'Hmmmmm....not so sure about this unschooling thing ' I hear you say. Please read on......
It all started off with budgies. We travelled out to Belconyn, a lovely lake-side area on the central coast, and the boys bought two gorgeous little budgies to put in our new aviary. We took them home, and settled 'Cloudy' and 'Wattle' in with food, water and some parsley leaves. Knowing we have lots of visitors coming tomorrow, I suggested that Flex make a sign asking people to keep the aviary door shut. Well, that opened a can of worms....Flex has insecurities about his writing, and knowing people were going to be reading his sign, these self doubts all flared up like the proverbial hounds of hell.
"But my writing is horrible!" he exclaimed after ripping up his 4th attempt to write the 'perfect' sign. The more he doubted himself, the angrier he got, the more mistakes he made etc etc. He worked himself into a real tizz. His insecurites pushed my buttons and I flared up too telling him to get over it, they were HIS birds and he WAS going to write the sign no matter what.
After feeling the heat of the argument for a few moments I realised that he was not angry with me for making him write the sign, his anger was with the voices in his head that were telling him he was a 'crap writer' and that his 'writing sucks'. These were words he had heard from a kid at school and for whatever reason, they have really stayed with him.
So, listening to my intuition (which I think I'm getting better at - it's only taken 35 years!), I said to him:
"You know what you should say to someone who is putting you down? PISS OFF!!"
Both he and Lucky stared at me. I don't normally swear (in front of the kids anyway), and they didn't know whether to laugh or scold me.
"Let's practice. Lucky, your nose looks weird."
"Piss off mum!" (giggle)
"Flex, your writing is really crappy."
"PISS OFF!" (Sly smile - first of the afternoon)
We then spent a great deal of the evening laughing at each other's made up insults and practicing different ways we can say these two magic little words. Imagine how much we could achieve if every time our inner saboteur said "you can't do it", "you aren't any good at that" or whatever your inner saboteur says, you came back with a good solid "Piss OFF!". We could move mountains I tell ya!!!
Lo and behold, several hours later Flex went back to his task and created a bold, firm, red sign to protect the little birdies from the ghastly threat of open aviary doors. He went to bed a proud boy, hopefully with a small but useful tool for living a good life.
What do you think? Should we empower our kids with swear words? I tossed around "Go away!" and "I don't agree!" but for me, neither of these options have anywhere near the oomph and satisfaction of a good strong "Piss Off!". I'm interested in your thoughts.....