It’s important to check in with myself to see whether I’m also an engaged part of the picture.
Last week I mentioned, “I began to realize that where there was joy, there was learning. So now I focus on the joy.” By that I mean my joy too. I want to be a shining example of the joy of learning for them.
When my children were young, I would see their activities through their eyes to find the joy in block towers and impromptu puppet shows and board games. I would mirror their joy. Yes, it’s real and meaningful. I’d also share the things I enjoyed with them. Not with any expectation that they would join me, or even understand why I enjoyed it—for us it was (and is) a natural state of being.
Here’s an example. When they were younger sometimes they’d watch Food TV with me, often enjoying Emeril’s antics. Bam! I still clearly remember one night when we were laying in my bed and watching a special on reverse engineering popular foods and they showed how to make Reese’s peanut butter cups at home. Joseph was the only child still awake by the end (I just looked at my printout of the recipe and it was the year 2000, so he was 8!) and I said, “What do you think, should we try that tomorrow?” His answer was a happy “Yes!” They were awesome, and to this day I still make them—they are now a family classic.
(I still hadn’t discovered homeschooling at that point, though that story probably gives you a good idea of why I jumped at the idea so quickly a year and change later. I was so close!)
That is what’s so exciting about being curious and following your interests—you never know what you might discover. With an open and aware mindset you will see so many more opportunities for fun and connection bubbling up around you than you will by walking around judging and worrying, mostly closed off from exploring life.
And as my kids have gotten older, it’s been so interesting to see how our interests and joy intertwine, sometimes even in the most unlikely ways.
Like rediscovering my interest in alternative music through Lissy’s music interest, or more deeply understanding Michael’s passionate interest in karate through my own passionate experience with ballet growing up. Or re-igniting my love of stories through Joseph’s passionate pursuit of them through all facets of storytelling.
If you’d like your kids to live an engaged and curious life, then live an engaged and curious life yourself.
It’s a gift for you too.