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Homeschool Fiction

Follow homeschoolers Nadia and Aidan as they travel the USA! Each book in this series explores a new state and a new research topic. Along with their parents and pet turtle, they find adventure and learning everywhere.

...and just what is that mysterious device of theirs?

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February 2008
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Topics: empowerment,homeschooling,mindful parenting,Unschooling,zen

What is YOUR Goal for Your Kids?

Whenever I start a new project, I usually start with an end goal in mind. When I get out yarn, I don’t usually start knitting without knowing what I am making. I start with the idea of a scarf, or a purse, or a pillow, or a sweater. Then, I choose the yarn, the pattern, and the needles (or loom) based on what project I choose. Same with just about everything I start. I have at a minimum an inclination of what I want the end result to be. I believe this is how most people start projects. We don’t just start driving down the road for no reason, we have a destination in mind.

Unfortunately, this is also how most people go into parenting. They have an end goal in mind for their children before they are even born. Think about it. Admit it to yourself — you had goals for your children, didn’t you? I did. Is this a bad thing? Depends.

Ultimately, how we parent our children depends on what our goal for them is. If our goal is to birth a pediatrician, then we’ll probably be pushing medical journals and anatomy studies from the time they can point out their nose and ears. If our goal is to raise a mathematician, we’d probably be pushing flashcards and multiplication quizzes. If we want an athletic child, we’ll probably start throwing them balls as soon as they can grasp objects.

My husband and I spent a lot of time discussing what our goals for our children were both before we had kids and during the first few years of our oldest child’s life. We originally thought we wanted a highly schooled child, one that knew a dozen foreign and computer languages, and was amazingly more intelligent and beautiful than anyone we knew. That changed quickly as we started actually examining the people around us. We kept seeing those that portrayed intelligence with a string of letters behind their names were the least happy with their lives and the least fulfilled. That gave us pause for thought. Why would this be? Usually because they weren’t fulfilling their own goals for themselves, but rather their parents (or other significant people’s).

This brought us to the decision that our real and true goal was for our children to be happy. With that new goal in mind, and learning the personality of our oldest daughter, we came to the realization that school wasn’t all we had thought it was. Following all of society’s rules does not guarantee happiness nor success.

Following your heart does.

How could we, as this wonderful child’s [now two children’s] parents facilitate a happy and fulfilled life for her? For starters, we listened to her. School’s time table is written to include the largest percentage of people as possible. She, as one person, did not need to follow that schedule. In fact, by forcing her to follow it, we would have held her back in many ways and strayed from true learning and real happiness. We found that by living in the present, she thrived.

We’ve learned that if you follow happiness and stay in a happy state, the next day’s happiness comes more easily. Going with the flow creates happy, intelligent, balanced children that know how to take care of their own needs. They know they are worthy of having needs and deserving happiness.

What is your goal for your children? Even if you were guaranteed that they’d live to be over 100 years old, would you want to force particular careers on them? Do you want them to resent you, or come to you for guidance and support whenever they have a problem? Do you want them to be interdependent or needy? Everything you do for them today will affect who they become tomorrow. Help them have happiness and security, then they’ll be free to reach higher levels of self actualization. Maslow really did have some good theories on this! You can’t get to the higher levels until you’ve fulfilled the lower levels. Think about this before you make goals for your children that they don’t want. If you have goals for a person, make that person be yourself.