Monday, November 15, 2010

Trusting Our Inner-Wisdom

Amelie's Sunset Heart
Stepping outside of the mainstream takes courage.  Once you're there, staying there takes both a commitment to your own ideals and trust. But how do we learn to trust our inner-wisdom?  The first step is by paying attention with moment-to moment awareness.

Our decision to homeschool didn't come easy.  We had all of the same questions and doubts that everyone else has.  Can we really do this on our own?  Will she really get the best education we can provide?  How will we create positive socialization?  What about college?

Now that we're doing it, I find that those same questions still arise... but so do their answers.  We began our homeschooling journey in preschool.  A combination of disappointment with the available choices and love for learning together with our little one brought us here.  Now it's four years later and we're two and half months into first grade.  What's keeping us here?  A commitment to paying attention and trusting in the process.

I recently attended a debate for County Superintendent of Schools.  While neither candidate seemed to have the same vision for our schools that I would like to see, one of them possessed a perspective that stood in stark contrast to my own.  In support of standardized testing and basing teacher's wages on their student's performance, she said in a slick voice, "Data makes the invisible visible."  I wholeheartedly disagree. 

What makes the invisible visible is not data but relationships.  No multiple choice examinations or collection of processed figures can replace what the human heart is capable of perceiving.  We don't need more "measurable" results.  We just need to listen more closely to our children. 

If you think back to when your kids were very small, you'll probably remember all of those early milestones -- stacking blocks, sorting objects, gripping crayons, drawing circles, naming shapes and colors... first steps, first words, hopping, skipping, and jumping.  As parents, we're naturally tuned into our children and we see each of these little miracles as they unfold.  Then something happens.  They turn five and we stop trusting ourselves.  We send them off to school and forget that we - more than anyone else - are equipped to understand them. 

Our cat has a debaucherous habit of waking us up in the middle of the night by knocking over anything and everything in his reach.  Last week, he jumped up on Am's dresser and startled her awake.  I actually didn't hear a thing until she came in to tell me about it.   

"I was scared and my heart was beating really fast, mama," she said.  "So I sat up and listened to my breath... and my heart slowed down again!"

If you've been following our blog, you know that mindfulness and breath awareness are essential elements in our core curriculum.  Hearing her say those words was the sweetest little gift -- more measurable than any test result or report card.

Whether you're educating at home or just committed to engaging in your child's education, paying attention moment to moment can help you stay connected to their inner-world.  When we when bring this level of awareness to our parenting, we see the little miracles as they unfold.  Often, the little things we notice are the greatest gifts of all.  They enrich our lives with joy and help us build a strong foundation for trusting our inner-wisdom, trusting the process of parenting, and trusting that life is the best teacher.
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