November 20, 2008

Just Like Old Times

Ah, it's just like the old days when I first started this blog. Well, maybe not just like them. I'm not totally freaking out about how Jerry is spending his time or what he is and isn't learning. I am, however, a little worried. And Warren is a lot worried.

Jerry does spend a huge amount of time sitting in front of the television watching cartoons. When he gets tired of TV, he plays computer games or breaks out the Wii or PlayStation. I don't have a problem with these activities (Warren does--more because of the time spent on them than the activity itself) but I am worried because he seems to be doing them out of habit--because it's the easy thing to do. He seems to have fallen into a kind of malaise--like he just doesn't have the gumption to get up and do something else. I really think he needs more physical activity but I have to twist his arm to get him to do anything that's active--including leaving the house.

Am I doing Jerry any favors by accepting his first (or second or third) answer to my requests that he get out of the house (or even just off the couch)? People pay personal trainers to help them do what they say they want to do, but fail to acheive without coaching. As a parent shouldn't I be coaching Jerry to become his best self? I want to honor his choices. But I also want him to be healthy and vibrant and engaged in the world around him.

I'm not saying he doesn't do other things but the days when he spends more than a few hours away from one screen or another are few and far between.

At this point I think my plan is to make more plans. He liked the unschooler park day in Santa Monica and he actually ran around at that one so that's a good first step. Yesterday we went to the library. He wanted to stay in the car while I went in but I just said no. He didn't complain and ended up finding a bunch of manga he wanted to read so I'm glad I insisited.

What I want to know is where does the line fall between honoring your child's feelings and rolling over like a wet noodle, always taking their first answer as the final one. I want to support his interest in television and computers and video games but I feel like Jerry is getting compliance rather than support from me these days and that makes me feel like I'm not being the best parent I can be.

At one of the Dragon Tree park days when Pam Sorooshian was speaking, she said that unschooling is like a dance. Sometimes the child is leading, sometimes the parent, and other times parent and child dance in perfect sync, together. So maybe I need to take the lead for now, with my eye on getting to a place where we weave freely in and out of leading, following, and gliding side by side.

No comments: