Sunday, July 12, 2009

Observing Instead of Judging

This morning I was thinking about something my daughter had done the night before - leaving some food uneaten.  I was reflecting this morning and thought "I don't like food wasted, but at least she knows to stop eating when she's no longer hungry, which is a good habit".  But then I realized, why do I need to decide whether her actions are good or bad at all?  Does every thing in the world that I see or hear about need to be judged by me as to whether it is good or not?  In most cases, my opinion is either irrelevant, or is not needed.

So, whereas the standard advice would be to "try and find the good in everything", from now on I will try and remember to avoid the thoughts "this is good" or "this is bad" - some things just are.  I know this will be a hard habit to break.  As parents we expect to have to evaluate every situation to determine what actions we will take to help "form" our kids.  Since we have stopped trying to form our kids to let them learn on their own, it seems that making the judgment when I am not going to act on it only serves to build my frustration, and negatively affect my internal image of my kids.

Note, for you who aren't radical unschoolers, this does not mean that I am not parenting, and it does not mean that I can't have an opinion on things.  It just mean that if I say something to my kids about something they are doing, I will state the effect it is having on me (It bothers me when...), but I will not tell them that it is "bad", and I will not try and coerce them to change.  I will just hope that they will take that information on the effects of their actions into account later, along with all the other factors that may influence their decision.

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