There are two old adages when fused together, depict one of Gratefully Natured’s core philosophies ‘Lifeschooling Village OUTSIDE the BOX’.
1. ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ – (African proverb)
2. ‘Season, reason or lifetime.’
These two adages when fused and truly understood, allow one’s upbringing to be a wondrous journey. It has taken some years to appreciate these in retrospect of my childhood/adolescence. Now as parents, we have placed importance on delving into these via timely and regular discussions, pivotal to positive interpretations when frequenting souls in our life journey. Our sons have genuine acceptance, that not all whom we are friends with, remain inside our village. Nor does it mean we are less worthy when a friend exits our village; the purpose clear of ‘reason’ or ‘season’ in their personal growth. Additionally, treat each soul as a ‘lifetime’ friend, shall long-term presence in our village remain, this bond truly magical in years to come!
Take a moment and think of individuals who were/are YOUR village for reasons, seasons or lifetime. When reflecting on my own, I am filled with hope as my sons have already been fortunate in recognising and flourishing from all three. Even though our three sons are close in age and interests, their villages are characterised vastly different already. Why? When the focus is on individualising the ‘learning journey’ regardless of travelling, homeschooling, mainstream education, hobbies and interests, no one human is alike.
But how does individualising our learning journey have anything to do with our village OUTSIDE the BOX? IT is EVERYTHING! Hear me out…
When individualising, I refer to it as ‘LIFESCHOOLING’, as it is simply schooling for life! My strong views and support for lifeschooling has evolved between parenting spirited, outdoor adventure loving sons, blended with years teaching in challenging classrooms. With an approach of ‘LIFESCHOOLING’, outcomes inevitably led to successful ‘lifelong learning’ across all aspects of life. Clear results, not only in educational outcomes, but behaviour, attitude and overall wellbeing were noted by families, teachers and now myself as a ‘homeschooling mumma bear’. When learners venture through a positive learning experience, retention of information, enjoyment, and a thirst for further knowledge, were direct results of the intrinsic motivation heightened by love for the learning.
The critical element here for lifeschooling IS creating the village for individuals. The ripple effect of lifeschooling can be life changing and I attest. As a mother who was ignored regarding concerns for our struggling son in a rigid educational system, watching anxieties bubble, creating inner turmoil for a child, was totally avoidable, had that village bonded in crisis. It was in this moment I realised education around our villages, were pivotal in how we dealt with crisis.
Some come together in harmony, consequently beautiful and effective. Now mentoring our sons to remove those acerbating crisis from their village, is a powerful tool for their life. Our now confident, kind and creative son who views his dyslexia as a strength not weakness, builds his village enhancing his dyslexic thinking not crushing his character.
I love reflecting on the many revolving ‘reasons’ through my village as these influencers in life enhanced my natural curiosity and chitter-chatter for the world. In age, I see clearly that my ‘reasons’ always ignited a spark, for my adventurous soul has no limits. A friend’s mother, a free-spirited lady, who without her knowledge, inspired the future me to travel till I drop!
My ‘seasons’ are clearer again… fun was my ultimate desire and clearly now the ‘seasons’ of fun were fact villages of folks that came and went within months yet the lessons will last forever!
Lifetime for me… hubby, sons, parents are my rocks. Childhood bestie Dannii, high school/uni special friends Kasey and Reanna, all whom on our irregular catch-ups, talk like whirlwinds as these moments are rarer with age. BUT I know they are for a lifetime, for we still dump every success and failure of our lives, hug, cry and kiss goodbye as if we only saw each other last week. The little bits of reassurance and advice in those times is still critical in my way forward in this journey we call life.
When comparing my teaching from the late 90s to today, villages are sadly few and far between. Those ‘guiding hands and hearts’ are not swarming around us like once seen and felt. Yet the research on mental health benefits from diverse villages around each one of us, is repeatably published. With awareness, I am excited at what the future holds for each of us when we embrace a lifeschooling approach OUTSIDE the BOX.
From an inspiring ex-Olympian swimmer mentoring our sons’ mindset for their swimming careers, I am another child’s village, mentoring her aspirations as a singer/songwriter. We ALL have multiple parts in multiple villages!
Growing that village may seem scary for some, welcomed by others but keeping in mind, the more positive influences upon our children and selves, the more scope for learning but likewise support in crisis. The moulding of holistic minds, freeing our children’s wondrous, spirited souls, will enable us to all face the world when called.
Like a duck to water, we can do this… let’s bring our villages back!