Monday, November 17, 2008

Re-framing My Perspective

I have always come at life with the idea that it is a challenge to be conquered. I enjoy most of my life, but always in a, HA! I knew I could do that! kind of way. Somehow I got wired to believe that if I am not fighting, I can't win; if I can't win then I must be weak or stupid, or worst of all Wrong. I also had the very wrong idea that if I'm not in control of things, then whoever else is in the room is in control. Ever since I've gotten seriously interested in radical unschooling, from here on out to be referred to as "consensual living," I have figured out that not only is control an illusion, but it's an unnecessary one. I'm devouring everything I can read on the idea of consensual living. I'm learning that it's mostly about having compassion for others and finding the joy in life and being joyful when others find their joy. I had a real problem with this way of thinking at first. Turns out, it was just a misunderstanding. I thought that all this joy-talk was very airy-fairy stuff. I thought this way of thinking meant if my kids made a mess of the living room and decided not to help me clean it up, I was just supposed to joyfully clean it up. That wasn't going to happen in the frame of mind I was holding on to. Cleaning can appear to be the bane of my existence, when I'm not careful of how I'm looking at it, or expressing it to others. See, if I say bane of my existence, you might get the idea that I absolutely hate cleaning up, that I feel like I HAVE to do it, and that's it not one bit fair that I am the one *stuck* with all the mess while they get to joyfully play and do whatever happy things happy kids that aren't *stuck* cleaning get to do. And that is exactly how I was looking at it when I wanted to quit unschooling. LOL. The truth of the matter is, first off, they are not simply making a mess in the living room. They are exploring, playing, learning, living, enjoying life! That is not something that anyone should take for granted in this day and age either. Second, they are not willfully deciding not to help me. They are simply deciding to remain in whatever happy activity they find themselves in. I believe children think in positives, as opposed to negatives. They're never doing something to upset us. They're simply doing what makes them happy. Isn't that a better frame for it? The messy living room is still there, evidence of happy, joyful kids living here. And I still have no help cleaning it. So how to re-frame that? OK, I can choose to become bitter and resentful that they are enjoying themselves while I am stuck cleaning. Or I can go ahead and tidy it up, appreciating that my kids get to have these happy times. I know I'll be more joyful once the room is neat again, and then I'll go on to whatever I enjoy more than cleaning. They don't have that sense of if this, then that firmly in place yet. I do. I can be the adult and let them have their happy childhoods. And I can be glad that I have 3 amazing boys who are so involved in whatever they're doing that it lights them up and do I really want to be the one to put out that shine in them?? I do not. I also misunderstood consensual living to meant that I shouldn't even ask for help if I felt like I needed it. Wrong again. I can ask. As long as I can accept that, just as if you were here visiting and involved in something, and too into it to jump to my request, they also might just be too busy to help. LOL. Sounds pretty wacky, but it's working out so far so good. I am very new at this and don't have a lot of the answers to common questions about this way of living, but I can say it just feels good to be trying it. I've gotten frustrated a few times and tried to go back to the I'm In Charge model of living, and I have to say that definitely does NOT feel right anymore. So my short term goals are to remember to change the way I'm looking at things. Just like when my husband leaves the hair from his razor all over the bathroom sink. I can clean it up if it bothers me or I can leave it. Either way, I am thankful that he's alive and well enough to be shaving before he goes off to work hard all day long so that I am able to stay home and be with our boys all day.

1 comment:

Julia said...

Interesting. You're changing your mindset from controlling others to an awareness that you are in control of yourself. Like I could say, "The kids made me mad." But it's not true. The kids did not me expections set by ME, and I made myself mad about it. This is good food for thought.