Previously I quoted Steve Jobs as saying something along the lines of “Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice”. Have you ever tried to think and live outside the commonly accepted stereotype or expectation people have of you? I find it really difficult, I feel a bit like a failure, I feel weird and strange and it can be a bit lonely; it seems much easier to go with the flow, the only problem for me is it leaves me feeling empty and confused and lonely as well.
As I blogged a few month ago I was challenged by the concept that you don’t have to do to be, this idea continues to change my life every day. Now I am being challenged by the idea that as a parent it is not necessarily my job to tell my children, or any other children, what they should or shouldn’t do, or try to manipulate or control them to say, do and think what I want them to, not even my job to solve their problems for them. Rather the idea is to provide an environment to help them make the most of their own skills and energy to secure cooperation and responsibility. The objective is to grow confident and responsible adults, that I will share a strong connection with.
Another idea is that when our own needs are met we feel affectionate, confident, empowered, engaged, inspired, excited, hopeful, grateful and exhilarated but when our needs are not met we feel annoyed, disconnected, sad, vulnerable, embarrassed, tense, confused and angry (M.B. Rosenberg). To meet needs we need to listen to our own bodies and intuition, or truly listen when our spouse or children talk to us. It takes time, you need to be really connected to yourself and those around you, and it cannot be manufactured or faked and as I am finding you need to be prepared to have your beliefs challenged and you need to be courageous.
Unschooling is another idea that has caught my attention lately and this challenges a lot of my beliefs. Unschooling believes that children can teach themselves through their curiosity and eagerness to explore the world. It focuses on real world learning experiences, and it allows the child to dictate his or her education by deciding what they do, or don’t, want to learn about. This seems crazy to me, but the number of children who struggle through 13 years of formal education also causes me a great deal of concern.
If I looked at my world and saw love and peace and hope and joy I probably wouldn’t see any reason to challenge mainstream beliefs and ideas, but I don’t. I see lots of sadness, violence, brokenness, abuse, depression, anxiety, worry and fear which is what gets me thinking there must be a better way.
There is a lot going on in my head and heart at the moment, I am not saying any of the above ideas are the answer, as I approach my birthday so many things I thought I already knew are being challenged, and new ideas are being formed and investigated and I am certainly being extended outside my comfort zone. Gail Sheehy said “If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living”, and one thing I am sure of is while I am here I want to really live, not just exist. what do you think?