Most parents will tell you they want their kids to be happy.
But then they will say, almost in the next breath, that kids should be in school and be made to do things they don’t enjoy, don’t like and aren’t good at because that’s the way “real” life is.
Those of us who think our kids should be happy now and who follow through on that by not sending them to school and by encouraging them to find and do what they love are seen as radicals. Wackos. Out of touch with reality and setting our kids up for failure.
I disagree. Of course.
Happiness is a pursuit, not a destination. If you can’t be happy in the journey, then the destination – no matter how spectacular or financially abundant – is sure to disappoint. One of the many things I love about unschooling is that it is a constant process of finding ones own unique path. When kids are encouraged to do this, they choose activities they enjoy and in which they have an interest. It sounds obvious, but for so many kids growing up in a “traditional” school and home setting, such choice is an impossibility.
It is my opinion that people who are happy in their pursuits, no matter what on earth they may be, are healthier, less prone to violence and more apt to forgive; less judgmental and less interested in status & “keeping up with the Joneses.” Kids who’ve grown up with the support and encouragement to do what they love are more likely to have meaningful friendships and relationships of all sorts.
I base this only on what I see around me every day, both in kids and adults. I have no scientific studies or statistics, so take my opinion or not. Or better yet, look around at the people and kids you know and see if you agree.
Does this mean there will never be struggles? Of course not. No life is perfect and there will always be disappointments and even tragedies. But how those struggles, disappointments and tragedies are met and dealt with is heavily influenced by the mindset of the person involved.
Why not replace stressed out, sleep deprived and eyes only on the prize kids with curious, well-rested and happy kids?
Why not emphasize happiness?
Why not start now?