Tag Archive | courage

‘Daring Greatly’

“But it’s such a risk taking the children out of school and home educating,” someone once said to me. 

“It’s no more risky than leaving them in,” I remember replying.

They hadn’t thought of that!

I didn’t ever see it as a risk, really. What was I risking? That they would be happier, healthier and achieve more than the downhill slide we were observing whilst they were in school?

Home schooling reversed that slide. It was wonderful to witness.

Going against the norm does make you doubt some days though, I admit that. (Hence the reason for me writing ‘The Home Education Notebook’ to help you with those days).

But here’s a point to remember when you’re doubting and wobbling; it’s a sign of your conscientiousness.

Conscientious parents always question and review and consider what they’re doing. And that’s a good thing. It’s a necessary part of your learning process. But it’s bound to make you wobble at times. Be brave. Examine what you’re doing. Research (as in chat to others about your concerns). And wobble on.

Doubting days will come throughout life and not just from parenting or home educating. We’ll always have wobbles about our choices, it’s a natural part of a healthy consideration of them. Especially when the decisions we make mean doing something which makes us a little more vulnerable and a little less comfortable. I still have wobbles and usually turn to reading to help me overcome them.

I’m reading an uplifting book about that very concept; ‘Daring Greatly’ by Brene Brown which talks about feeling vulnerable and how it is a necessary part of the courage needed to live life in inspirational ways. It immediately made me think of all the home educating parents who are doing just that – daring greatly – in order to do what they think is right for their family.

I have a stock of books to turn to now, on different subjects, to give me the courage and inspiration to dare greatly when I’m having wobbles about the things I still want to do (writing among them). This will be added to the collection.

And I thought it might help you too, to carry on daring and taking risks and not letting the wobbles stop you from continuing to do what you think is right for you and your family.

I’m cheering you on!

Public gaffes and private writes!

Just made a complete fool of myself!

My daughter and I often have a phone date in the morning. I ‘walk’ her to work with a chat. It’s not every day but our close connection is something I treasure. Doubly so after you worry at the early stages of parenting and home educating whether they’ll still speak to you when they’re grown ups.

Anyway when the phone rang at the pre-scheduled time, I picked it up and sang a really musical “Hellooooeee” down the line.

Silent pause.

Then; ‘Is that Ross Mountney? This is Katie from Channel Five’ asked a complete stranger. It was a researcher looking for information about home ed and people to contribute to their programme. I felt such an idiot.

You’d think I’d learnt my lesson as this has happened before. Pestered by continual sales calls I could feel irritation mounting every time the phone rang. So when another call came and a strange voice asked ‘Is that Ross Mountney?’ I answered with ‘It depends what you’re selling’.

“I’m not selling anything,’ came a very formal reply. ‘This is your mother’s solicitor’. Cringe!

Why is it I always seem to mess up when I need to look a little bit more intelligent and like I know what I’m about?

Anyway, these gaffes aside Channel Five want to make a programme about home education and wondered if I’d contribute. A serious programme offering information instead of derision and myths would be great, wouldn’t it! I said I might, if this was the case. They’re going to get back in touch – it remains to be seen whether my singing has put them off.

It also remains to be seen if my courage holds out. I find all this public stuff excruciating really. This is after all why I write; I choose the medium that offers the most invisibility (not something publishers want to hear, I know). And it’s enough for me to emerge from my cave and meet others like at the Home Education Fair this Sunday.

Click on the picture for details of The Home Education Fair

Don’t get me wrong; I truly love meeting people and welcome the opportunity to chat to others. That’s what my work is all about; offering encouragement and support. But I also need encouragement to get out of my reclusive habit.

So if you come along on Sunday and think you’re too scared to come up and say hello to me, take courage too; you won’t be as scared as me. We’ll muddle along through together and I’ll try and answer your questions intelligently and as if I know what I’m about! 🙂

Hope to see you there.

The bravery of art

You might think it brave climbing on the roof to do repairs as per my last blog. But it’s not the bravest thing I do!

The bravest thing I do is putting writing out there.

If you’re one of those brave people who do it too you’ll know why.

If you’re not, you might be one of those who think it requires no courage or stamina at all and is just an excuse not to get a proper job!

However, it’s one thing creating something. That’s hard enough in itself especially if you do it day after day on your own. But it’s something harder to make it public. Especially since the majority of the public seem to think they’re qualified to criticise, even though they’ve had no direct experience of doing it themselves.

That’s a bit like home education, I’ve found. Those who have absolutely no experience of it still think they’re qualified to pass judgement.

Doing art work is a bit like raising your child. It’s something you have nurtured and protected, developed and grown with devotion and emotion and times that have cost you dear. And just like with a child, the moment of letting go, letting it out to fend for itself in the battering world, is like tearing a part of yourself off. You want to hide and lick your wounds.

Some people never manage it. Never manage to allow their children or their art work a state of independence.

To do so is immensely brave. It involves trust. It involves confidence. And it will involve taking the knocks that will sometimes be the consequence.

The thing is, no one knows what it’s like to raise your child, they’re not you, they don’t live to your circumstances, they have no understanding of your challenges. And those who never put art out into the world in whatever form; books, pictures, sculptures, films, performing, textiles, designs, whatever, have no comprehension of what that’s like either.

Or what the personal cost is in courage.

I now know both, as a parent and a writer.

Many of us know what it’s like to parent and let our children go. Equally many don’t and insult us with the term ’empty nest syndrome’. But parenting is an art form in itself, so we are all creatives. Even without home educating, when parents are extremely brave and creative in educating their children independently of others, we are all creative parents – have to be.

But less of us know what it’s like to write or paint or perform, create films or textiles or designs, and actually put it out there. This is the bit that takes the most courage.

So whatever creation you come across whether it’s by a five or a fifty year old, perhaps after reading this you could show a little compassion rather than criticism towards those who’ve done it, most particularly if you’ve never done it yourself.

And consider the bravery it takes not only to craft something, but also to share something so personally nurtured with the rest of the world.