I had a friend tell me once that she wishes her parents had forced her to take piano lessons, because now she wants to play the piano and doesn’t know how. She believes that learning it as an adult will be much more difficult, and anyway now she doesn’t have the time to devote to it.
This week I had an acquaintance tell me that she thought she should force her kids to learn math and writing (specifically fractions, geometry and research papers) because she thinks they will hate her later if she doesn’t, and then another friend told me she believes that’s often why parents send their kid to school rather than take responsibility for their child’s education outside of school. If they don’t learn something as well as they should, the parent won’t be to blame because everyone goes to school. It’ll be the school’s fault.
Can I tell you that it has never crossed my mind that my kids might blame me for not forcing them to go to school or take a particular class? It has also never occurred me to blame my parents for something I didn’t learn, or didn’t want to learn as a kid and in which I now have an interest.
My feeling is that self-directed learners who have the support and encouragement of their family will have the ability to learn whatever they need or are interested in, whenever that may be.
Why would that be a cause for resentment?
As for sending kids to school so you’ll have someone else to blame if things don’t go as planned? Well that’s just about the worst reason for doing something that I have ever heard.
I think perhaps – and this is just my opinion – that rather than worrying about our kids ‘hating us later’ we would be better served to foster a ‘now’ in which our kids grow in confidence knowing they are trusted, supported and loved. It reminds me of this quote by Catherine Wallace:
“Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.”
Trust, encourage and support your kids in their self-directed learning and life in general, and there will be no reason for them to hate you later.