December 4, 2007

A Recipe For Angst

Okay, I know I don't usually post more than once a day but I'm having an angsty moment.

Yesterday Jerry and I talked about why he hasn't been wanting to go to classes at the last minute lately and he said he's been feeling down for the past month or so. He started crying and saying he doesn't have any friends. He does have one great friend but the truth is he doesn't really have many others. That's ingredient number one. A sad boy.

The second ingredient is culled from hours of sitting on the couch staring at the television refusing invitations of outdoor (or even indoor) activity. I've been letting him watch television as much as he wants to. He's kind of shifted from video games to TV and I've been figuring this is just a natural progression. He's had enough video games and now he's moving on to TV, when that's done he'll find something else. But now that I know he's been feeling down I can't help thinking that the fact that I'm allowing him to watch TV all day isn't doing much for his self-esteem or his physical being. He's comfortable on the couch but I'm aware that sometimes sitting in front of the TV for days on end can make a person feel lethargic and kind of crappy. Should I really be letting him make this choice?

Ingredient number three is the eaiest to find. Doubt. I'm doubting myself especially after reading this from Pam Sorooshian:

In a way, how much tv [our kids] watch is an indicator for unschooling parents as to how well we're doing in creating a rich and stimulating environment.

Don't carry this too far—there are lots of times when watching tv IS an important part of that rich and stimulating environment, but what I mean is that if we noticed one of our children watching tv in a "glued to the tube" zombie-like mode, for hours and hours, day after day, we'd respond by examining our unschooling lives, not with the knee-jerk response of: "This is too much tv and this kid needs to have limits set for him/her."

I'm not creating a rich and stimulant environment!!!!! And if I am I'm not doing a very good job of getting Jerry to engage in it!

Okay, deep breath. In......Out..... I'm calmer now. I know we're deschooling and he should be allowed to decompress and deschool as he sees fit. But how do I know when deschooling is over? How do I tell the difference between a desire to sit on the couch all day that's a precursor to depression and one that's just decompressing?

So there you have my recipe for angst soup--actually, this is just one of many. It's bubbling up in a huge pot on my stove right now and I'd be more than happy to chuck the whole thing out the window if I could just figure out how to lift it.

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