What do you do when words and comprehension fail? Will you share, please?
I know my updates are generally much more complex than this…but, the truth is, the writing-related things I’ve done this session are not product-oriented.
I’ve been mulling, pondering, musing, simmering, processing, percolating, composting, conversing, gaming, swimming, reading, and commenting…but not writing.
There was a time, not so long ago (like, at the beginning of the year, for instance), when this would have bothered me enough that I would have forced myself to write anything at all,regardless of quality.
Because of ROW80, I am instead choosing to go with this space and energy.
But, because I am who and what I am, I am also filling this post with images of my happy, thriving, peaceful children, in celebration of childhood, joy, and wonder.
There has been a jolt of sorrow, shock, and horror in the world, and I am responding empathetically on many levels…as a human, an adult, a parent, and as a mother who has suffered the death of a child…
And as a grown child of abuse, as a schoolroom outcast who was the target of bullies – themselves likely abused and hurting.
And as a person who chose, from the beginning, not to send my living children off to school…for many reasons, one of which was an instinctive and unshakeable conviction that they, like all young mammals belong with their mother until they can reliably tend to their own needs in an adult world.
So many facets and perspectives…so many things running through my mind. So much I want to say; so many assumptions I think ought to be questioned….so many people who are so dear to me, and who must be experiencing this even more viscerally than I.
All the children – the victims and the shooters – who died, because people are being broken so severely and often in this society that the brokenness explodes into horrific violence.
So very much I want to say..and so little ability to find words…or even coherent thoughts…for them.
I’m feeling both potent and powerless…
I know there is another way, because I live it, and so do many of my family’s friends. I know it is a more peaceful way, and that its focus is very, very far removed from the world of school. I want to share it, to offer an alternative, but I do not want to offend, or attempt to open minds closed to this reality.
I can’t write about it, or release the need to examine it, somehow fit it into my reality, maybe find meaning in it that I can distill and share…
So this is the longest thing I’ve written since Sunday, when I last updated, and completed the rough draft of my short story, “Morning Coffee”.
I am OK with not writing. I need to be quiet with what’s moving within me.
So I am choosing to honor the need for stillness, and to leave my laptop closed for the time I need to…even if that means I finish the round with many dangling projects.
I’m learning how to post from my Kindle Fire, which lends itself to shorter, maybe less profound posts. I’m doing my best to be gentle with myself as well as others.
And I will share my reading list here, for sharing…with a caution that there are many views expressed in this list. I do not agree with everything in this list, as you may not…but all of it seems somehow relevant, because all of these viewpoints and stories are a part of the world in which we live.
- GOP Blocks UN Disabilities Treaty, MSNBC Host Holds Back Tears (I resent homeschoolers being lumped together as the reason for this.)
- Over Achieving Elf on the Shelf Mommies Revisited (I am not a fan of the Elf – manipulating children with threats is not in keeping with the Christmas spirit, or respecting children, to my view. Also, my kids were creeped out y the idea of elves, fairies, jolly strange fat men,and bunnies traipsing through our house spyin on them and stealing teeth when they did believe, and both are relieved to know that it was all fictional).
- Nine Signs That You Might be an Introvert (I thought I was about evenly balanced between introversion and extroversion….but I have 8 of the 9 signs. Maybe why I choose to go within myself and quiet at times like this?)
- Apologies to the battered child (from a parent in process) (This spoke to me on so many levels, with deep truth. I have been, to a lesser extent, that child and that parent. Profound gratitude at learning a new and healthier way while my children were still young, and with my, and trust could be rebuilt. A wish that my own parents could see that their actions had lifelong impact on their children, and that they were willing to hear and know that, and to move together toward whatever healing might be possible, for us.)
- What would you do, Mom? (This chilled me. That teachers must think along these veins, that children are required by law to attend school, where they can become targets….this is too big for me. I do not understand why this is in any way okay, and I feel like weeping for all those children while profoundly grateful that Jeremiah and Annalise are not there. Suddenly, the tedium of those homeschool reports and requirements seem far less tedious by comparison….and I am intentionally bathing all the schoolchildren, all of their teachers, and all who come in contact with them in love and peace…because I can’t think of a more useful or healing response…)
- Connecticut School Shooting Tragedy: Child Trauma is at the Heart of Every Act of Violence (This is a post from an unschooling author whose views are often a bit too extreme, reactive, and generalized for my tastes. While I would argue the use of ‘every’ in the title, because some diseases, like schizophrenia, can lead to violence without there being childhood trauma, I do believe that there is a general tendency in our culture to see children from the outside in, with little to no effort invested in seeing how the way they are treated is experienced from their perspective…and I believe that this lack of empathy and understanding that things seen as trivial to adults can be devastating to a child’s psyche. I believe this because I have lived it. To this day, my parents would assert that what they did to me was never that bad, and yet, the more I learn myself, the more fractured places I find, places I know were broken when I was small, because I retain the experience of that breaking…)
- SOS (Jeremiah and I were watching Saving the Titantic on PBS on Friday, and got talking about Morse code, Marconi machines, and SOS. So we looked this up to see what SOS stands for – nothing, as it turns out – and played this clip. We both learned something – unschooling win on a difficult day.)
