The month of July has been the biggest yet here on Jitterberry with 28 new pieces of writing! I have really loved writing so frequently and am so proud of what this space offers but I also appreciate that it can be a lot to keep up with. I’ve collated this months posts on parenting, unschooling and intentional living with their focal message so that you have an easy reference for finding the posts most relevant for you.
Essentially, my children are entitled to their humanity. And I wish for them to always deeply know their rights and their worth.
Respectful parenting isn’t a method of behaviour modification, it is what begins to unfold when you stop trying to manufacture results in your child and start trying to act from the position of what they deserve; respect, autonomy, humanity.
So what if you could stop thinking of time with your kids as a burden by not thinking of time with your kids as a burden?
Maybe it could be as simple as that.
The most worthwhile thing you can do is see the child in front of you.
Not their age. Not their past. Not their projected future. Not your hopes or fears or expectations. Not what is most convenient. But them. See them so that you are able to meet them where they are at, where they deserve.
Your children aren’t preventing you from enjoying life, your conditioning is. You don’t need a break from your children, you need a break from the mainstream assumptions.
What is it that is actually unenjoyable? Children or trying to control them?
The conversation regarding sex is ongoing, sex shouldn’t be confined to one talk just as you wouldn’t expect to learn everything there is to know about food or volcanoes or dinosaurs in one go. Sex is an immense and diverse topic that is built upon gradually beginning with support to understand the concepts of consent and bodily autonomy and transitioning through different information as a child’s awareness, understanding and interest shifts. Through this all I want to be mindful to avoid the antiquated cliches that would leave space for shame to develop in the variables unspoken.
It can feel really vulnerable to share yourself with another human and this is something our children offer us everyday; opportunities to see and know them. They deserve our appreciation.
The secret to sleeping through the night? It’s not arbitrarily reducing your involvement so that they have no other option but to comply with your expectation; it’s time.
Follow the motivation… it is parents who benefit most from this concept being true, it is parent’s who are most invested in it. Think about it, aren’t your children pretty aware that you are available to offer guidance? If that is what they are seeking, they aren’t going to be evasive about it, why would they need to be?
The more we see breastfeeding, the less we will see it. It will become no more notable than a red car or blue shirt. Children are a part of our communities and children require feeding; our public spaces should reflect and honour that reality.
What would bring ease? Acceptance. The radical belief that whoever she is, is worthwhile and deserves access to life without the forced responsibility to change. Finding the bridges between each of our experiences so that we could communicate was important, finding a way for my daughter to be something other than who she is? The opposite of important.
Because the reality is that if you are saying a person needs you to make decisions for them, you’re also saying that they are less deserving of their humanity. And that just could never be accurate.
Because whilst the awareness of death is sorrowful and an emotionally heavy topic to converse on; it is also empowering. Fear of death in part grows from that realisation that we have floated through existence in ignorance, when it is too late to make changes and how it prevented us from really living at all.
If you are concerned, it can feel awful to do nothing but you can do something other than control. You could join them. Observe and hear what they are experiencing. Explore it together. Understand the appeal. Connect.
Doing this will make very clear what is most important. And how control would only destroy those priorities and resolve nothing.
Ultimately, as beneficial as school intends to be (and I feel that is very up for debate in itself), without hearing the child’s voice in the process, it could never be deemed respectful to children.
When you value children and their autonomy, you find ways to live with your barriers or process them that won’t compromise that ideal. When you value children and their autonomy, it becomes very difficult to find motivations that would lead to compulsory schooling being a viable resolution.
If you really want to unschool, then what are you going to do to make it possible?
People shouldn’t serve concepts. Concepts should serve people.
Children’s rights are not negotiable. School is.
You have time, your child has time but they won’t always. So just wait before you start taking any away. If you really can’t stretch, there’s no rush, sure. But just because you’re not ready to move towards unschooling, doesn’t mean you have to walk further away from it. So maybe just wait. Just wait and see what happens.
It can be a far trek from where you are at to where you want to be and I can’t help you carry the fear or the guilt and I won’t pretend it isn’t there when it is but I will try my very best, always, to help you shed it when and if you are ready. Because it is achievable and it is worth reaching for.
Autonomy is to schooling what evolution is to creationists; it does not exist and you’re definitely not allowed to learn about it. Exercising autonomy is not only discouraged but is a punishable offence.
Until I got my test back the next day and saw a big red cross next to my stream of neun. Yes, I had written it about 20 times but was it not completely obvious that I knew the answer? What was the point exactly in marking this wrong? What was the point in this test at all if it wasn’t really about determining that I knew this work they’d required of me?
So why the commitment to black shirts? Well, essentially I like how they look, I like how they feel but most of all I just like not having to think about what I’m going to wear each day. It’s very liberating.
Clutter is the physical manifestation of indecision. Minimalism is the physical manifestation of intention.
I was beginning to shift from trying to find a form of government that aligned with my values to instead questioning the concept of having one at all. Could a government ever truly be acting from shared ideals with myself when I felt so strongly the importance of personal responsibility and agency? And as I took my research to the internet, I found people who were feeling the same.
There was a time where people would tell me to be less me because I made them uncomfortable and I would hear them. I lived uncomfortably in my own skin for people who loved me conditionally.
They wanted me to validate their ideals but they wanted me to do so by invalidating my own. Never again.
Motivation doesn’t disappear, it gets transferred somewhere else. And well, if it can be transferred elsewhere, it can be transferred back. So technically, you’re still doing it. The “it” just shifts.
And one of the most powerful things I have realised in life for me is that often the moment where it feels the hardest, too hard. That is when I am so very close to making it through. I am constantly asking myself; am I really at my limit or is this transition?
When you are spending your money, you presumably pay things based on a hierarchy of importance. Things that will contribute most to your continued existence are paid first and then the next priority follows and so on go the choices. But what about your time?