We have just returned from the Life is Good Unschooling Conference. Attending these gatherings is an extremely important part of unschooling for me. When people are new at unschooling I always tell them, don’t try and do this alone. Find your people, or as many of you say “find your tribe”. I am someone who does everything alone. I don’t ask for help often, I don’t often share my emotions and I tend to be a fairly private person. However, one of the things I cannot do is unschool my children alone. I need you, and you need me. I love conferences more than I love any other social gathering. Conferences have so much to offer everyone, of every age. (Actually, since finding my tribe, I find that much of what I wrote about not sharing my emotions has become completely untrue when I’m with them!)
For me, I’m a people watcher. I much prefer to sit back and watch the goings on then be all sucked up into the middle of it. One night at the conference dance, as I looked on into the crowd of children and parents, I was reminded how the world should be. It is our obligation to give our children that world, not to force upon them a world as we have made it. Amidst the faces in the dancing sea, I notice quirky, creative, and confident children and uninhibited adults basking in the glow of their awesomeness. Those kids are the lucky ones, the ones who have shown their parents the way toward more peaceful and gentle ways. Those parents are the blessed ones, who without those amazing children wouldn’t be parents at all. Most of these children, would be eaten alive by the school system and the social order and many have risen from being crushed such an atrocity on the human spirit. Every last child in the world deserves such a beautiful life and it makes me sad that they can’t all have it. It makes me even sadder that the ones who can have it, won’t ever get it.
We’re taught to point our fingers at everyone but ourselves. It’s the problem with school, the problem with society, and even the problem with government. Most parents could never unschool, because they don’t want to take that deep hard look at themselves. Not being in control scares the hell out of people. People spend 18 or more years under someone else control and living in shame and fear. They have no idea in the world what might happen if they allow children to leave their control. That’s where the fear begins. Fear holds us back and prevents of from remembering that this is just a life. It is a glorious, wonderful life and we should be living it! Sadly, most don’t even know what that means.
As I sat in the chair watching all those out of control children of life, a sea of toddlers, kids, teens, and parents I thought to myself, this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen; a gleaming example of people being honored for being right where they are. A gathering of unschoolers meets a myriad of needs. Some of us like to sit back and observe, some of like dance with our friends, and some of us like to get on that stage and shine like we never have before. Yeah, you know who I’m talking about! Differences are fascinating and in unschooling those differences are embraced, nurtured, and protected. Now THAT is monumental change.