Why am i doing life this way? Why is unblocking within so important? Why is it a good idea to keep choices alive? All lead to more peace within for me and my children. An excerpt from Elizabeth Gilbert's book "Eat, Pray, Love" says it well:
"I also keep remembering a simple idea my friend Darcey told me once---that all the sorrow and trouble of this world is caused by unhappy people. Not only in the big global Hitler-n-Stalin picture, but also on the smallest personal level. Even in my own life, I can see exactly where my episodes of unhappiness have brought suffering or distress or (at the very least) inconvenience to those around me. The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a generous gift to the world. Clearing out all your misery gets you out of the way. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people."
I loved reading about Elizabeth Gilbert's journey. Truly this way of living (our unschooling choice) is guaranteed to make you want to tear your hair out, then you grow some hair back and start to feel better, then you tear some more out but now the hair seems to be growing back fast and you are tearing out less. Its fun :-) And its only the adult's hair going... the kids hair is growing luxuriantly almost non-stop.
Speaking of hair... Raghu finally succumbed to the "you look like a girl" message he was getting from society at large here in India. I was party to one aspect of the hair episode... both Ravi and I found it hard to talk to him with his hair sitting right on top of his eyes. With Raghu's involvement... we tried gel, oil-water, hair clips, hairbands etc... but his super-silky hair refused to stay off his eyes as he grew it. So we were stuck waiting for the front chunk to grow long enough to tuck behind his ears. And i think this too bothered him. Sadly as he was debating whether to trim the front locks or get used to a sports hairband... he suddenly decided to go super short. He wanted me to lop off all of his shoulder length hair. Raghu did deal with the "you look like a girl" comments well... he would say "i'm not a girl" and then move off. But ultimately while getting his hair lopped he kept saying "make it look like a boy, amma" I'm sad... i loved his long hair. Anyway... someday Ravi plans to grow out his hair.. so perhaps Raghu will get inspired again. Oh and Zoya watched his hair being cut and decided she wanted a "boy-cut". So all her lovely curls gone for now. Sweet for her to be emulating her big brother... but 'sigh'.
I have noticed that only when i go to stores do Raghu and sometimes Zoya want things... otherwise they don't. We miss out on simple free pleasures here (like public spaces that are pleasing to the eye, green-blue natural environs, playgrounds that are not rusting adn creaking and have bird-poop on them)... so sometimes malls and stores are a grand place to hang out in. Sad :-( anyway... so back to acquisitions and money.... when we are not in stores and are enjoying activities, home-time etc... they don't ask for toys. Mostly the desires for toys and such come about when they see them in the stores. Its rare for them to be sitting at home and saying "i need this..." So having understood and observed this, i'm able to expect their needs better. I'm not surprised or annoyed or expecting chaos when we are in a mall.. cause i expect that they will express a need for something... and i budget some money towards it. But mostly i try and keep a list at home of their interests/topics they have raised etc and go shopping alone... and find things that relate to their interests. And if they have indeed mentioned some things they want... then i try and find them.
Mostly... the point i was trying to make in the unwieldy para above is that unless they really want to come shopping with me... i leave them happy at home about a couple of times a month (with dh) and go do the shopping alone. Helps keep the sudden impulses for expensive toys and such to a minimum.
But i must insert here that there have been tough and interesting and sometimes very cool choices made when the kids shop with me. For e.g. they make me more aware of their true needs.... Nutella (expensive here but something Z and R really love) is more important than hairclips (cheap here but a need that they can do without... only i care for them) and then those unnecessary kitchen napkins (the ones that i'd offer a guest instead of my cut up old-cloth segments at home). So the cost of Nutella is = to the cost of some clips + kitchen napkins + perhaps a pair of jeans for the kids that they don't care for... only I do. So i'm kept on my toes and re-assessing shopping choices. Its good :-)
Living life in this attachment-parenting, respectful, unschooling way means that life is forever interesting and creates peace. Every time i get a block i know that there is something to be learned, something to be looked at, observed etc. And my children will see that as a good thing. The experiences, every one of them, are worthy of conversation and acceptance and observation.