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Nuance and young children

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Soon to be 7, my son loves to explore all sorts of subjects including serious ones like politics.  He is intense and has a million questions.  Sometimes he pieces information in such a way that it is not quite right.  I generally let these go because as he gets older, I am pretty sure he will fill in his own gaps.  However, sometimes in a course of a conversation, he will ask a question and then I answer it and he tells me it is the wrong answer and he explains his own view of it.  If I try to say something like "actually ..." and launch into a slightly different narration, then that seems to upset him.  

 

I wonder what is going on? Any of your kids like that?  He has a vigorous mind that is trying to tackle some serious subjects such as democracy, the way economics works etc.  I am not sure HOW he gets into these things!  I think it is just from watching videos.  Then he asks a question and one thing leads to another and it becomes above his capacity to understand.  He wants to try anyway. He demands answers and asks some really astute questions.      

 

For example:

Him:  "I thought you said Thai people get to choose their leaders, Mama." 

Me: "Yes, they do."  -- trying to keep it simple -- because Thailand is technically a democracy even though it has had a complex history and a difficult time making a go of it.  

Son: "Well, but they have a king. Thailand cannot be a democracy.  Kings are not elected"  

Me: "uh... yes. You are right however .... "  And that however drives him crazy.  He is into categorizing stuff like countries, people, cultures etc.  The fact that Thailand is a constitutional monarchy and what that actually means is difficult for him to understand.  In fact, he finds the whole idea that a country can have a king and call themselves a democracy absurd.  He feels the same way about Britain by the way.  

 

I serve up facts/point of views in our conversations in a very simple manner but he wants more.  Yet, he is still too young to grasp some nuances even though he WANTS to know about them.  And they seem to upset him sometimes.  

 

I mean, how does one answer why our hands make noise when we clap????????  Because you know, pillows don't make noise when you slap them together.  There is some serious science behind this question and that is what he is after.  It is a hard task to serve up just enough but not too much when his line of questioning is after some very detailed, high level explanations. His level of frustration can be pretty unnerving sometimes.  There are tears even.  

 

Anyone has been dealing/have dealt with something like this? How did/do you respond? Any BTDT stories will be appreciated.  

post #2 of 21

I actually love those sorts of conversations ... because they really test my own understanding of the issues and put things in a new light. I am usually quite honest with my kids that I'm not sure I can explain it very well, but here's how I think about it ... and then I'll try to draw a parallel or make a metaphor or give an example. If my kid doesn't like my explanation, I'll say "Okay, that wasn't a very good example. Let me try again." Or "Let me think this through some more. I need a better example." I get a lot of intellectual challenge out of trying to come up with appropriate explanations of complex ideas to young children. But yeah, sometimes I don't nail it, and things can get messy.

 

Young kids expect their parents to know everything, and the world to make sense. If they don't understand it yet, they believe that with clear answers they will. When those expectations aren't met, when they begin to discover things that are filled with nuance and with fuzziness that is coloured by interpretation, it can feel like a real betrayal to them. It's pretty typical between ages 5 and 10 I think to be coming to terms, with some reluctance, with a world that isn't black and white. It can be harder for some personalities than for others. Some kids, especially very bright ones, have what is sometimes described as an "exaggerated sense of justice." They like to understand the way the world works, and if they can't fit some new piece of knowledge into their current understanding, they can get really annoyed. It gets to be less of a problem as they mature and appreciate subtleties and abstraction more easily. Sometimes you just have to tough a bit of this out for a time with kids.

 

That being said, I think that presentation can do a lot to soften the blow. As a parent I try to make it clear that the world is sometimes a strange and confusing place: I don't necessarily have all the answers, and it's okay -- even fun -- to not know but simply speculate....

 

"Great question! A lot of the world's smartest people have wondered the same thing. I'm not sure we really know the answer for sure."

 

"Isn't that strange? I agree ... it doesn't make much sense. At least not at first. Some people might say ______. Others might argue that ____. What do you think?"

 

"I'll try to explain the way I understand it, and you can tell me whether my way makes sense for you. If not, maybe you'll have your own idea."

 

"That's a tough one. What do you think? Does you think it has to do with pillows being soft with lots of air inside them?"

 

Parenting is a crazy job, isn't it?

 

Miranda

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

I actually love those sorts of conversations ... because they really test my own understanding of the issues and put things in a new light.

