Sandra left an outstanding comment on Karen’s post and I’m putting it here because I don’t ever want to lose this. She has expressed perfectly what I have come to understand and believe over the past year or so in finally really beginning to understand my child and throw off the conventional “wisdom” poured forth by so many parents, pastors, teachers, etc. who obviously have never dealt with a dreamer child in real life (or else have crushed the very life out of the child).
Sandra wrote (bold mine):
I am homeschooling a 12 yo daughter with learning differences. Recently we have begun seeking outside assistance for the LD and running into brick walls. The experience has really highlighted for me how narrowly we allow our children scope for success. In both Christian and non-Christian society, children are valued if they are obedient, rarely or never questioning adult wisdom, quick at schooly sorts of academic tasks (multiplication tables, spelling tests), and infinitely interruptable for whatever next thing a grown up wants done right now but able to stay on task without distraction when that is convenient for us. The irony is that in both Christian and non-Christian society, the people who we most admire and consider successful rarely do anything like what we expect of children: they are innovative, creative, willing to rock boats, think for themselves, follow their inspiration (or God’s leading, if that is the phrase preferred) even when the conventional wisdom is discouraging. How do we expect our children to grow up to be these people if we never let them have the learning experiences in childhood in which to find and practices these skills?
This is EXACTLY the conclusion I have come to in raising Caroline. I have thought and wrestled through every part of what she wrote there and know exactly what she is talking about right down to the idea that parents can disrupt a child whenever they want and expect immediate, cheerful obedience no matter what the child was engaged in but then fear the wrath of God if the child should happen to assert himself or herself and his/her wishes.
Dreamers and the Edison Trait
I’ve been starting to work through The Edison Trait: Saving the Spirit of Your Nonconforming Child (now called Dreamers, Discoverers & Dynamos: How to Help the Child Who Is Bright, Bored and Having Problems in School) and have also found it helpful in thinking about how Caroline thinks and works. I’ll probably share some quotes in the future.
We were recently visiting my parents and Caroline was poking along at doing something in her own way and on her own timetable that was significantly slower than what I would have chosen. But I chose to give her the space and time to do what she was doing without trying to hurry her along. My mom made a comment about my ability to be patient with her.
In thinking about that comment I’ve come to realize that it took God twenty years to prepare me for mothering this child. I prayed to be a patient person and it took Him twenty years to answer that prayer and give me the ability to patiently wait for a child who lives in her own world with her own agenda and her own timetable. At the same time, she is smart as a whip and it is going to take everything God can give me to bring her up and prepare her for whatever purposes God has for her.