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jbantau

USA
41 Posts

Posted - Nov 05 2007 :  12:16:06 AM  Show Profile  Visit jbantau's Homepage  Reply with Quote

Sorry ahead of time if this is a bit disconnected, but I have so much to say.

For the first time, in what seems like my entire life, I am not terrified. Up until now, I have been wielding my alarm and anxiety like a sword and shield battling against the world. I thought that's what I was supposed to do. Isn't that what a good parent does? I thought that fear was a parenting tool that told you how to keep your children safe. I felt that letting go of that fear meant that I was a bad parent. My paranoia had spilled into every part of our lives.

I feared my children would grow up to be 'unacceptable', so I tried to mold them into the 'acceptable' type. My anxiety that people would judge my parenting caused me to parent in a way that didn’t feel right to me. If I didn’t ‘make’ my children behave then I felt I was being an irresponsible parent. I was afraid of not doing it ‘right’, but my eyes have been slowly opening to a new life and a new way of thinking.

My husband and I were talking about being put into the proverbial box (i.e. the 'school' box or the 'good little child' box or even the ‘good parent’ box) and he made an analogy that was quite startling to me. He said, "It’s as if people start lopping off pieces of the child, in order, to fit them inside that very tiny box." I had a disturbing image of pieces of myself lying outside my own box. I have been in that box since a very early age and only the label on the outside has changed. I was the Good Girl, the Good Student, and the Good Parent among other things. He asked, "What if the best parts of us are lying outside that box?"

I didn't even realize I was confined because I was put in there very early in my life. Even though the lid has been off for quite sometime now, I didn't know to get out. It makes me very sad to think that my fear has pushed me to confine my children the way I’ve been confined. I think of the pain caused by ‘lopping’ off parts of who they are just to fit some kind of ‘ideal’ that not even beneficial to them and I’m so remorseful.

So as of today, I am stepping out of my box, collecting the pieces of me that are lying about and I will try to make them part of me again. I will stop forcing my children into tiny little boxes out of fear. I will try to help them find the joy in being who they are regardless of what the ‘ideals’ are out there. I’ve put up a banner in my kitchen that says, “I AM WHAT I AM!” I look at my children and repeat that mantra in my head, “She is who she is” or “He is who he is”. (I was inspired by Anne Ohman’s article: http://www.livingjoyfully.ca/anneo/I_Am_What_I_Am.htm.)

I feel like its okay to let go of my paranoia. I don’t need it anymore. I have a lot of work to do, but I feel like I’m really beginning to get it. This forum, its many intelligent contributors and the links to the many helpful articles are, of course, invaluable. All of your thought-provoking answers and discussions have made me feel hopeful again. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Schuyler

United Kingdom
87 Posts

Posted - Nov 05 2007 :  06:30:44 AM  Show Profile  Visit Schuyler's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Oh, wow, that is beautiful. What if the best parts of us are lying outside that box? How wonderful to get the chance to step outside and find all those pieces, all those possible selves and re-weave them into a wonderful new tapestry of Self!

Thanks for posting that.

http://waynforth.blogspot.com/
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dezigna

USA
131 Posts

Posted - Nov 05 2007 :  08:01:42 AM  Show Profile  Visit dezigna's Homepage  Reply with Quote
After seeing this, I went back and re-read the whole scared mommy thread and it is amazing to see your changes over such a short and intense time. I'm so happy that you are on this joyful path, and that you have such an insightful dh along too. That "lopping off" to fit in the box is a really evocative notion.

It's so great that you have been able to define your fears so clearly. I have had many of the same fears, especially when out in the world with people who aren't unschoolers. I'm going to carry this question around with me out in the world - am I lopping something off (ie to make Jayn fit in a box defined by someone else)? Thanks for the metaphor.

Robyn L. Coburn
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Sandra Dodd

USA
1419 Posts

Posted - Nov 05 2007 :  10:57:56 AM  Show Profile  Visit Sandra Dodd's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Very powerful imagery and writing. Say thanks to your husband, please. And thanks to you, too. It's beautiful.

I'd like to put that on my site, maybe at one of these, or a new page on fear. Any preferences?

http://sandradodd.com/peace/newview
http://sandradodd.com/change
http://sandradodd.com/unschool/gettingit

Sandra Dodd
http://sandradodd.com/unschooling
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jbantau

USA
41 Posts

Posted - Nov 05 2007 :  5:20:36 PM  Show Profile  Visit jbantau's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thank you for your sweet responses. I am reminded that I am lucky to have such an insightful partner to explore this with. There are many men out there who would not even consider this kind of lifestyle. I am very fortunate to have had him through all of this exploration. The ideas we are embracing are helping our marriage, too.

Sandra you can put it anywhere you think it will be helpful, but the one that sticks out to me is: 'getting it'. I am proud you all think it may be helpful.

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Sandra Dodd

USA
1419 Posts

Posted - Nov 06 2007 :  01:33:50 AM  Show Profile  Visit Sandra Dodd's Homepage  Reply with Quote
http://sandradodd.com/unschool/gettingit

Okay, there it is. Thanks!!

-=-The ideas we are embracing are helping our marriage, too. -=-

This happened at our house, too.

Sandra Dodd
http://sandradodd.com/unschooling
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