 

I do too!  I just hate how upset he gets sometimes and that makes me shy away a little from certain conversations and I want to be able to fully engage him instead of recoiling.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
If my kid doesn't like my explanation, I'll say "Okay, that wasn't a very good example. Let me try again." Or "Let me think this through some more. I need a better example." 

 

I should try this more often.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

Young kids expect their parents to know everything, and the world to make sense. If they don't understand it yet, they believe that with clear answers they will. When those expectations aren't met, when they begin to discover things that are filled with nuance and with fuzziness that is coloured by interpretation, it can feel like a real betrayal to them. It's pretty typical between ages 5 and 10 I think to be coming to terms, with some reluctance, with a world that isn't black and white. 

 

Betrayal.  Exactly. He wants the world to remain neat, concrete and within his intellectual grasp and when it doesn't, it upsets him greatly.  

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
 

Some kids, especially very bright ones, have what is sometimes described as an "exaggerated sense of justice." They like to understand the way the world works, and if they can't fit some new piece of knowledge into their current understanding, they can get really annoyed. It gets to be less of a problem as they mature and appreciate subtleties and abstraction more easily. Sometimes you just have to tough a bit of this out for a time with kids.

 

His deep sense of justice and really high level of empathy is part of the problem.  He thinks about poverty a lot and proposes various solutions to fix the issue on a global level.  He is upset that there are dictators in this world that take power by force and refuse to let their people have a voice.  He wants to know about wars and wants to find out how weapons are engineered so that they can be used on the good side (a very tricky water for me to navigate!)  He has been upset about the subject of slavery to the point where he refuses to talk about it, so I can't even help him process the information he has gathered in this particular case!!! OMG.  

 

I want to make clear that this information is sought by him. I never set out to discuss these things with him, really!  But somehow, with him and his line of questioning, I end up in places that are potentially difficult and not age appropriate because he is hardly ever satisfied by stock explanations.  He does have free access to brainpopjr and there start the beginnings of most of his intellectual pursuits then it leads to other sources, etc.  He is constantly asking me to look stuff up because he can't yet do it himself.

 

I am sure he will outgrow this but my poor baby, I just want to hold him and just say "This is not for you to worry about. This is not for you to solve.  This is not for your problem."  I am sometimes horrified by his level of information pursuit.  Then I see him spend his days just simply playing and being a silly 7 year old, and I breath a sigh of relief.  

 

Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

That being said, I think that presentation can do a lot to soften the blow. As a parent I try to make it clear that the world is sometimes a strange and confusing place: I don't necessarily have all the answers, and it's okay -- even fun -- to not know but simply speculate....

 

"Great question! A lot of the world's smartest people have wondered the same thing. I'm not sure we really know the answer for sure."

 

"Isn't that strange? I agree ... it doesn't make much sense. At least not at first. Some people might say ______. Others might argue that ____. What do you think?"

 

"I'll try to explain the way I understand it, and you can tell me whether my way makes sense for you. If not, maybe you'll have your own idea."

 

"That's a tough one. What do you think? Does you think it has to do with pillows being soft with lots of air inside them?"

 

 

 

Great tips, thank you! 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

Parenting is a crazy job, isn't it?

 

Miranda

 

Oh man!  

post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

Actually, I take it back (I said I was certain he will grow out of this in my earlier post).  On further reflection, I am actually not so sure he will outgrow his sensitive personality and I think that is part of why I am upset and very worried for him greensad.gif.  

post #5 of 21
My son has a similar personality. My advice is to back off when you see he is becoming upset.

Generally, my son became upset when *I wasn't listening to him*! Parents sometimes think they have all the answers, and sometimes they are wrong about that.

As my son got older, he was better able to put his thoughts into words. And I was better able to hear his points.

With the Thailand example, it sounds like the government is putting a positive spin on an old and mostly negative way of leading a country. Perhaps it really is different. Perhaps they simply want it to appear different. I don't know enough about how the people living there view their government to be able to say. I think a good response is to admit that currently not enough is known about the situation, and he is right to question it. Period.

Also, get rid of the word "but"! It means "ignore what I just said -- this is what I really mean". That change makes a *huge* difference. Don't worry. He'll have plenty of other people using "but" to give him a chance to learn how to deal with it.


