June 28, 2008

As Ry becomes a more proficient reader, and yes of course, we still have work to do. We work together every day. But as this looming dark need of mine to have two children who are solid readers lightens a bit everyday with Ry's progress, I notice myself casting around for a new dark cloud. Isn't that odd, that my mind would start fishing for a new educational worry? While, in the style of Pema Chodron, I notice the interesting and ever shifting nature of my mind's gravitation toward worry, and while I attempt to meditate my way to acceptance of groundlessness and the True Natural Wisdom of Rikpa* Mind, I am also looking for the next topic of educational obsession. Ha!

This is odd for an unschooler, this pushing desire to improve the children. My goals for the children progressed in this order: sitting alone, walking, manners, potty training, manners, swimming, manners, biking, manners, and reading and more manners. I have said that after these milestones, the rest is environment. Having nurtured, I've been looking forward to handing the reins back to Mother (True) Nature. (Please, I am really trying to avoid all the gobbly Buddhist terms and connections.)

An interesting thing happened yesterday. I was waiting at a traffic light for entry onto an interstate highway. The music was rocking: "Kindness will be your guide. Put a little love in your heart." The kids were patient in the back seat. I had on my shades. On the side of the road a beggar was holding a sign. I did a double take. I thought, for a moment, that his sign said "Please Give. Homeless. Gobble." GOBBLE. In reality the last words were GOD BLESS. But for an instant I read gobble. And this seemed an amazingly brilliant thing to do, stand on the side of an interstate highway with a sign that said gobble. I almost rolled down my window and handed him my only twenty. Then I realised he merely said "God bless" and the light changed.

Why was I so moved by gobble? A poet friend once described the after effect of rape as being left to gobble like a turkey. And what else do we do but gobble? We gobble food and resources and money and oil and television and the internet and constant distraction. We gobble constantly. Our minds gobble. Its repulsive, all the gobbling. There we were driving our gobbling cars to our gobbling destinations our gobbling hearts starving. And there he was just standing there in unimaginably uncomfortable heat and stank, with his sign.

So what to teach the children next? I've been thinking that I will be forced to formally address mathematics before the children go to high school or college. I assume, by the time they have unschooled the topic, it will be a short and delightful course. Because math actually is really cool and not all that difficult to study.

Math set aside for formal inquiry later, my mind alights on language. I want the children to speak Spanish. I simply want it for them. As I want so many things for them, that I myself have previously failed to do. Aha! Notice that? I just discovered where my searching dark worry comes from, my failures. Good to note. I'm thinking we should have Spanish day once a week around here. Watch movies in Spanish. Read Spanish books. Have a native speaker in for a weekly lesson. Gobble in Spanish, as it were.

*Rikpa: "In Tibetan there are several words for mind, but two that are particularly helpful to know are sem and rikpa. Sem is what we experience as discursive thoughts, a stream of chatter that's always reinforcing an image of ourselves. Rikpa literally means "intelligence" or "brightness." Behind all the planning and worrying, behind all the wishing and wanting, picking and choosing, the unfabricated wisdom mind of rikpa is always here. Whenever we stop talking to ourselves, rikpa is continually here." ~When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron

1 comment:

Annie said...

Love your post.