I've already come up with 3-4 possible solutions - so I delete what I wrote, and go try out the ideas, and then usually something works, and I sometimes don't need more advice than what I thought up myself.

Read a little, try a little, wait a while, watch.

It really does work well. Except that also, I contemplate a little (not too much), and write a little, sometimes just in my head. And I also remind myself that knowing something helpful doesn't always mean I can help THIS HERE NOW... sometimes I just tuck away my ideas and know that I will be more ready to implement them next time, and that its okay that this time ended not so great. Because this process of change, it takes time and changing of our habits of thought.

Today I didn't really help my daughter get out the door. My husband was in charge and she (I was going to write "had a melt-down" and then wondered what a melt-down really is) was distressed. I didn't end up helping him speed her up, or helping her to calm down, but I was there with her, talking to her, trying to calm her, attempting to help them both through the process of going out. It didn't feel like a successful endeavour, but it was. It was part of longer-term process.


Lisa C. wrote, January 2014:
-=-But a lot of the time, I come here to post something - and then while I'm writing it all out, I first realize how long it is, how much detail my 'problems' contain. Then I begin thinking and brainstorming - thoughts occur to me about what the others here might say to me. I come to realize that its a waste of time to post my question when I've already come up with 3-4 possible solutions - so I delete what I wrote, and go try out the ideas, and then usually something works, and I sometimes don't need more advice than what I thought up myself.-=-
I got so excited when I read this, because it is what I have been finding in my own process lately as well.

I start to compose an email to the group (usually in my head) - and the act of having to be very clear, very honest, and mindful of what I say and how I frame what I am asking is what helps me discover the answer, and different options I have for moving forward.

I noticed when I read what you wrote, that I have been mentally composing emails much less, and instead, slowing down, breathing, and being clear and honest with myself first, before thinking that only people outside my home could have the answer. I think that's growth.

As being honest and mindful and calm becomes more immediate for me, it's become easier to focus more on my family, to see them and what they need clearly, and then the next right thing to do flows much more quickly and effortlessly to mind. And then doing that thing is a pleasure.

Sometimes I still need help, then I can ask for it.

I so so appreciate all the wisdom, patience, and generosity of spirit I have found here.

Lisa C


Me/Sandra:
-=-I have been mentally composing emails much less, and instead, slowing down, breathing, and being clear and honest with myself first, before thinking that only people outside my home could have the answer. I think that's growth.-=-
Very much so.

Thanks Shira, and Lisa, for describing the phase in which you think of what to write and then think of what might be written by others. I've heard this described many times over the years, but never as well as here this week.

-=-As being honest and mindful and calm becomes more immediate for me, it's become easier to focus more on my family, to see them and what they need clearly, and then the next right thing to do flows much more quickly and effortlessly to mind. And then doing that thing is a pleasure.-=-
Yes. :-)
With "make the better choice," the quality of the options gradually is raised far and away from the original starting-place options.

Some years back, someone was angry with this same sort of request to be clear and careful and on topic. She wrote:

"Sandra,

"I read your entire website before I subscribed to the list. If all you can do is refer people to read more material – you cannot help me. If I wanted to read more about unschooling information I would buy a book. I have read everything I could get a hold of. What I need is rewording of everyday situations. ..."

And the rest is here, the second item. SandraDodd/feedback/rude. She cursed me and my family, but I think by any measure my family was better off that day, and probably is better off now, than when that was written.

In e-mail on the side, today, I got this:

I'm catching up on my emails and just read your post (see below).

It's beautiful - what you wrote.

I remember feeling like [that mom, with my child]. Every word you wrote was helpful. I especially loved this part: "If you spin and spin in fear and panic and you can't think because you're afraid, then she's all alone."

I'm happy I'm not in that mental space anymore. I did a lot of work to get myself out of there. But I feel like Always Learning (and especially your writing/advice) was like the grease that helped me keep my wheels moving to get out of that space and stay out.

______________

Some people come to this discussion, get what they need, and go on to live better without leaving a note. That's fine. :-)

Some flail and resist and complain and go away angry.

Some flail and resist and complain and get pissed off, and then calm down and live better lives.

Some stay and help others get it.

Any of that is fine. My kids are grown and whole and good. I'm grateful that they all lived and that I lived long enough to see them grown.

I didn't expect to still be helping other unschoolers, but it's satisfying to have found a way to help improve the world, and I plan to keep doing this—helping people directly, if they come and ask—until I don't feel like it, or I can't.

Thank you for the positive feedback. It might tip an undecided reader toward peace and calm.

Sandra

BENEFITS beyond just "be a better parent" Clarity (in thought, in writing, in tone) Thoughts on Changing

Always Learning (with links to notes for new members, and about how to post)