Lots of people get frustrated when they aren't being heard. If you don't believe me, just read some of the vaccination debate threads! The difference is that as we get older we generally don't come to tears because of the frustration. We learn that some people don't listen and walk away. I'd prefer that my son doesn't walk away from me.
post #6 of 21

I agree, its hard for them at this age but I think its helpful, if possible, to communicate the idea that ideas aren't fixed, that the world doesn't divide neatly into categories and that people do disagree!  

 

Young as he is, I wonder if another approach might be to widen his perspective and give him ways in which he can start to work for change, to feel empowered and able to change stuff.

 

Putting this gently re the sensitivity-I assume you are in the US? In terms of child poverty, the US does really badly for "developed" countries. Around a quarter of families below federal poverty levels, iirc. (The UK is pretty bad too, I'm not having a go here!). Also, the US has a hand in an awful lot of other countries. What I'm trying to say is that he doesn't need to feel like this is some big thing he's powerless against. Even though he is young, there are things he can start doing. Join Amnesty-use his privileged US citizenship to write some letters and get some change, up to him whether he reveals his age. Use these facts to campaign, send emails, sign petitions (use a false name if that's better). See if you can find somewhere he can helpfully volunteer, make up food boxes, sponsored bike rides, whatever. My kids get upset sometimes by world events and in some ways I really would prefer to shield them from this stuff. They do have extremely limited media-this is what filters down via the papers we read or the kid newspapers we buy them. But I am also glad that they see this as wrong.

 

Also. Now we love Brainpop but I have to say I've found it to have, in places, quite a strong US bias. If Brainpop was a primary source of information for my kids on world affairs I'd be looking to supplement that quite radically with international perspectives.

 

I also find it really important to communicate to my kids the great things about the world. What countries do right that we don't. How a country is people, foremost, not an economic or political system. What challenges do they actually have? look at Cuba, a dictatorship-with amazing levels of literacy and child survival. Look at the number of kids who die daily, not as a result of living under a dictator but because another "democratic" country, usually yours and/or mine have decided to impose food sanctions and bomb civilian areas. What's the functional difference between a democracy where you vote once every few years for a choice between between two or three candiadates who don't really represent you very well anyway-and a dictatorship? (not saying there isn't one, but I'd say we are far from an ideal situation also).. What in a country's history is there that has led to the current state of affairs (one thing with being British is that half the world's problems seem to stem from colonialism by us). Some countries have police who kill citizens on the street-others have gun laws that means citizens are quite routinely killed by other civilians-whats the functional difference? That's been interesting for my kids (7 and 9) to ponder.


Edited by Fillyjonk - 3/9/13 at 8:42am
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

 

"Great question! A lot of the world's smartest people have wondered the same thing. I'm not sure we really know the answer for sure."

 

DD2 to me:  "Why do you always say 'Good question' then say you don't know?"

 

Me (to myself):  "Good question!  I don't know....."

 

lurk.gif

 

Great thread!

post #8 of 21

Yes! I can relate to this completely and I was just trying to figure out how to articulate this issue. OP...please don't try to get him out of his sensitive personality.  

 

I was like this as a child too and my family thought it was appropriate to "toughen me up" and tell me I was "too sensitive" all the time.  It meant I stopped asking questions, stopped trusting my family and started feeling like I was alone.  

 

I think if you could help him or allow him to test his ideas, put them in action in some small level, that could be beneficial sometimes.  

 

My 5 yo is also a lot like this.  I know it is difficult and I understand what my family went through, but for my daughter I'm starting to see that she needs to be able to test her ideas rather than thinking her way around it, which can sometimes seem a bit obsessive.  It's impossible to answer a lot of her questions too.

 

I have to admit she has little knowledge of some of the more upsetting things in the world and a little too much knowledge of some others due to these types of conversations.  Sometimes I don't quite know what her level of understanding is.  I don't think my daughter understands what war is at all. She knows that people fight but she doesn't understand the concept of war.  She knows a lot about poverty though.  It's something she has asked a lot about and she decided to give things of hers away to people who don't have much.  

 

She also has a plan to grow food for other people so while I can't really help her to do that at the moment, we talk about her plan pretty often and when we get to a place where we can enough grow food, I will help her to share it with people, according to her plan. 

