In the beginning of a relationship, we don’t have built up expectations about how this person fits into our lives, or how they should be around us. But somewhere along the way, during a relationship, things change, and we get comfortable. So comfortable, that we allow ourselves to be affected by all the things the other person does, to try and make things the way we want them, and to try to get the other person to be more like this or more like that.
Think about someone in your life right now, who you have a hard time dealing with. Was it always like this? Was there ever a time when it was an easy relationship, or when that person did not bug you? What was different?
The more we know about a person, the less forgiving we are of certain kinds of behavior. The more we know about a person, the more we feel it’s OK to have a negative feeling towards someone. When we have this kind of negative thinking, it can mess up a relationship.
Think for a moment about this: Imagine that person who you aren’t getting along with right now, or who bugs you. Imagine that you are meeting them for the very first time. Imagine they are a stranger. How would you react to them? Would it be the same kind of expectations, frustrations, reactions? Would you be more likely to let bad behavior slide? Would you be more likely to let them be who they are? Would it be easier to get along with them?
I was thinking about this in terms of children. When we teach children things, we have a long list of things we know we already taught them. But, if we were teaching another child the same exact thing, we react differently to them. This is true for academic type knowledge, or how to get along with people, or family behavior.
Imagine, now, that you are meeting your child for the first time. How would you react to him? Would you have a basket full of expectations?
Perhaps right here is the key to why parents so often say that kids listen to their teachers more than to their own parents. Parents bring along baggage into every single communique. That baggage is heavy. That baggage makes it difficult to change and grow into a new, better version of ourselves.
There’s something very refreshing about meeting someone who doesn’t know much about us. We can be who we want to be without the baggage. When we’ve known someone a long time, not only do we expect them to be or act a certain way, but we know that they have their own expectations of us, and their own opinions formed because of our history. Compared to certain kinds of relationships, meeting someone new is extremely refreshing. Perhaps this is one reason why so many kids don’t “enjoy” being with their parents, and vice versa?
This brings me to an interesting conclusion that treating people we are close to as if they are a new friend, gives them a huge amount of freedom and comfort. This is what accepting people really means. To see them as they are right at this moment, without having in our minds all the things they did before. By allowing them to redefine who they are with every contact, we make space for them to grow without the weight of our expectations
So when we are working with our children, we can create homeschooling success by “meeting” our kids everyday. We can start fresh. Make no assumptions. We can give our kids the most opportunity for growth by not dragging the past into our present, and restarting our relationship everyday. If something in our past helps create a better now, go ahead and touch on it. Sometimes, reminding ourselves of times we’ve shared increases our current connection. But if it creates frustration, anger, arguments or any negative feelings, then leave that thing in the past, and get back into the now.
We all want our kids to grow. And in order to do that, we have to let go of their past, and our past. We can help our children grow by restarting our homeschool everyday, and meet our kids again and again as they mature.
“Nice to meet you, again, my child. I enjoy getting to know who you are today.”