Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Put away childish things... (Amy)

It's been a while since I've posted. Finally our family is settled into our new town and our new home. And as we settle into our routine with homeschool, I find I'm struggling.

Some of my struggle comes in the form of my 12 year old. My husband calls him "The Man Child". He's approaching 6 feet in height. He's developing muscles from participating on the swim team, he's starting to shave and is quite handsome. He could pass as a 15 or 16 year old any day.

But take this example... We were at the grocery store recently and he's pushing the cart out to the car. He starts running with the cart and is making race car noises (loudly) as he swerves and turns and screeches through the parking lot avoiding imaginary obstacles.

There are times when he's remarkably poised and aware of what is happening around him and seems very "grown up". Other times he is frustratingly childlike.

18 months ago when I first learned about Leadership Education, I was sure my son was in Transition to Scholar phase. I've been expecting Scholar Phase to start any minute now. As he grows physically and his maturity level lags slightly behind, I grow frustrated.

I don't know if I'm alone in this. But my frustration seems very converybeltish. I've been okay with letting him "love learning" and study things he's interested in (yada yada yada)... but ENOUGH ALREADY! When is he going to start scholar phase???!!!

(Please don't follow my example...)
A couple of days ago in the midst of a really low moment on this path to leadership education, I remembered something that I heard at a conference Summer of 2007 at George Wythe College in regards to Transition to Scholar. I'll paraphrase...
Transition is a time when parents tend to freak out (that's me). They stop trusting the process and want to jump back on the conveyor belt to ensure their child gets an education.

Yep. I concur.

And so I realize the need for me to get back to the basics. I pulled out my Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning book. (Do you have this yet? You really need it. It's your guide book to putting all this together and can save you from yourself.)

I turned to Chapter Six (Page 153 Transition to Scholar) and I read "Transition occurs in most girls between ages ten and twelve and in boys between eleven and fourteen. Some psychologists and counselors speak of this age as the root source of most problems in men, who are often pushed too hard at this age to "put away childish things" and take on adult responsibility. One of the biggest pressures many boys feel at this age is pressure to perform academically. Girls are usually ahead of boys at this age, yet boys are often pushed to keep up to girl "grade levels." "

Here are some other goodies:

"It is important during this transitional time to remember that the child is still in Love of Learning Phase and to consider and treat Transition as such rather than as the beginning of Scholar Phase."

"You (the parent) must be effectively progressing in the Phases"
"As you apply correct principles you must truly relax and trust that your youth will do a Scholar Phase and do it well... Leadership Education comes naturally in homes where the parents are on the Leadership Path. Pushing them too soon will only slow down the process, and may actually push them off the Path of Leadership."

"Trusting does not mean giving in to your pride or paranoia at the expense of compromising tried-and-true principles. It means applying principles according to the vision and counsel of the FEC and not allowing other voices to incite you to second guess your hard won inspiration."

I have some relaxing and trusting to do. I'm not sure why I freak out. My son is really a great kid. He loves to read and he loves science. He has an insatiable appetite for learning. He's a great big brother and is very responsible. He also likes to fly little airplanes around the house and make noises that only a boy can make.

I'm ready to step off the conveyor belt again. I know this post was long, but I really needed it. The whole chapter is incredible and if you have a child between the ages of 9 and 14, I'd encourage you to read it. Again and again. It's a classic.
"There are few things in life as enjoyable, as rewarding or as downright fun as living through a great Transition to Scholar with your child during Love of Learning Phase. Enjoy it, slow down and savor it for as long as it lasts, and smile, hug and laugh a lot more."


Shawn and Kim said...

I really liked this post, and yes, it made perfect sense. I always love your posts. I look forward to more.

Tate Family said...

Thanks Amy for the reminder....again. I told someone tonight I need to keep hearing the basics over and over. It's too easy to get in a hurry and end up back on the conveyor belt!

Shawn and Kim said...

Don't feel too bad Kim is still waiting for me to transition and stop making motor sounds as I screech the cart around corners dodging obsticals only I can see.I sometimes wonder if she still thinks it's funny when I call her up and in one of my very fake accents voices ask "you ordr chiney fuod? I be der 15 mina." And I do not know how she tolerates the amount of time I spend at the ice rink trying to pass on a little bit of my 2nd love (a.k.a. HOCKEY) to the youth here in Fairbanks.
There are parts of me that are all grown up and most days I am OK with that. However, some days I still feel 17 and all I want to do is be a kid on the ice again. Those days I tend to be a little more goofy with the kids and let them know just how fun it is to be silly.

Relax and realize those boys may never complemanatly outgrow the boyism we are born with.

Love and miss you guys,