 

Sometimes stories also seem to help.  Taking the idea of some problem and making it more personal, so you can see the good, the everyday and the big picture as well.  So maybe you can find some fiction or even biographies appropriate to the issues he's into, or maybe you could write your own stories together?  

post #9 of 21

"She also has a plan to grow food for other people so while I can't really help her to do that at the moment, we talk about her plan pretty often and when we get to a place where we can enough grow food, I will help her to share it with people, according to her plan."

 

Totally random question here. Do you have anything like a community garden that you could take part in? Being involved in community gardening, and then, more widely, the green movement has been a big thing for my kids in making them feel proactive about change, rather than miserable at how things are.

post #10 of 21

I'm dealing with the same thing with my 7 year old dd who is also really sensitive.  Sometimes, when I am not able to explain something in a way that satisfies her I just tell her that as she gets older she will keep learning and some things will make more sense.  Then I tell her that we will revisit the topic later.  But I also really worry about how sensitive she is and the fact that she worries about things that are really beyond her control, at least right now.
 

post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fillyjonk View Post

"She also has a plan to grow food for other people so while I can't really help her to do that at the moment, we talk about her plan pretty often and when we get to a place where we can enough grow food, I will help her to share it with people, according to her plan."


Totally random question here. Do you have anything like a community garden that you could take part in? Being involved in community gardening, and then, more widely, the green movement has been a big thing for my kids in making them feel proactive about change, rather than miserable at how things are.

I think trying her idea is the way to go. You might be surprised by the results.

We are talking about the Thomas Edison's of the next generation. Sure, some of the ideas will fail, but they are seeing possibilities the rest are missing. Support that. Who knows what they will achieve as adults, if only they hold onto their beliefs and unique perspectives.
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by featherstory View Post

Yes! I can relate to this completely and I was just trying to figure out how to articulate this issue. OP...please don't try to get him out of his sensitive personality.  

 

I was like this as a child too and my family thought it was appropriate to "toughen me up" and tell me I was "too sensitive" all the time.  It meant I stopped asking questions, stopped trusting my family and started feeling like I was alone.  

 

I think if you could help him or allow him to test his ideas, put them in action in some small level, that could be beneficial sometimes.  

 

My 5 yo is also a lot like this.  I know it is difficult and I understand what my family went through, but for my daughter I'm starting to see that she needs to be able to test her ideas rather than thinking her way around it, which can sometimes seem a bit obsessive.  It's impossible to answer a lot of her questions too.

 

I have to admit she has little knowledge of some of the more upsetting things in the world and a little too much knowledge of some others due to these types of conversations.  Sometimes I don't quite know what her level of understanding is.  I don't think my daughter understands what war is at all. She knows that people fight but she doesn't understand the concept of war.  She knows a lot about poverty though.  It's something she has asked a lot about and she decided to give things of hers away to people who don't have much.  

 

She also has a plan to grow food for other people so while I can't really help her to do that at the moment, we talk about her plan pretty often and when we get to a place where we can enough grow food, I will help her to share it with people, according to her plan. 

 

Sometimes stories also seem to help.  Taking the idea of some problem and making it more personal, so you can see the good, the everyday and the big picture as well.  So maybe you can find some fiction or even biographies appropriate to the issues he's into, or maybe you could write your own stories together?  

 

Oh, no.  I assure you there is no "toughening up" going on here.  As for bios, we have done Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King.  He is very much into American history and knows about all sorts of historical figures I know very little about.  I am currently hunting for a good Mandela biography. In addition, I really try to emphasize the daily stories of regular people instead of focusing on exceptional ones all the time, kwim?  We try to do both.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Also, get rid of the word "but"! It means "ignore what I just said -- this is what I really mean". That change makes a *huge* difference. Don't worry. He'll have plenty of other people using "but" to give him a chance to learn how to deal with it.

 

Yes, I agree.  I will be dropping the the buts and howevers and instead use the phrasing Miranda suggested.  I think from tone perspective it will make a difference. 

Quote:

Originally Posted by mama_b View Post

I'm dealing with the same thing with my 7 year old dd who is also really sensitive.  Sometimes, when I am not able to explain something in a way that satisfies her I just tell her that as she gets older she will keep learning and some things will make more sense.  Then I tell her that we will revisit the topic later.  But I also really worry about how sensitive she is and the fact that she worries about things that are really beyond her control, at least right now.
 

 

We share similar worries!  I wish revisiting topics later worked for us but in general, he wants to know right then.  He feels patronized otherwise.

