November 01, 2010 — TLC for Your Family #21 – Children Reinventing Themselves

TLC for Your Family #21 – Children Reinventing Themselves
November 01, 2010


My children reinvent themselves all the time.

Halloween, yesterday, was one of those times.

How amazing it was this year, watching each of our sons dress up as what he currently thinks he wants to be when he grows up! Our six year old son wants to be a race car driver. Our eleven year old son wants to be a police officer.

And how shocked we were by the transformation that occurred!

With his police cap low over his eyes, and his stealth, serious demeanor, we could all suddenly really imagine my eldest in his police car, patrolling the streets.

And, in a flash, our red-headed six year old boy was “Red Racer,” the nickname he’s experimented with. He looked like a miniature, fit, little athlete-man, the way his high-waisted, high collared body suit shaped him. And the red racing helmet mask that came with it? Wow! It made the transformation complete.

They were mini-men, being who they wanted to be!

Dress-up strikes me as such a visceral, fun way to literally “try on” a possible career choice. Of course, there’s a lot more to being a police officer and race car driver than what you wear.

And, similarly, there are a lot more ways than dressing up for a child to learn about a particular career possibility. We read books, watch videos, and look out for “live” experiences that match their interests. Elliot may start go-karting when he’s old enough, in a couple of years, assuming his interest hasn’t transitioned again by then. And we’ve been on the look-out for some kind of analogous live experience to help Keegan understand more about what police work might be like.

We love how all of of this dovetails with the interest-led learning we’re committed to.

We invite our children to follow their passions, and support them in doing it.

This took some practice for us to get down. It involved learning how to hold back from pushing our own vision of what careers we think might most meet their needs.

Not that we don’t share our concerns and ideas. We do, in part to try to meet their need for fully-informed decision making.

But we’ve worked on holding back enough so that their needs for creativity and autonomy are truly met. We don’t want them to think they need to automatically supplant their burgeoning values with our own. This meets our needs for their well-being – offering them the kind of free, flourishing, creative growth, exploration, and self-determination we would have enjoyed more of as children.

If you might be interested in this approach with your children, it’s something you can try whether or not your kids are in school, although you might find it easiest to do as homeschoolers. Either way though, I recommend “Guerrilla Learning: How to Give Your Kids a Real Education, With or Without School,” by Grace Llewellyn and Amy Silver. And once I have my interest-led learning and interest-led homeschooling (aka "unschooling") web pages up I’ll let you know, so you can check those out too.

In any event, what a delightful Halloween we had! I hope you enjoyed yours too. I wonder what Thanksgiving will bring. :) Until then, “Happy Family-ing!”

Tiffany Clark
Discover What Might be Possible in Your Family Life!

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