Hello LifeSchool Heroes!
“May my soul bloom in love for all existence.”
School was a mixed-bag experience for me. Some teachers amazed me, some intrigued me, but so many had me sitting day-to-day, listening to their, I’d-rather-be-anywhere-but-here drone, and suddenly I was up close and personal with a Peanuts clip “Wah, Wa, Wah, Wa, Wah”. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to learn, I longed to learn. When a teacher was fired up, I was right them with ’em (I can remember exactly two of these such teachers). But so much of the system was about the routine, the structure, the rules, that I felt like I wanted to just bust outta my chair, hop on my desk top and dance a shocker-jig, or rage against the system and draw that purple tree with square apples. I wanted more.
Let’s be clear. I was the kid who got lines for talking (for days and weeks on end, “I will not talk in class” 100 times each and every night. Like that worked!). I was the girl who got busted time and again for flitting out of my seat and never being able to stay in one place for too long. I was told to settle down, smarten up, get focused, get real, be more like the other kids who were shaping up. I was called-out in grade 6 by my teacher. He told me to stand up, looked me square in the eye and said, for all my peers to here, “Jennifer Margaret Wortman, you will either shape up in grade 6 or you WILL ship out.”
All of this was perceived as ‘bad’ behaviour. Each parent-teacher interview was met with sighs by the academic royalty, “Jennifer has great potential, if only she would APPLY herself.” My parents luckily being of feisty-ilk themselves, didn’t fuss too much. They somehow knew, as I was third down the line, that it would all work out and, well, they had experienced my eccentricities from my times-beginning and Loved me, because of all that. Thank God for them.
Well, years later, although it would perhaps shock some of my teachers to learn, their concerns became my life-fueling attributes. Hmm? Two degrees under by belt, I set to the sky and traveled much of the world (just didn’t want to stay in one place. Too many people to meet and cultures to learn). I became a public speaker, a communications professional and PR (public relations) aficionado, and talked and talked til my heart’s content, much to the joy of my clients. And perhaps a special thanks should go out to my grade 6 task-master, as I became a writer. Must have been all the inspiration I received from those Lines:)
Please understand, that despite the comical-edge in my rendition, I recall all of this with real and profound gratitude. All my life I have been, and continue to be, a firm believer in the perfection of life’s unfolding. Life deals us exactly what we need, to teach us just what we need to learn, to embrace the lessons that will stretch us, just far enough, to expand us to become exactly the person we need to be for the world.
Would I have traveled and lived all around the world if I had not had these experiences? Perhaps not. Would I have become a professional speaker, writer, workshop facilitator, hospice volunteer, marathon runner, advocate for children with disabilities who deserve to be heard and honoured, a parent who chooses to embrace LifeSchooling with verve and promise to offer to her children what she didn’t have herself? Probably, most likely, not. And for these truths alone I owe a debt of gratitude to all those who pushed and berated and instilled in me a burning desire and drive to strive for more ~ on all levels ~ more. They made who I am, a person, a woman, a mother, who believes in the beauty of diversity and loves her ‘talkers who can’t sit down’, my beautiful, energized, enthused boys!
As I embarked on how I would approach this whole LifeSchool biz, I cared about a little structure yes, as a business owner and perpetual goal-setter-and-type-A-achiever this could not be helped. But above all that, I care about HOW I instill in my children a ‘love of learning’, a deep and powerful knowing that they are simply perfect, perfect just as they are and trust that I’m their biggest cheerleader each and every step of the way. I am committed to being On Fire and At Peace for my boys, curriculum comes second. There are many who Unschool. A beautiful and brave undertaking. There are many who Homeschool using one way, one process, one curriculum. Educational approach is as diverse and unique as the children we hope to infuse with knowledge. Me, as you may imagine, I’m all over, exploring, learning, listening. When someone says “I tried this and it’s fabulous”. I love to flow with what I hear and listen within to see if it resonates and if my “YES!” calls out, I’m in.
As such, our family flows with a few different curriculum and learning systems… but more on that tomorrow. I’ve talked too much this evening. I need to hop off this couch and move, and kiss my kids.
Happy day! Tomorrow, Rudolf Steiner, Oak Meadows, Susan Wise Brown and a host of links to inspire and, I hope, your comments will reflect the incredible resources you have said “YES!” to, so that we all may learn together.