As per usual, as I’m about to torture yet another victim, I try to quickly discern who it is truly lying in my chair. As I entered the room, she was intently working on her laptop. I quipped, that if she wanted to knock out a quick spreadsheet that would be cool, as I’ll give her about 5 minutes for her lip to to feel huge. This, of course lightened the mood and she told me she was finishing up her PhD. in Education Psychology and was answering some emails with some of the local school districts she was consulting in the Metro area. This retort is the kind that causes my grey matter to ooze with possibilities and intrigue. I inquired as to the exact nature of her work, which led to a quick resume, ideology and a tacit understanding of her philosophy and her power of personal intent. I jumped in excitedly and expounded on her opening, mentioning Sir Ken Robinson and his superior view on the importance of experiential learning and supporting curiosity and imagination, instead of leading it and the tendency to push kids didactically.
I was officially welcomed into the conversation, as had been my intent from the outset, and the conversation led to her asking me my opinion of parenting. She was very interested in finding the very best schools for her own children, and had done her homework on finding the very best that this area had to offer. Not intending to cut her off from a passionate search for providing her children the best learning environment, but I had to reframe the direction of the conversation. I’m not the conscientious type of parent, at least not the type who would be noticed as being so. I tend to start with the basics, and don’t let my focus get usurped by the external, unless it becomes necessary.
I told her I have always held my kids able and when they display signs of frustration or looking outside themselves, I ask them questions. My daughter recently wrote an essay, in which she recounted one of the innumerable times me asking her if she liked feeling that she got from thinking problems can be solved outside of herself. This irritated her when she was younger, but she had to admit that it instilled in her a sense awareness and a questioning nature that has been a salvation against the gravity of conformity. I may drill, fill and bill to put food in the cupboard, but it’s souls I’m after.