There isn’t just one right way

Think Outside the BoxThere are dozens of ways to be a good parent.

There are as many and more to homeschool.

There are lots of ways to create good energy, to be kind and attentive, to overlook pettinesses, to find the “good” in today, to love and guide your children, to honor yourself.

There isn’t just one right way.


There isn’t one magic way where if you follow this specific path, you are guaranteed a good outcome.

When faced with pain or frustration, hopelessness or tedium, consider lots and lots of ways. Consider them all, and then a few more.

Sometimes you have to “bust up” the program to find a new way that changes everything. Sometimes the new choice you make is out of sync with “your” group. Sometimes you can’t “hold truck” with that bunch of people—for a while or for good. Sometimes you introduce yourself to a new version of you, as you imagine life under a different banner. Why not? You get to make up who you are over and over again. That’s called “maturing.”

Your home is yours to manage. Your primary task as a parent isn’t to teach your children good manners or the three Rs. Your primary role is to foster a safe space for family to unfurl.

When family members feel safe, they feel loved. When family members feel anxious, they feel rejected.

It’s hard to care about learning when stressed, or shamed; when feeling bad about self. It’s hard to “teach” or “lead” when you are distracted by emotional pain, feel controlled, or are suffering a debilitating illness.

The hardest thing to do is to consider ALL options. At least, I found it hard. So much easier and safer, it seemed, to adopt a philosophy and all the practices I was told should go with it. So easy to forget one’s own common sense, or to check in with the emotional vibe of the home and family and admit the truth about it.

No matter how conscientiously you apply the system for math or getting a baby to sleep through the night or set up disciplinary actions for transgressions or recite your treasured verses or aphorisms to sustain you—if you find yourself stuck in a cycle of apathy, low energy, unhappiness, anxiety, or pretense, the plan is not working.

Do something else. Even consider some of the taboo options—the ones you were told are always wrong, the ones that prove you are “not a member” of the group.

This is your one extraordinary life! You get to decide how it goes. You are the main source of space, freedom, and support for your children to become who they should be.

The one thing you can count on: systems don’t work nearly as well as responsiveness to reality—paying attention to the variables and acting when that niggling sense of “not right” persistently knocks at your door.

Be creative, get out of the box, try something new.

Today, it may be one small thing—that one thing you keep considering. Pay attention, journal, talk, consider meditatively. Risk. Revise.

Keep going.

Cross-posted on facebook.

Image by LPHR Group

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