Patient Parenting Pays Off!
© Beverley Paine, Sept 2007
In the last week I have been once again reminded that what we look for in our children, the goals we set, our aims, our hopes tend to come later rather than sooner. Parents seem in such a hurry to see those milestones marked and passed... It's as though they are our 'grades' as parents and we judge ourselves by the achievement of them.
The best cheeses and wine take time to mature. How long it takes depends as much on the type of cheese or wine as it does the careful processes used to create them. Few of us would want to drink a glass of wine from the stainless steel vat, or eat a cheese before it's ready for sale. It's the same for the educational development of our children. It takes time for them to process and consolidate skills and knowledge and make them their own, finally using them to benefit themselves and others. I finally understand that it takes the whole of childhood. It's a good feeling sitting here, knowing that I had a small, but crucial, part to play in the development of the wonderful people my children have become.
Next time you feel anxious your little one isn't up to scratch, or doing his or her best; next time you feel impatient for your child to grow up; or worry that you aren't seeing the results of your hard work as a parent and home educator, take a deep breath and relax: there's a good chance that everything is going according to plan. Remember these wise words from Kahil Gibran, the poet:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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