Let it go
Maybe it’s just the collection of blogs I read today, but an underlying spirit or tone nettled me: defensiveness, aggressively asserting one’s identity against the nay-sayers.
It got me thinking.
Sometimes I fight imaginary windmills too, when I go for a run or take a shower or drive a long way alone. My mind crafts the ideal conversation or lists the things I would say or do under selective, grounded circumstances. I come off quite well in those imaginary encounters with hostile opponents.
Because I write, sometimes I’m tempted to dress down the imagined reader even though I know that my audience is usually peopled with those sympathetic to my point of view. A bit of a lop-sided conversation – my loud voice against their silent one. But wow does it sometimes feel so good to do just that!
Maybe it’s my age, maybe I’ve read too much Internet in the last 20 years (a bit like the Berenstain Bears “Too Much Birthday”). I have less stomach for that practice—the strongly worded proclamation of belief or personality to the audience that doesn’t ‘get me’.
Even as I understand the concerns of those who would question my choices, I can still feel in my nerve-endings how satisfying it is to finally “get the well-defended thoughts into words” out of my head and off my chest and aimed at the nay-sayers.
So perhaps this status update is my counter-weight to my readings today and my old propensities, but I offer these thoughts to consider if you are feeling a little less brave as a homeschooler or parent or educator or adult—if some of your conversations leave you unconfident or jarred or filled with “fighting words.”
Let it go.
What if “they” are right? What if you aren’t meeting your expectations, let alone theirs?
Or what if you aren’t meeting theirs, let alone YOURS?
What if some of the things “those other people” say are true?
You can take it, can’t you? You can go back to your life and think about what to do to address real issues that come up from time to time, right?
What if some of those comments are actually compliments in disguise?
We forget sometimes that this home education task is pretty darned daunting and we are pretty audacious to take it up. That’s why people are shocked. That’s why they take it upon themselves to scrutinize you or to say things like, “I could never be with my kids 24/7.” It’s not that they couldn’t, if they really thought about it. It’s that they do, in fact, admire you for doing it and you deserve that back-handed admiration. Enjoy it. Receive it.
As you find your way in the world, I’ve discovered (mostly by way of the “hard way”) that I get further in my life when I pay less attention to what other people say about me, and instead get busy doing what I know I should be doing, what I say I want to be doing.
The most appealing homeschooler to a non-homeschooling family is the one who has nothing to prove, enjoys all families, and relishes the chance to participate in the big world as a friend and fellow parent.
You are fine, as you are. You’ve picked a lifestyle that is non-conformist so you get the back-flow of curiosity and discomfort from the mainstream. Ultimately, you can though, let it go.
It probably took you some time to adjust your mindset to the idea of homeschooling. Extend that same grace to those in your life, as you can. Don’t share details with those who are unsafe or discourage you.
Your inner light and your real struggles humanize you to your family and friends, and make your homeschool both approachable, and, conversely, above reproach. People are drawn to real people, not cardboard cut-outs of unimpeachable characteristics. In other words, be yourself, as you are, as you homeschool.
It’s not up to you to protect the reputation of homeschooling as an institution. You don’t have to defend homeschool or make sure that your homeschool is a model or an example to others. You have nothing to prove, nothing to hide.
Let it go. Breathe it out. Float. Be. You’re okay.
Live the life you choose today, no matter what they say.
Cross-posted on facebook.