 
Originally Posted by Fillyjonk View Post

I agree, its hard for them at this age but I think its helpful, if possible, to communicate the idea that ideas aren't fixed, that the world doesn't divide neatly into categories and that people do disagree!  

 

Young as he is, I wonder if another approach might be to widen his perspective and give him ways in which he can start to work for change, to feel empowered and able to change stuff.

 

Putting this gently re the sensitivity-I assume you are in the US? In terms of child poverty, the US does really badly for "developed" countries. Around a quarter of families below federal poverty levels, iirc. (The UK is pretty bad too, I'm not having a go here!). Also, the US has a hand in an awful lot of other countries. What I'm trying to say is that he doesn't need to feel like this is some big thing he's powerless against. Even though he is young, there are things he can start doing. Join Amnesty-use his privileged US citizenship to write some letters and get some change, up to him whether he reveals his age. Use these facts to campaign, send emails, sign petitions (use a false name if that's better). See if you can find somewhere he can helpfully volunteer, make up food boxes, sponsored bike rides, whatever. My kids get upset sometimes by world events and in some ways I really would prefer to shield them from this stuff. They do have extremely limited media-this is what filters down via the papers we read or the kid newspapers we buy them. But I am also glad that they see this as wrong.

 

Also. Now we love Brainpop but I have to say I've found it to have, in places, quite a strong US bias. If Brainpop was a primary source of information for my kids on world affairs I'd be looking to supplement that quite radically with international perspectives.

 

I also find it really important to communicate to my kids the great things about the world. What countries do right that we don't. How a country is people, foremost, not an economic or political system. What challenges do they actually have? look at Cuba, a dictatorship-with amazing levels of literacy and child survival. Look at the number of kids who die daily, not as a result of living under a dictator but because another "democratic" country, usually yours and/or mine have decided to impose food sanctions and bomb civilian areas. What's the functional difference between a democracy where you vote once every few years for a choice between between two or three candiadates who don't really represent you very well anyway-and a dictatorship? (not saying there isn't one, but I'd say we are far from an ideal situation also).. What in a country's history is there that has led to the current state of affairs (one thing with being British is that half the world's problems seem to stem from colonialism by us). Some countries have police who kill citizens on the street-others have gun laws that means citizens are quite routinely killed by other civilians-whats the functional difference? That's been interesting for my kids (7 and 9) to ponder.

 

I agree, brainpop is very much geared to a U.S. audience.  It has been such an easy jumping off point for him and he LOVES it and I don't mind it much at all.  I think it is pretty good.  He also has a fairly wide, international perspective. What do you supplement Brainpop with?  Any suggestions for 6 year old who will soon be 7?  

 

Thanks guys.  This has been a good discussion.  It is nice to know that I am not alone in grappling with this particular issue :)

post #13 of 21

ETA (putting this at the top) just wanted to say, Emaye and Featherstory, your kids sound awesome-I hope you'll let us know how it works out :-)

 

@ Emaye

 

Its a little hard because I'm not sure what media you have access to. And I agree Brainpop is good, really good, I just have noticed a few times that it can be a bit-and very subtly-"oh the world outside America is a hard and dangerous place", kind of sighing, shrug.gif type thing. (you know that voice that Tim does, kind of "truly, this is all so sad.". ) It is nuanced, on the surface its actually very right on. I'll try to think of an example if you like-though one very simple one is the choice of videos available, and what and who they choose to make videos on. But I've just reread your OP and see that you're watching Brainpop jnr, which I recall as being a little different. 

 

Oh and my kids have free access to Brainpop as well, I'm really not criticising. Actually-could that be an option? My kids were on Brainpop from round age 5, we never really did Brainpop jnr ex a free trial and I wonder if the added depth of Brainpop might actually paradoxically help?

 

I'd be looking at things like First News http://www.firstnews.co.uk/ , newsround http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/ or your US equivalents . National Geographic do a kids magazine. 

 

It puts me in mind of the debates around environmental education generally. Do we let kids realise that something is very wrong? Or do we make them love the world first and then help them figure out what to do to solve the problems we do have? I've heard both sides of the debate time and time again over the years but for me it comes down to, nothing good usually comes from abject despair. I despair sometimes at what we are doing-quite often in fact. But while I need this to give me a reality check, it doesn't per se push me into activism. Excitement at potential change is what does that.

