Radical Unschooling is a very present-based philosophy. The focus of our life is on happiness and pursuing our interests with reckless abandon together. We totally immerse ourselves in our passions every single day and we do so in the Now. Children very naturally live in the present, so living this philosophy feels good and right to them. They rarely worry about the future in the way that most adults in our culture do and in fact, do not understand the constant preparation that kids in school are forced to live everyday.
It’s interesting to me that our culture constantly puts a focus on our children’s future. Our kids are trained from toddlerhood to live in the space of preparation, instead of enjoying the moment. Then, we spend years as adults trying to undo this conventional mindset through yoga, meditation and self-help books to convert us back to our natural way of being, which is to be more present and living in the Now.
I feel that Radical Unschooling is the most natural, Zen way for children to live – for anyone to live for that matter! When we never take this default way of being mindful away from children, they never have to go through all that so many of us have to as adults just to get back to the state of being that feels so good and so fulfilling. It is so important to notice when we are rushing kids through their daily experiences just to get to the next thing on the list. Are we rushing them through dinner to get their bath done? Are we rushing through their bedtime story to get them to bed on time? Are we rushing and planning our lives with our children away all for the sake of a schedule? Our children know when our agenda or schedule is more important to us than they are in the moment. This deeply affects our connection with them. If we are feeling rushed through our daily routine when we are interacting with our kids, it may be a good time to reflect on what is important in life. The house can wait. Our email can wait. Our list of to-do’s should never come before modeling mindfulness and putting everything aside for our children in the moment.
You do have to have a great deal of trust living in the present. It has taken me some time to allow things to just flow for our family from day to day. Once a year, our state requests evaluations of our children’s progress. It is during this time when I do a lot of reflecting and writing about all that my children have done as Unschoolers. Amazing to those living a conventional life, our children learn and progress far more than children in school, even from an academic perspective. We never “teach” them the traditional subjects taught in schools, yet they learn reading, writing, math, science, history and so much more, just as a side effect of living their bliss in the present moment, every single day!
Our children have a depth of happiness and self-worth that I did not know until I was an adult, just through having the freedom to be present and mindful. Through Radical Unschooling we never take away the natural born state of simply being from them. Their inner guidance is respected, trusted and never silenced by my worry about their future. Does this sound neglectful or mindful?
I know in my heart that that happy moments lead to happy days, happy weeks, happy months and happy years. A joyful, fulfilling life overflowing with self-love is the result of a childhood pure and unfettered by someone else’s future-based agenda. Being mindful isn’t something that our kids will ever have to learn in the way that most of us do today. By keeping our focus on happiness, connection, mindfulness and love, we give our children the greatest gift that they could ever receive – their WHOLENESS.