I love learning about unschooling. I love writing and reading about it. Just in case you didn't know, I'm a single 24-year-old male with currently no desire of having children. So why the heck would I be interested in that? Well, there's a few reasons.
(If you're not familiar, you can read my last post to learn what unschooling means to me)
1) For Self-Knowledge
I think learning about this parenting philosophy is a very effective form of self-therapy because it provides a rational lens through which I can analyze my childhood.
When I'm reading a book related to peaceful parenting or unschooling, I'm basically reverse engineering myself. Think of it like fixing a poorly built IKEA table. The first thing you would do is look at the instructions to see the correct way of building it. Then you compare that to the way it was actually built. Once you find what was done incorrectly, you can disassemble it and rebuild it properly.
That's exactly what I'm doing with myself. Peaceful parenting books are the instructions for how to build a mentally strong and happy me. With this information, I know what I need to undo so that I can rebuild myself properly.
Going through this disassembling and rebuilding process has not been easy. In fact, it can be extremely painful. After all, it can be profoundly jarring to discover just how much I was damaged by my schools and the people who loved me the most.
But, as Nathaniel Branden wrote, "fear and pain should be treated as signals not to close our eyes but to open them wider."
This gets me to the next reason for why I do this.
2) It Allows Me To Properly Mourn
Looking back at my childhood through an analytical lens - thinking and writing about it while simultaneously reading about how I may have been mistreated - has brought about deep sorrow.
Reading books about peaceful parenting is like laying a magnifying glass to your past. It can help you see better but it also has the effect of burning you. For me, it has brought about strong feelings of anger, frustration and sadness. Sometimes it gets to the point where I have to take a break from it.
Ultimately, I think conjuring up these emotions is good, if not necessary. First of all, it's important to understand that those feelings were not created. Rather, they were already in me and I was just bringing them up to the surface.
One of the many benefits of feeling these emotions is that it helps me restore empathy for myself and what I went through. It helps me understand that it was not me who was broken but rather the world around me. I think this mourning process is necessary in order to love myself once again, or any other person for that matter.
Another great benefit is that I can use this anguish as fuel to improve myself or the lives of others.
3) I Want To Inform Parents And Help Children
As I learn more and more about how to fix myself, I feel the need to pass this information on so that parents could stop making the same mistakes over and over again. I want to prevent as many kids as possible from having to endure the 15,000-hour infliction of schooling. I really don't want for kids to grow up and have to go through the same disassembling and rebuilding process that I'm going through. Or worse, I don't want them to grow up not knowing how they were damaged and then inflict the same damage on their kids!
When it comes to how we treat children, I believe that we have so much to improve on. I believe that much of what we think is an unfortunate but natural part of the human experience could be significantly reduced (or even eradicated) if only schooling and non-peaceful parenting stopped perpetuating it. I don't think life has to be as harsh, boring, and depressing as most schools and parents make it out to be.
As Alice Miller wrote:
We don't yet know, above all, what the world might be like if children were to grow up without being subjected to humiliation, if parents would respect them and take them seriously as people.
4) It Could Come In Handy
I think this knowledge can be very important whenever I interact with children, even if they are not my own.
I really admire children and am deeply intrigued by them, but I'm not entirely sure I will ever have any. Why? For starters, I still have a long, long road to healing and I don't know if I'll ever be done with it. If I don't do that then I'll run the danger of inflicting the same trauma that was done to me.
Then I'd have to find the right partner, someone who is strong enough to raise children with the principles of unschooling.
One thing that I know for sure is that, whether I ever have kids or not, the seemingly never ending cycle of authoritarianism will stop with me.