|I've been thinking about that saying "All things in moderation." Next time someone says it to me, I think I might just ask them: "Do you mean we should have joy in moderation? Should we have peace in moderation? Kindness in moderation? Patience in moderation? Forgiveness? Compassion? Humility?"
Honestly, I used to think it sounded like a very wise and balanced philosophy. Now, the more I think about it the less sense it makes.
Erica Chase-Salerno's daughter Quinn said one day in June 2011:
"Mom, can you get me a cookie? 'Cuz I've got to focus. I'm an artist, and that's what artists do." ♥
In 2021, Cátia Maciel wrote this:
I don't know how many of you have monothematic children. We've got one here at home and I was always told that I should break that habit, teach him how to broaden his horizons, be inclusive in his exchanges with people, so as not to tire the listener. He was about four years old and I was already getting advice such as "don't let him play with his legos for more than X hours a day" (he would do it for 7+ hours straight, no need to go to bathroom, no need to eat); when he was eight years old, people would tell me things like "you should only allow him to talk about Minecraft in the morning" (we're not even talking about limiting his gaming time). Now the topic is: cars. They've have made a comeback. When we lived in Lisbon, we would spend days at the auto repair shop at Voz do Operário, taking apart engines and driving buses, with Mr. Leonel. I wouldn't be able to count the hours that I've already spent trying to follow conversations about straight-four engines, car headlights, classic cars, car brands and I don't know what else I can't even memorize.
Gilligan's Island, momentary obsession, or a lifetime of science
".... I wondered if the professor was a physics professor or engineering, or what, and whether he would lose his job at the university. I wondered about that Mr. Magoo voice on Thurston Howell. I wondered about Amelia Earhart. I wondered about the soundtrack music. Did they just have little themes they pushed a button on during final edit, or was each show done separately? I wondered if the fruit was real or props. I wondered about cameras--where were they? Did they have to sweep the dirt between takes? I wondered if the guy who played the lost WWII pilot was really Japanese. I could think more during an episode of Gilligan's Island than most other people I knew could think in a whole week. I didn't bother to ask my parents any of the questions. They would have thought it was stupid to be thinking them." —Sandra Dodd read more
Jayn spent much of the time we were there exclaiming enthusiastically about the different dolls that she has only seen in pictures, pointing out the particularly rare, and noticing the varying condition of the really vintage dolls. She noticed the repaints and was able to tell me what the original character had been that had been done over. ... more, and a link to the Romeo and Juliet done by Jayn with Barbies and Ken... You just need to see that.
[Coming at some point: Kirby and Ninja Turtles
Imagine how many other children's passions are squashed or dismissed or starved EVERY DAY. Imagine what ALL children could be if their parents fed their passions—no matter what! —Kelly Lovejoy Read More
Robin B, on Always Learning, about her daughter's focus:
Michelle is 14 now and has definite preferences of what she wants to do and think about. They don't always have much to do with things we did when she was younger. However, one constant for her has been a fascination with animals.
"I was amazed at how much of the world came to life when they were free, and encouraged, to immerse themselves in their deep, passionate interests.
Here are two of the graphics from that page which are inspiring and self-explanatory on their own (click to enlarge):
This image was going around Facebook in April 2011. I'll credit the creator of the image if anyone knows whose it was originally. The quote is from this interview: http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2009/11/20/penn-jillette-is-tired-of-the-video-game-bulls.aspx
This is not by an unschooler, but was discovered and brought out by one:
Monday, February 13, 2006
I don't know how many of you had the opportunity to catch Nature last night on PBS, but it was all about Martin Nicholas, a wonkish water treatment engineer from the U.K. who is also, in his spare time, a respected amateur arachnologist — someone who studies spiders.
But he doesn't just study them. He loves them. The man is geeked on spiders. And I can't tell you how much I enjoyed watching him, on this program, as he traveled to the New World to hunt for spiders. He exuded visible, nearly palpable joy every time he found a different species in the wild. He made me love spiders, just seeing him.
Have you ever known someone with a magnificent obsession like this? I have. I used to know someone who loved to quilt as much as Martin Nicholas loves to find spiders. A late uncle of mine was fascinated by Native Americans, and spent many hours on his farm looking for arrowheads; he was fairly well read on the Native Americans who lived in our area, and I think if he'd lived long enough to get connected to the Internet he'd probably be on it all day doing research. A college friend of mine was a train buff who used to work on restoring old locomotive engines and had an encyclopedic knowledge of every train line that ever ran through the state. I work with someone who loves flowers, especially heirloom perennials, and travels around the countryside cutting slips from old rambler roses growing on old farmsteads and in cemeteries.
Every once in awhile I experience a brief magnificent obsession: English ivies, bread baking, embroidery, tomatoes, Civil War history...you name it. And even though most of these are short-lived, I've not regretted any of them. Like close but transient friendships, these fleeting spurts of concentrated attention have all helped me become who I am; they've added color and texture to my life. They've all been worth it.
Eric Liddell, the famous English runner of Chariots of Fire fame, said, "God made me fast for a reason. When I run, I can feel God's pleasure." I suspect that God feels pleasure when we take the same delight in the diversity and complexity and beauty of the world, or in the pursuit of a creative pastime, as God takes in God's creative, redeeming and sustaining work.
Love what you love with all your might. Because I think that's what God does.
posted by LutheranChik | 8:18 PMSandra Dodd said...
Someone living in Okinawa put a link to this to a large discussion list of unschooling parents (special kind of homeschooling), and it's an excellent thing for us to read, to be reminded that one's world can be richer with a special focus than if it is (as they say) more "balanced." Balance too often means "nothing special, nothing extraordinary."
Thank you for writing that! It has been passed on from Okinawa to the U.S., Canada, NZ, Australia, U.K., and France, at least.