Being careful not to sacrifice process for product

03 Oct

Just before the rains came I planted two hundred square feet of winter peas, and what a pleasure to see them up already. Folded leaves like mouse ears, shedding droplets, soon to be glowing a translucent green tomorrow when the sun comes out as expected. Normally I’d have mucked around in the rain to plant the rest of the bare soil, but a cough and sinus congestion kept me in. My youngest son and I work away together at academic skills, character formation, skills and habits training, and most days I feel that there’s a lot of rightness, that we’ve got a good thing going. I have to be pro-active, teach him about yielding at times, that there’s a creative tension about learning, and work to do as well as what feels more like play. He fights math drills, writing mechanics standards, any sort of worksheets that I might include. So I explain the whys, the goals he can achieve through certain kinds of work, I encourage, insist, give choices, an opening for his own way, his own interests, and suddenly he rises to new heights, blasts through mental blocks, creates a new way to work out a bit of meaning. I couldn’t hold him back after that (without violating his individuality and my conscience), and off he goes to write furiously on the computer, make a video, or create an experiment with baking ingredients. Or just starts talking enthusiastically, bursting with a plan of his own. I’m learning as I go, as always, the appropriate places to suggest or move toward the creation of a product from the process–a draft we can look at, a video presentation, a letter to a friend. Process is key right now.


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