 

I think what I'm trying to say is that this sensitivity is a great thing, and what I'd have thought will cause him to despair is not so much the sensitivity but the sense he can do nothing about it. I think being a kid is not being in a position of power. Seriously, growing things, getting involved with others actually making a difference has been the biggest thing for our family.

 

I have a kid too (also 7) who sometimes looks at the world and just utterly despairs, and I see why, but what's made an enormous difference to her is to know that, first, she can bring about real change. She can plant a tree which is there 100 years later. She can write a letter that gets someone freed. Wow. Second that both the key to this is to work with others-the letter gets the guy freed because there are 1000s of them, and hers was one of them-but also,and this is the key that others want to work for change too. She-our family even-are not alone in this. 

 

 

@pek

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fillyjonk View Post

"She also has a plan to grow food for other people so while I can't really help her to do that at the moment, we talk about her plan pretty often and when we get to a place where we can enough grow food, I will help her to share it with people, according to her plan."


Totally random question here. Do you have anything like a community garden that you could take part in? Being involved in community gardening, and then, more widely, the green movement has been a big thing for my kids in making them feel proactive about change, rather than miserable at how things are.


"I think trying her idea is the way to go. You might be surprised by the results.

We are talking about the Thomas Edison's of the next generation. Sure, some of the ideas will fail, but they are seeing possibilities the rest are missing. Support that. Who knows what they will achieve as adults, if only they hold onto their beliefs and unique perspectives."

 

 

Slightly bemused by this. Why not get her started by putting her in touch with others who might have ideas too? Why not start posting the idea on websites, talking to others, seeing if you can get it to take flight? If she can't use the idea now, see if she can interest others? Etc? I mean the answer from Featherstory might be "because she is at the dreaming and thinking stage and she wants to hang on to it"-which is totally fine. My only point is that if you are interested in gardening in this way, there is a lot going on globally and if what is standing in her way is her own patch of land, well, there are ways and means. If I knew of a kid in my town with a vision like that I could certainly help them get access to some land to experiment with, people to talk with who would certainly take her seriously despite her age. The key word I'd be googling here is "permaculture". I've done a fair bit of permaculture work and training and this is very much up that street.

 

And, yk, Thomas Edison, like every other person who has ever made a difference, didn't work alone. His ideas were first off not really all his ideas, as I understand it, but also, the results of different collaborations, not to mention apprenticeships, years of trying and failing. Talking to people, finding out what had gone before.

 

John Holt suggested years ago that if you are interested in something, get yourself to where people are doing that thing and see how you can take part. One of the best advice I ever read.


Edited by Fillyjonk - 3/10/13 at 3:59am
post #14 of 21
Even if the ideas weren't his own, they were someone's. It's possible that, given the confidence to try, and possibly fail, these children can grow up to have new solutions, that really change the world in positive ways. I'm bemused by your attitude.
post #15 of 21
Regarding John Holt's advise : he does not say you should only do what is currently being done.

One possible interpretation : Sometimes, when getting others to cross a canyon, you must start where they are and help them across.
post #16 of 21

I really don't get this, Pek, sorry. I wonder if we are just talking at cross purposes.

 

I am just throwing out a random idea really, I'm suggesting that, if Featherstory hasn't already and if her little girl is interested, and they are stymied by a lack of land, then they see what local food growing initiatives exist locally and try to get involved. My experience is that, until you dig, you don't always realise whats going on with local food. I am talking of, for example, shared growing projects, community gardens, etc. There might be people interested in doing these things if they aren't already in existence. These are non commercial projects where non-professionals get together on shared land to grow food and share growing expertise. Her daughter would gain gardening skills, if she doesn't already have them, and also a sense of how projects like this can operate in the community. In the UK, where I am, there is a strong community gardening ethos anyway but through the allotment system (basically, anyone in the country is entitled-after a few years on a waiting list- to a bit of land to grow vegetables on) we also have this skillshare situation

 

Now that might totally not appeal to one or both of them. But assuming that they can't start their project right away, one option seems to me to be to move towards gaining some of the skills, experience and knowledge that they might need in order to get going. It can be far easier to do this in a community setting, IMO, learning to garden on your own is often more of a struggle than it needs to be. 

