Once upon a time on the unschooling discussion list, someone seemed unhappy with the way I used "mindful." For years, some of the regular writers here tried to find a good word for what we were trying to convey—a kind of parenting that involved making infinitesimal decisions all the time, day and night, and basing those decisions on our evolving beliefs about living respectfully with our children, and giving THEM room to make their own decisions of the moment.
We finally settled on "mindful," in the sense of being fully in the moment. Though "mindfulness" is used as a term in western Buddhism, the word they chose when they were translating from Japanese, Chinese, Sanskrit, Vietnamese and whatever all hodgepodge of ideas were eventually described in English, "mindfulness," is an English word over 800 years old. It's a simple English compound, and has to do with the state of one's mind while performing an action. It creates a state of "if/then" in one. And IF a parent intends to be a good unschooling parent, a generous freedom-nurturing parent, a parent providing a peaceful nest, a parent wanting to be her child's partner, then the best way she can live in that goal and come ever closer to her ideals is to make all her decisions in that light. The more mindful she is of where she intends to go, the easier her decisions are.
When you come to an intersection, how do you decide which way to go? It helps, before operating a motor vehicle with all its attendant expenses and inherent dangers, to know where you want to go. When you DO have a destination, then each intersection has some wrong ways, and some better and worse ways. It's the same with unschooling. If that's where you're headed, there are some wrong ways you can avoid simply by being mindful of your intent.
I don't even know why I expressed it that way. I am guessing it is frustration squirting out sideways.
It seemed like motherly frustration to me.I like being asked to rethink what I thought because too many times it seems like I only think of one or two ideas, then when I rethink it, I find those are just a few options and for some reason the others didn't even seem like options. I'm still wondering why that is. It seems to be a conditioned response, but it's hard to uncondition yourself when you don't even know how you are limited...
I had the feeling you were trying to find ways to justify and protect your negative attitudes instead of ways to let them go. I could be entirely wrong. It's a longstanding motherly tradition for moms to heave a great sigh about *how HARD* it is to be a mom, and *how DIFFICULT* children are, and then for all the other moms to mutter on about how they understand and how entirely correct the sigh-heaving mom is.
Karen James wrote this in response the first quote here:
I have a question though - I sometimes find maintaining a good connection (with both kids - 7 and 1) quite exhausting. I'll have a really good day then I find myself wanting to zone out and play on my phone the next day. Does it get easier or do people find ways to manage this?Maybe look away from feeling exhausted. Think of other, more positive ways to see how you're feeling. Try to find ways to think about how you feel that celebrate what you've accomplished instead of focus on how you've been depleted. That will make the next moment easier—maybe even something to look forward to, instead of something to be weary of.
Mindful Parenting (with Joyce Fetteroll's clarity)
Spirituality and unschooling
A conference presentation on "Mindful Parenting"—Ren Allen and Sandra Dodd, with an audio file of a conference presentation and notes we exchanged before we spoke.