Zen and the Art of Letting Go

Basically, what I believe in boils down to this:

It’s not child-led learning, it’s not “do whatever you want” learning, it’s not hands-off learning, nor is it unschooling. It’s simply the goal of having a judgment-free learning lifestyle.

That’s what it boils down to. Letting go of my own judgments of what is “Right” and what is “Wrong”. My own judgments of who my children are supposed to be.

Cuz you know what, none of us are perfect. None of us are even close. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s true. I’m not perfect. And because I believe that X will help my kids, I might just be blinded by my own certainty and biases. And it’s for certain that I can’t see the future, nor can I see things from my children’s perspective. My view point is extremely limited. And to expect my kids to be perfect – not even that, but MY version of perfect – in order for me to be satisfied, is forcing a difficult and unfair burden on the shoulders of my little guys who probably understand the world and how to be happy far better than I do.

We can’t completely take away all of our judgments. And there are some things that we value as important because they do bring happiness and joy into our lives (say, judging it “bad” to act violently towards one another.) But try this: the next time you are upset, or in an argument, or butting heads with someone, ask yourself if you would still be in that negative situation if you dropped all subjective judgments. And see if there is a solution that can be found that didn’t involve our own opinion of what is “right”.

This is how we create the homeschooling life we want, by choosing to recognize when we are creating the pain in our own families and in ourselves by not being able to let go of our criticisms and judgments of other people and ourselves.

The world – it gets along just fine without our judgments. Our kids too. They don’t want our criticisms, they want our support, insights and wisdom. Not our baggage.

See if it works for you. See if reducing how much place expectations and value judgments on things can make a difference. See if we can recognize how when we think our way is the right way, we are mowing over everyone else involved, and making our own troubles by trying to control the universe. Trouble in our lives is the universe resisting our efforts to try and control it, instead of working with it.

I’ll do it if you’ll do it with me. Cuz no matter how much I know this, it’s a skill that takes a life-time of practice.


5 Responses to “Zen and the Art of Letting Go”

  1. Ben Sayer Says:

    I agree completely with your perspective being self aware so that we can avoid being judgmental. I also find it interesting that you brought up our biases because I feel the cognitive biases that are part of human nature (anchoring, framing, hindsight bias, fundamental attribution error, confirmation bias, and self-serving bias) should be taught to our children. By doing this we raise children that can be more successfully self-aware and less susceptible other people’s baggage.

  2. Tammy Says:

    Thank you Ben for your comment.

    Are you saying that our children should be taught that these biases exist? Or that they should be the taught our biases? And, out of curiosity, how should we teach them about these biases?

  3. Ben Sayer Says:


    I think they should be taught that these biases are common to all human beings. A wonderful way to teach them–and to learn more about them ourselves–is to point them out in ourselves. Additionally they can be pointed out when helping children with decision making and assessment.

    Take confirmation bias for example. It is the tendency to interpret information or look for it in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions. This cognitive bias is in effect when emergency room staff think that they are busier on days with a full-moon. Experiments have demonstrated that it is untrue and go on to offer an explanation: because the full-moon is a special event with associated mythology, people concoct the idea that people act crazy at that time. As they go through lunar cycles they don’t look for evidence of busy days under different lunar phases. They only seek confirming evidence that their preconception is correct.

    Our children can be taught about confirmation bias and other cognitive biases through explanation, examples, and by helping them design experiments to demonstrate them in their own lives.

  4. RubyShooZ Says:

    Tammy, I’m so glad I found you. I am not a home schooler since my children are already grown and have turned into wonderful young men but I wish I had home schooled them.

    I admire the way you have put it in this context of Zen and non-judgement teaching. This is great and I’m sure children learn much better this way than the usual ways in which they are “taught”. This is my first visit here and I haven’t yet had a chance to look around but I had seen your comment(s) at Mark’s place and …here I am. I look forward to looking around here more.
    Thank you for being here and for being youi.
    Peace and love.
    ~ RS ~

  5. Worldschooling, Not Unschooling « Just Enough, and Nothing More Says:

    […] an “unschooler’. Or rather, I wear the label very loosely. I prefer the term “zenschooling,” since it is more in line with how I process the concept of education, and how we practice […]

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