There's something about patience that's biochemical. Some people are more naturally patient than others. When an impatient person has a child, though, and especially if that impatient person wants to be an unschooler, it's good to look at ways to become a safer, softer parent. It's win-win, if stress is minimized and life is smoother.
In a discussion on chores, Karen James had written something beautiful. I saved the last paragraph to quote, and didn't get right back to it. So I wanted to confirm and verify that it was really, truly Karen's writing before I published it. When I went to search the discussion to make sure, what came up was something even better, by Karen.
Here are those two pieces of writing, from 2017 and 201:
Someone had written:
***I can say for myself, when I've tried to have my children assist with chores, and they do not, I get super triggered***
Karen James responded:
Think about what kids are learning when they watch us. If I generously pick up a few things around the house, my son learns a few things about me and about keeping a home. He learns that I value keeping things in decent working order so that we can more easily do what we'd like to whenever we want to do it. He learns that tidying up doesn't need to be a chore. It can be a choice we make to help ourselves enjoy our home, and help others enjoy our home with us. He learns that there is value in doing things for those we love and care to support. He learns that he has choices too. He can always join me. He knows that his help would be welcomed and appreciated.
By contrast, think of a few things a child might learn when a parent gets super triggered by not having assistance with chores? Maybe that tidying *is* a chore--an unpleasant task? Maybe that it helps to get annoyed when someone doesn't do what we'd like them to do? Maybe that serving those we care about isn't valuable? Maybe that it's a good practice to make others do activities we value, regardless of whether or not they value them?
One of the wonderful things about unschooling is that we come to understand that children are learning all the time. Knowing that, we can make thoughtful choices about how we'd like to influence that learning. We cannot control what is learned, but we can create an environment in which joyful learning can thrive.
Karen, saved and brought to the discussion by Leah Rose (for which I'm grateful):
"All learning is understanding relationships." ~ George Washington Carver
The connections that are formed between people and between places and between things matter. How those connections are made influence what a person ultimately learns and how they come to use what they've learned in what they do and how they conduct themselves.
For example, when we are consistently patient with a child, in time the child will learn patience. The child will come to understand the relationship of patience to him/herself by experiencing and witnessing what patience feels and looks like. When we are consistently impatient with our children, we make it nearly impossible for the child to learn patience *from us*. They learn impatience. That's the relationship. We can't talk it into being something different. We can't will it into another form.
It doesn't work to tell a child to be patient when the parent can't pull themselves together enough to show the child what patience looks like. It won't work to yell "Calm down!" to a child who has little experience living around calm. A child can't know how to show respect to others if respect has too infrequently been shown to them.
"All learning is understanding relationships."
Links to more on other pages
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Now that we are on OUR schedule, I have the patience to say yes, the patience to always answer a question, the patience always to look something up.
"You can't give what you don't have," some people say, and if you want your children to give generosity and kindness and patience to others, you should give them so much they're overflowing with it.
Unschooling requires a "paradigm shift" to make it work. And it works best when you (the parent) are an active learner. And curious and thoughtful and enthusiastic and interested and interesting.
It's about trust and respect and patience.
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.
Other moms have told me they think I'm patient. It makes me feel guilty because I have the internal list of all the times I've blown it, but a few things have helped me....
Breathe Before You Speak
.... The almost immediate results include increased patience, added perspective, and, as a side benefit, more gratitude and respect from others.
Patience and acceptance
| I noticed one morning I was really patient with my irritating cat. That was cool, and I announced to one of the discussion lists that I was going to work it into my talk about things that surprised me. We've long been sweeter with our current dog than we ever were with a dog before, and somewhat the cats too, but usually I hiss at the cat to get away from me when he gets in my face early in the morning and this morning I told myself that the cat can't open a can, and he's excited that I'm awake, and the dog probably ate their canned food, so I just very calmly followed him in there and fed him and he was very happy. I doubt it's my last frontier, it's just my current frontier.
photo by Sandra Dodd, of someone else's cat
Patience in Unschooling Discussions
Marina Renee Moses:
Sandra, you and your friends must be commended for your patience! I can't believe how many times I've read unique explanations of what is going on here! Over and over it is reworded. Do you have a file from which you copy and paste old explanations? If not, you should!
Joyce Kurtak Fetteroll:
Marina, Sandra has a huge massive website of old explanations. 😊 Some are hers. Some are from other people. She and others often post links.
Marina Renee Moses:
Joyce, I know people post links. I was talking about how you all have to explain over and over about what this group is for. People come and post things that are not Radical Unschooling advice and you and Sandra and others explain that they should have read the pinned post or that this isn't a support group, etc. I just think you all write it out so many ways and don't seem to get frustrated! I continue to be in awe!
Joyce Kurtak Fetteroll:
Marina, endless explaining of what these discussion forums are about isn't patience on my part. I find it a fascinating problem that hasn't been solved yet! 😊
Marina Renee Moses:
Sandra does have a collection. Many of them appear to be mine ;-) Culled from literally hundreds of attempts to explain.
Even though the discussion was on Radical Unschooling Info on Facebook, Joyce linked to the Always Learning explanations,
which are good ones.—Sandra, 2019
*IF* someone assumes all groups must be social groups and therefore the priority is to make people feel welcome and supported, then this one is just mean ;-)
I have realized that once someone has decided this is a social group and it's mean, there's nothing that can be said that will change their minds. *Others* reading who are thinking it sure seems mean but they must be missing something *might* get something from the explanations. So it's worth doing. And I enjoy the challenge of trying! 😉 I love trying to build a bridge from someone's understanding to mine.
I could decide the people who object are just rude, bull headed, or lots of other negative things. But they're reacting in natural human ways: Once someone is certain they're right, they start filtering anything said into either "Agrees I'm right," or "Disagrees." They aren't trying to understand the other person's point of view. Why should they (they think)? They're right and the other is wrong! 😉
And that mode people get into is good to be aware of! Parents can fall into that trap when dealing with kids. (And spouses!) It can be really hard to understand the child's point of view when you know the child is wrong!😉
But (undamaged) people don't do things *because* they're mean, or stupid, or jerks, or rude. They're reacting in a way that makes sense to the situation *as they see it*. It's just that they may not have a full picture. Or they have different priorities. Or they don't have a deep skill set to draw on so are picking the best (of an iffy lot). Or their emotions are warping their vision. Or *something*. Whatever they're doing there *is* sense behind it.
It doesn't mean they're right. But it means you can communicate *much* better with someone if you can let go of your vision being the only possible way of looking at it and try to understand how they see it. Then work with that vision.
No matter how much a child may act as though they're treating mom like a servant (leaving dishes, dropping clothes) they aren't. And if mom accuses the child of treating her as a servant, the child is going to be totally baffled. And then angry. Or ashamed for being a kid. But if a mom can get into the child's head and see that the child can't *yet* care as she does about things being picked up, she can be more sympathetic and work *with* his understanding rather than trying to get his not-mature-enough brain to grasp a view of the world it can't yet.
I love trying to get into people's heads to see what they're seeing to understand why what they're doing and saying makes sense to them. So I keep trying to find a way of explaining how the forum works that actually works. 😉
I can get that Joyce, but your process just makes you look like you have saintly patience!♡ I love that you are all so intrigued by and passionate about human relationships. You have no way of knowing how very much I am being affected right now. I'm learning so much and getting it bit by bit. Thank you for all of these conversations.