I've been thinking a lot lately about how to encourage my little one to be himself day in and day out, no matter the people he is surrounded by. So far I think we've been mostly successful with this nature blossoming in him, and there's always ways we can improve in this, since hardly any of us adults were raised with this in mind.
I'm definitely not perfect at keeping this in mind, but I think we get better with it every day. We've bounced around from parenting idea and technique all over the place, and only ever resonated with allowing him to be himself and never crush his spirit, no matter the circumstance.
I've been reading this incredible book called "Free to Learn" by Peter Gray. It's absolutely fascinating and I just love all of his facts proving that children and meant to learn by playing. Children naturally mimic adults and will play at doing just that, until their play becomes the real thing (well, isn't it real all along?). Hunter-gatherer children have always been encouraged to play and the mimicking of adults trains them to do the "work" (play) for years before it becomes their responsibility. I'll share more from this book when I get completely through it, but so far I would recommend it to just about anyone I come into contact with.
I wanted to share this quote from August Hermann Francke, who was one of the first to establish a schooling system, similar to the ones we see today - the author shares in the book (from page 59):
"Youth do not know how to regulate their lives, and are naturally inclined toward idle and sinful behvaior when left to their own devices. For this reason, it is a rule in this institution that a pupil never be allowed out of the presence of a supervisor. The supervisor's presence will stifle the pupil's inclination to sinful behavior, and slowly weaken his willfulness."
Eeek! Right? Following this quote, the author (Peter Gray) goes on to say "The words used today may be a little different, but modern educators have expressed the same idea countless times. The belief that young people are incapable of making reasonable decisions is a cornerstone of our system of compulsory, closely monitored education."
What I've personally noticed is that my child seems to learn most by playing and mimicking. Whether it be out on the land, indoors playing with toys, with our art supplies, building and creating things, anything.
I listened to this video recently, and absolutely love what Abraham has to say on the subject of Nurturing Your Spirited Child. I especially love the part about how our children have come forth to show us how we used to feel, and how we are now trying to return to this way. It's so good, give it a shot and listen to the end. Honestly, I think I've listened to it more than 5 times at this point. It's just that good.
I want my child to always know the perfection of who he is.