This past weekend I was introduced to the most joyful, free-living and centered people I have ever met. In fact, I am still coming down from the high I felt at the Rethinking Everything Conference in Irving, Texas. This event took place for the 17th time and brought together entire families dedicated to raising free, creative, and curious children.Some of the adult attendees have come every year since early childhood and now attend with their parents and their own children! The history and community ran deep with these people, and I couldn’t help but simply sit back and watch in awe as they introduced me to revolutionary ideas about raising children and becoming better people.
I have worked the libertarian/liberty speaking circuits for years, while that movement seemed huge to me once I found myself emmersed, I have now been made aware of another movement of like-minded people who are kinder, gentler, and more happy than most of the people I meet at liberty events.
Our family was invited to speak on anarchy and unschooling, entrepreneurship and alternative currencies, and Sovereign Living, our efforts to get off centralized institutions such as government and corporate food chains. We were also able to screen the first three episodes of the reality show about our efforts, also called Sovereign Living (www.sovereignliving.tv).
Our talks were well attended with about 40 people in each session. The conversations we had after each speech were powerful and dynamic and full of curiosity. Not everyone agreed with our philosophy, especially on self defense/gun ownership, but the conversations were incredibly positive despite the differing views.
I have jumped across the country to camping festivals, hotel conferences, and rallies to talk about the philosophy of freedom. This was the first time I truly felt I was surrounded by people LIVING this philosophy. Watching hundreds of children interact with each other through their various interests was absolutely fascinating to me.At most liberty events, children are few and far between. Its very hard on me as a new mother practicing attachment parenting because events are held at non-child friendly places and I have to exert massive amount of energy to ensure the safety of my kids while still participating in the meeting while not disturbing those also attending.This event was designed around entire families. No one even noticed kids interrupting lectures or discussions or workshops, they were simply part of the event and something everyone seemed to expect and enjoy. The event was designed around fun and learning for EVERYONE, not just the kids.
There were yoga classes, belly dancing, nerf gun wars, a room full of legos, a room full of dress up clothes, gaming rooms, a visit from the zoo, a talent show, a hypnotist, q&as daily about unschooling and more. I know my attendance at this event is just the tip of the iceberg and I am so excited to create my life around unshooling.
The most powerful lesson I learned was letting kids work out conflict on their own. The first few days I was there I would get in the middle of my daughter and other kids interacting, especially if someone was toy hogging or being a bully. After watching the other attendees’ let the children work it out and look on at me with a knowing smile, I decided to back off.
It was AMAZING watching my daughter remove herself from situations that weren’t going well, or seeing other kids decide to play with something else after Aliana took their toy. No parental intervention, no tears. They may only be a few years old, but they are capable of working out these situations on their own. How empowering!!!! It took only a few days and Aliana quit turning to me for help, and simply interacted at her own pace with the other kids. This simple idea has profoundly changed the way I see my role as a parent.
Are you an unschooling family? I have questions as a mother of young children I’d like to get answered as I walk further down this path:
Is alone time a possibility for mothers who unschool?
Do most unschooled toddlers go through the “terrible twos” or extreme mood swings that you traditionally hear about?
How do radical unschool families deal with food freedom? I am a strong believer in eating fabulous food (organic, nongmo, etc….) and right now I have toddler who only has access to the food I provide. Soon enough she may go to a friends, or another place that has food I don’t “approve” of, how do I deal with this?Thanks for reading!