school kids

There has been a lot of upset in my daughter’s class this year.  It has caused me to contemplate homeschooling…yet again.  Her upsets start me worrying that the forces of institutional oppression are crushing her spirit.  I worry that aspects of her inner wisdom are being blown to smithereens by a place that expects her to conform for the benefit of the current structure.  But then I remember that I have spent over half my life in school and I am far from crushed.  As a matter of fact, I love school and have a deep feeling that my children need to be there.  What didn’t become clear for me until today was the source of my love and dedication to school.

 

As I showered this morning and felt the water running over my head, I found my answers.  I so love moments like this, when my inner values come to the surface so I can come to rest my decisions upon them like leaning my body against the trunk of a great Redwood.  In these moments of my morning shower as I surrendered myself to the water, I found the answers to why I want my children in school.

 

My grandmother was radical.  She burned her bras and hung with the Black Panthers.  My mother is radical.  She brought massage from the red light district to the main stream.  I am from a lineage of social boundary pushers.  I don’t know how to take a breath without it pushing someone somewhere and I’m pretty sure this will be true for my children as well.  Ultimately, this is what I think: my lineage of radical change agents needs a place like school to provide us a tether to the dominant culture.  For me, school was a place where I got to practice grounding in a world that did not often feel like the one I was being raised in.  (I certainly never saw a massage table set up in any of my classrooms.)  I see this tether as a pivotal factor in my ability to integrate the radical ideas I grew up with into the dominant culture; a process that makes me tingle with joy from head to toe.  It is deeply rewarding to bring my roots to more and more people every day and I would like for my children to have this possibility as well.

 

So I may be fooling myself.  Perhaps I am stunting a creative genius in some way.  But as with any parent, I am simply doing the best job I can.  Today that means keeping my daughter in school so she can learn how to integrate what I see as cultural differences.  I am certainly not saying that I will blindly keep to this course if indeed it becomes overly oppressive.  It is its own kind of education to sit in the middle of a structure, know that it needs to be altered and seek to find a way to reshape it.  It is an education that quite frankly, I value.

 

So, when my daughter comes home emotional over what is happening in her classroom, I will remind myself that I am choosing for this to be part of her life curriculum.  As her mother, I see this dynamic as providing her an ability to adapt to a world that does not tend to morph itself around her.  My job is to support her to do the work of finding herself within the established structure and help her to negotiate for the space she needs within it.

 

When she is feeling overwhelmed by it, I can create the space and time she needs to process the emotional distress she experiences facing a reality that does not always meet her muse.  If she needs a day to cry even though she doesn’t understand why she is crying, I will hold her.  If she is angry and a rage party is in order, I will join with her as she pounds pillows and yells at the walls.  If she needs to pace the house stomping the floor in frustration before she can complete her homework, I will sit there and ground the space for her as she does so.  And as she comes to rest from her emotional release, I will help her to look for herself as the eye of the storm.  I will ask her to define the outer structures around her and ask her what she wants to do with them.  How can she bring herself to this world that can feel so very unyielding and ask it to dance?  How can she be in community with the world around her?

 

This is what I do with so many adults every day.  I believe helping her develop these skills will serve her throughout her life.  And I must say I quite look forward to finding out what she will unearth from the depths of herself.

About the author

Community.Relationship.Intimacy.Sex.Birth and so much more. Do you know how to find yourself and the space between you and another? Nekole can help you find your way. One small warning....Nekole has been known to change lives!

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