Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Being In The World On A Monday Evening
We dropped our teens off in town for the Zeale - Imagine Dragons- AWOLNation concert on Monday night and Alex and I went home to watch a movie. I noted that Olivia and Adam consistently posted instagram shots of the acts, which we were essentially using as a way to time our picking them up after, otherwise I wasn't looking at my phone. We knew they'd have a great time and be safe, as well. About half way through AWOLNation's set, Olivia called me, but I couldn't hear her (as we expected), all we knew was that it was time to leave. We parked, and when Alex went to the theatre to wait for the kids, another concert attendee spoke to him, asserting that he looked in charge and that if he was waiting for his kids, he should know that they were probably on drugs.
We were home by midnight. Adam and Olivia thought the concert was so, so good and we could hear them rehashing the sets and scrolling through music videos on the ride home. They were glad they had decided to stay in the balcony because the floor in front of the stage had become a bit of a mosh pit. They were in bed by 1am and up around 930am, with enough time to get ready for some writing classes they are taking, one on the short story and the other on essays.
To me, this is what radical unschooling is. That we trust our teens to handle being out at a music concert all night in the city, that they know how much they can handle in a 24-hour stretch, what classes, if any, they'd like to take, that they know when to go to sleep and when they need to wake. I read posts like this one about teen travel and while I realize that my kids aren't half-way around the world, I think I'd be good with that if it were their choice. For us, this was just a normal Monday. Alex and I were there, to help facilitate their evening, not engage in it or control it. We'd assist if they needed it, just a phone call away, and they knew that, too, which I think is just as crucial; the trust must be mutual.
So while this was just a routine Monday for us, it reflects our overall goal as parents. We know our teens aren't going to want to share information with us or you know, their lives, with us, if we can't return the trust. On the flip side, they need to know that if they are needing a safe haven or advice or assistance, they can find it with us, that they won't be ridiculed, judged or shamed or abandoned. As parents, we are here to help guide and facilitate, not shape, mold or incarcerate the young people that live with us, at will. They need to be supported in their endeavors. They need to know that the lumps in our throats, the skipped beats of our hearts are not going to interfere, to hold them back from the people they are becoming, to make them something they are not (even if this has to be an act of steeled nerves and managed anxieties on my part.) Our teens know, I hope, that we trust them in every sense, in their intelligence, decision making, in their sheer capable-ness to be in the world.