Short Circuiting Control

Controlling my children is not something I want to do so when the urge to creeps in, these are some considerations I find very effective in short circuiting the impulse.

Why am I wanting to control in this situation?

Often times, convenience is the motivating factor. Asking myself this question often discounts the control instantly, convenience is NOT my priority!

But what about when it is safety? Sometimes we are protecting ourselves from discomfort; time for some internal work, not external manipulation.

But what if we feel we are protecting our child from harm?

What is the most dangerous thing for a person to experience?

Protecting my children is definitely a consideration.

But from what exactly? What is the most dangerous thing for a person to experience?

For me, control itself is something I am hoping to protect my children from. Time is finite! It only feels right for my children to be able to spend their allotment in the way that makes more sense to them.

But what is their capacity to make informed decisions? Is control the lesser of two evils in any circumstance?

What is the meaning of life?

Control assumes a desired outcome. Do you know why you are here?  Do you know why anybody is here?

Sometimes we think if we remove the option of a crutch, a person will be able to fulfil their greatest potential; they will be able to run. The crutch is in the way, the crutch is an obstacle! But not everyone can run. Sometimes removing a crutch is essentially pushing someone over. Sometimes a crutch isn’t holding someone back, it’s holding them up. Sometimes the crutch is enabling the best version of that person’s existence.

And if they did run? Well then removing the crutch was worthwhile… that is, if they were aiming to get somewhere quickly or raise their heart rate or something that running best contributed to. But what if they were wanting to maintain a conversation? Or count all the blue cars on the way? Or were trying to use up more time before an appointment they were running early for? Suddenly running is preventing them from their goals, running would be holding them back.

The best way forward depends on where we are going and also how long we have to get there; information we often don’t have for ourselves, let alone somebody else. On a personal level it is a huge balancing act; if I die tomorrow, I’ll have wasted hours of my life brushing my teeth. If I live till I am 90 then that was more of a worthwhile investment.

If we somehow know the meaning of our child’s life AND have no way to transfer this knowledge to them directly, control starts to make sense! If that is not the case; our choices for a child are no more informed than the choices they would make for themselves.

Obviously, I’m not going to send my kids into the world alone, we talk a lot about everything and I live my life in a way that I hope demonstrates the ideals I feel drawn to but ultimately, when it comes to any decision: it is their currency (time, health, whatever) to spend, not mine.

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  1. Thanks so much for the way you articulate these common struggles, I’m finding them so useful and reassuring on our unschooling journey ❤️

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