- I am Adam Lanza’s Mother (this troubled me – that the mother used her child’s image, and that her litany of what she has tried does not seem to have included simply accepting her child as is, with his sensitivity to stimuli that is likely being hugely overtaxed in a restrictive school environment, and her seeming assumption that every outburst is due to a diagnosis, and her listing of the many drugs he’s been medicated with, without seeming to question what effects those drugs may have had on him…but, mostly, I hurt for her child, whose difficulties she has made so very public, and I wonder if she thought to secure his approval before posting these details of his life without ever giving his perspective on any of it. I wrestled with including this link, because I don’t want to spread this…and yet, this seems to me to really point out some of the attitudes and assumptions that may lead to violence, and certainly cause breakage of the child’s spirit and strength of self.)
- You Are Not Adam Lanza’s Mother (A balance and response for the last article, this one seems more rational, points out the assumptions and deficits in the original post, and made a strong case for exploring the child’s point of view.)
- ‘Childism’ – As Utterly Unacceptable as Sexism and Racism (This I loved, although it also disturbed me. It speaks to the blatant public shaming that has become fashionable of late, with Internet humiliations by parents who do not see that their bullying and disrespect of their children will not and cannot lead to true respect from those children, that children are people as much as any other, and deserving of the same calibre of respect as any adult. It doesn’t go so far as to discuss whether laws demanding all young humans of certain ages must attend school are constitutionally acceptable for American citizens. The Supernanny clip really moved me – I used to watch the show and follow those practices – and I will readily admit that they did not help, and had me spending a lot of time as enforcer. Our home was not remotely as peaceful, connected or joyous as it has since become… I wanted to scoop up that little baby boy whose feelings were being so ignored, peel those offensive and trapping T-shirts off those siblings who likely have been given no effective tools for dealing with the inevitable conflicts of a shared life, and get down on that floor to listen to a child so distraught they would allow themselves to be dragged across afloor for the simple hope that their needs and wants might be heard and counted as important. Short of being able to do any of that, I can share this article, and hope it might widen a perspective or two along the way…)
- Conversations (If I could count the number of times people have spoken to mychildren in this vein. It is a scripted interaction, and the questioner, because this is not a conversation as much as what I assume is well-intentioned interrogation, is always something at a loss when my children proclaim that they are not and never have been in a grade, that I am not their teacher, and then, generally, steer the conversation to a more interesting and equal footing. A good number fade away rather than engage in anything remotely meaningful…their intention was not to truly engage, apparently. My guess is that, to them, children are incapable of deeper interaction, or perhaps not worthy of it. In any event, this tendency of adults to quiz children and to behave as though school ought to be the focus and framework of their lives mystifies Jeremiah and Annalise, who lead rich, textured, and school-free lives, and would love to talk to you about their passions!)
Well, after my comments, I feel that there is something I can say, now…it’s not all I want to say, but it brings a sense of peace.
I don’t need to say more than what I have, just now, so I will simply list my ROW80 Sponsor Visits (sorry, comments have been a little slow, due to my needing to cocoon a bit and be still with my thoughts).
So that’s it, for me, except to echo Tia Silverthorne Bach…
I encourage you to enact some random acts of kindness. Especially for yourself – most of us are far too hard on ourselves, or moving far too fast for our own good.
And for children.
Too often, children are given what are perceived to be kindnesses from an adult viewpoint….but the child does not see life as we do, and, as I go deeper into a partnership connection with my own children, and they confide in me openly, I see that there are many courtesies children would appreciate, but which adults might not even consider…
More on that soon…my own children are asleep, at an hour when they often are awake, and Jim is home from work, and our little nest is feathered with sweet, soft peace. I am going to eat a shrimp and veggie quesadilla made just for me, and settle back into just being for a few hours…
I just realized that this is the official final check-in, but I will be posting mine on Sunday, after the round ends.
I choose to focus on sweetness. Will you join me?
- A Pregnant Pause – #ROW80 Update 12/16/12 (shanjeniah.com)
- Joyous November Wrap-up – ROW80 Update 12/2/12 (shanjeniah.com)
- So It Goes – Thankvember NaNoROW, 11/25/12 (shanjeniah.com)
- What You Should Know About Homeschooling Misconceptions (tutoringtoexcellence.blogspot.com)
- Support crucial for kids after trauma (cnn.com)
- Reporters Interviewing Children Raises Ethical Questions (huffingtonpost.com)
- How Traumatic Events Affect Children (5newsonline.com)
- Kindling New Fires – Thankvember NaNoROW 11/21/1 (shanjeniah.com)
- Let There be Lights – #ROW80 Update 12/12/12 (shanjeniah.com)
- So, it’s December! – ROW80 Update 12/5/12 (shanjeniah.com)