Tie Dyeing

Tie Dyeing is one of my favourite ways to explore! Every few years I buy a bunch of excellent Procion fabric dyes, and we get together with other people and put a bunch of colour into our lives!

This is a lot like the paper-folding play I posted about, recently: Through experimenting (in this case with chemical combinations, colours, fabrics, process and social interaction), there is endless growth and delight to be had by people of all ages. We might not be able to quantify and record the specific skills we acquired, and by how many levels our skills have increased, but the skills, inspiration, and confidence that we have gathered from the experience will be invaluable for our next life experiences.

How to Unschool Part 2: Power Struggles

This is a follow-up to my previous post on the topic, and, in that vein, could be alternately titled:
While Letting Go of Control, Harness Your Power!

I subscribe to Jennifer Lehr's "Good Job", and Other Things You Shouldn't Say or Do. Recently she posted this incredibly thought-provoking gem:

"For a relationship to change in any significant way, he who holds the power must change."
— Dr. Thomas Gordon —

And here are my thoughts on the issue:

Power is Different from Control
Power can be intrinsic and benevolent; control implies a hierarchy that power does not. Free Online Dictionary defines:
Power     1. The ability or capacity to perform or act effectively.
Control   1. To exercise authoritative or dominating influence over; direct.

You Already Hold the Power
As parents, we hold inherent power in the family, which is why it's so important to relinquish the control, so that our children can have time to learn to harness their own power.

When we harness the power, we acknowledge that it's there, and we feel secure. We are also then secure about others' possession of power. In fact, we WANT them to have power, because when they feel secure, they are also supportive of us.

The power struggle is within. 
I think that we spend a lot of our time denying our own power; not taking responsibility for the things we actually are in control of, and often feeling regretful, spiteful, or jealous of the controls we perceive others to hold. This leaves us feeling vulnerable, weak, and devoid of our own intrinsic power. Maybe this comes of a misunderstanding of the differences between power and control.

At some point in my childhood, every single one of my four parents called each other "control freaks". It took me a long time to understand that the 4-way struggle I was witnessing, often played out through me, wasn't at all about me, or even about each other, but about the individuals in the divorced family, who were still struggling with their own inward power issues. They all had an unbelievable amount of power, as parents of their own children, and yet none of them felt secure in that power. I grew up adamant that I would not be controlled by other people, and consequently have had a very difficult time to recognize the benevolent nature of my true power. I have a difficult time supporting, encouraging and guiding my own children in an empowered way, without creating a control mechanism. This is my power struggle!

Rhiannon enjoys feeling her power in her long-awaited first Polar Bear Swim. This is something she's been wanting to do for years, and finally managed to achieve, last week.
Power is a state of mind
...and one that enables us to feel the security-of-self needed for compassionate and fulfilling cohabitation. Can you think of any greater gift than to empower our children with the same knowledge? With this state of mind, there is no hierarchy. Everything becomes possible for all.

Let's empower ourselves by letting go of control.