Saturday, March 17, 2007

Celebrate, Learn, Love

Last Wednesday there was a lot to celebrate. The weather was warm, sunny, and beautiful. Seth was so, so happy to be digging in the backyard dirt with his construction trucks. The date was 3/14 -- "pi day," so in between playing outside we messed around with the compass, making circles and measuring radii, diameters, and circumferences, and, of course, eating pie. We looked up some stuff on the web about pi and ended up doing a frozen-hotdog-throwing experiment based on Buffon's needle problem. It got quite messy as the hotdogs thawed, making me even more grateful that it was warm enough to do this outside. We discovered that it was also Albert Einstein's birthday, so we read some about him and played a little relativity game that we came across online. We mostly liked reading his quippy quotes and ended up printing and cutting out a bunch of them to tape up on the wall along with a big poster of Einstein that Matt used to have in his office. Riley's favorite quote was an explanation of relativity:

"When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, you think it's only a minute. But when you sit on a hot stove for a minute, you think it's two hours. That's relativity."
My favorite:
"There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is."

Here are some other quotes of Einstein's we read that, as an unschooling Mom, I love:

"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom."

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

"It is nothing short of a miracle that modern methods of education have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry."

"Education is that which remains when one has forgotten everything learned in school."

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning."

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex...It takes a touch of genius -- an a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction."

That last one brings to mind many things that our society makes"bigger and more complex" when it comes to life with children. From the time they are born, we're told to regulate and schedule and control our children's eating, sleeping, and even their play. As they grow, we're encouraged to rush them to master new physical/academic/social skills, to push them through all kinds of exercises to get them reading early and a lot, to separate from their families, and to make damn sure they are not behind. Where I've followed that path, it has clouded the opportunity to witness the miracles of my children's lives unfolding right before my eyes; and parenting has felt like a stressful ordeal. Where I've stepped away from that path and moved toward unconditional love, toward trust, and toward connection, the miracles of learning, growing, discovering, loving are right there to enjoy as they are allowed to unfold simply, naturally, and beautifully.


Shelley said...

You're my hero Holly! I wish I had it together like you do...

Holly Simpson said...

Thank you, Shelley, that is so nice of you to say!!! I'm far from having it all together, though!! Major control freak, stresser-outer, and worrier here! I just keep trying to tell myself, "Breathe and let go, breathe and let go..."

Della said...

Well written article.