 

To me, the bottom line is that you have a little girl who has shown an interest in gardening, and in problems of food distribution, and although she might not be able to do exactly what she wants now, there might be some other options of interest to her, as a stopgap.. It sounds to me that you are saying that she shouldn't try to get this knowledge and experience because it might contaminate her ideas. That's not consistent with my experience of how ideas work, which is why I'm suggesting a different approach.

post #17 of 21

I too am not clear that Fillyjonk and pek64 are actually disagreeing here. I think Fillyjonk was pointing out a possible way of beginning to realize part of the child's plan. In my experience kids respond really well to that sort of thing: overwhelmed and upset about global injustice, feeling powerless to change it, they can become empowered and comforted by working with like-minded people on small local projects. That's not to say that we are encouraging them to forget about the global injustices and their big dreams to fix them, but that they are happier and learning more if they can channel their moral outrage into practical work that is -- necessarily and for the time being -- small-scale. And I'm not sure that pek64 was actually disagreeing with that suggestion -- perhaps she was just using that quote to give context to a comment that working to pursue the child's plan is worthwhile and valuable and may lead to great things in the future. 

 

I was actually coming to this forum today to post a big thank you to all who are making it such a stimulating, thoughtful, respectful and creative community. I love the discussions that are taking place here lately and have great respect for all the voices that are making themselves heard. The balance of philosophical and practical is just right IMO.

 

This forum is currently my favourite place on the internet. Can I just say how great you guys all are? Please don't get mad at each other. 

 

grouphug.gif

 

Miranda

post #18 of 21

I see a lot has gone on since I last checked in. Just wanted to say that our own land to plant on hasn't stopped us from pursuing her plan, it just hasn't enabled us to actually grow enough to feed people.  We are learning about permaculture though, which is great because it was something I was interested in and worked on before I had kids, but was totally a self-led topic by dd5.

 

I also have a website that I'm working on, because she wants to get other kids talking about these things with her.  She asks me everyday if there are kids on the site for her to talk to.  It's really just parents right now, but I'm working to get kids on the site.

 

And, I am trying to help with a community garden, locally.  There isn't a functional one here right now. We are in the stage of incubating the dream and learning some practical skills, slowly but surely.  As well as putting together some practical essentials I need to take care of as a parent, to be able to support her ideas, such as getting a car and making money.  

 

In fact we're going to visit a permaculture training program pretty soon.  I'm all about getting kids working on what it is they plan on doing, I am not at all limiting her because we don't have land.  

post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fillyjonk View Post

 

Oh and my kids have free access to Brainpop as well, I'm really not criticising. Actually-could that be an option? My kids were on Brainpop from round age 5, we never really did Brainpop jnr ex a free trial and I wonder if the added depth of Brainpop might actually paradoxically help?

 

 

Guess what Filly, we tried out the non jr version of Brainpop today and he loves it.  I was reluctant before because his 4 yr old sister watches with him.  I didn't want it to be totally above her head.  But you know what?  She has just run off and began working on a craft project she's been obsessing over!  Thank you for the suggestion; he totally enjoys the depth of this version!  Also the permaculture thing you mentioned to Featherstory, I think we might begin learning about that this year.  Planting season is around the corner and the kids have been trying to prep. our balcony garden.  

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

I was actually coming to this forum today to post a big thank you to all who are making it such a stimulating, thoughtful, respectful and creative community. I love the discussions that are taking place here lately and have great respect for all the voices that are making themselves heard. The balance of philosophical and practical is just right IMO.

 

This forum is currently my favourite place on the internet. Can I just say how great you guys all are? Please don't get mad at each other. 

 

grouphug.gif

Miranda

 

Mine too.  I love it here.  I don't think I would have been bold enough to experiment with the (home)schooling options for my kids had I not been hanging around here often.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by featherstory View Post
In fact we're going to visit a permaculture training program pretty soon

 

This sounds fun! 

post #20 of 21
I think Fillyjonk and I are saying two different things, but the whole point of homeschooling is to tailor the approach to fit the child/family. There's nothing wrong with different ideas. At least, I'm not bothered by it. I will choose what I like, and each reader can do the same.

I'm glad solutions are being found. If someone is looking to teach gardening without a yard, a container garden is one possibility. Herbs can be grown in pots on a window sill, and larger plants in containers out on a deck or patio in the summer. Of course, if there is no deck or patio, the outdoor option may not exist.

And now, good-night. It's time to sleep. And so, I'll sleep with my pet Zeep. Today is over. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one. -- Dr. Suess.
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