Thursday, February 26, 2009

Teachable Moments

One of the comments that others who are not familiar with homeschooling will make is one on what they call "socialization". I think that they are meaning to ask about their social development, not socialization, but I digress. "Aren't you worried about their socialization?" would be one version of a way to bring up what they in fact are worried about. My simple answer is, "No". Inside, however I think, "Although my children spend much of their time interacting with adults, there are some adults that are still as immature as any high school aged person, so my children are still exposed to it."

The wonderful thing about this is that it gives us tons of teachable moments with our teens. For example, once when a gentleman was calling other people names such as "butthead" and a friend commented to Austin that he needed to not act in kind due to the other person being a person of an older age, we were able to counter that we teach and model a higher standard for Austin. We want him to treat others in a respectable manner regardless of something as arbitrary as age. I want him to behave respectably in fact, because that is who he is, and that has very little to do with what others around him are doing.

Most of our interactions have been so wonderful and so filled with people exuding a generous spirit towards our children that I was almost starting to be concerned that they'd have this idyllic view of the world that was not completely balanced. So this week, I was delighted that life presented something other than that for us to explore another view. Truth be told, I was not initially delighted. I initially wanted to call the person a butthead or worse because in my view, that is how he is behaving. I suspect this is the same person we had an interaction with before and he is truly a bully in my mind and I have no respect for that type of relating to others. Once I moved past visions of immature behavior on my part, I was delighted though, because I realized the opportunities for some learning and growing to take place.

The details aren't relevant because a week from now we will have forgotten them. The important part is what we do with moments that challenge us. And we've chosen to now try and understand a different view while working through our frustration over it. We have had opportunities to have deep and meaningful conversations about changes in our society over the past 100 years. How the generation that we are most exposed to at this time has been asked to make huge, major adjustments in their views over their time in our society and how difficult that must be for them.

They've lived through gender changes, racial changes and role changes in the home/family/workplace and more recently preferences that were once considered deeply personal and private matters. To think of a group of people who once were able to hold a view that an adult, white male was superior simply because he was white, adult and a male now being asked to be respectful of someone coming out of the closet is mind blowing if you think about it. We've spent much time talking about imagining how ever changing their world must seem at times when you do look at what views our society held 70 years ago compared to today. I appreciate the toll this must take at times to live in a time period when the norm has been to challenge the norm to bring more and more equality and less and less discrimination. There has been little rest for that generation. There has been little time for them to settle into the known when that was ever changing. It is our country's story since the beginning of its conception and we are still living it today.

What an exciting and intimidating thing for my children to be a part of the generation that is now exploring children's roles and worth in our society. And what a neat thing for us to be exposed to the most opposite end of the spectrum in this thinking, simply because of the time when one was born. I hope it brings balance to our lives while we, along with the rest of our generation, are living this newfound opportunity to explore what is most human, honorable and respectable in our dealing with what our society still tellingly refers to as minors. I love it when life gives us real moments of opportunity for education through history, human development, changes in society and all of that other good stuff.

Living the life in sunny Florida!


unschoolermom said...

What a wonderful post! I totally agree with this! These truly are life lessons. What better way to learn that through these?


laurie l. goodman said...

i like your message here and i agree that sometimes less than perfect moments can provide meaningful life is amazing that to this day we still fight discrimination and acceptance...i also noted your lines about the details not being relevant as you would forget them in a week-i am amazed at how truly living in the present helps you to take what you need and move on-the NOW is what is relevant-i am amazed at how much we lack attachment to things/events since we've been on the road- but it's the highs we live for-the highs of living life fully and learning from whatever comes our way...

little castle said...

I love what you wrote Laurie and couldn't agree more. I have found that living on the road has helped us all the more to live in the NOW. And we do try to take what we need and leave the rest. =) Not always easy, but we are learning and it's a good life when we do stay there.