A Few Raw Thoughts on a Crumpled Piece of Paper

I discover a crumpled piece of notebook paper in my handbag. I smooth it out and read the scrawled inked words:

unschooling things everyone can do 

love unconditionally: don’t withdraw love, forgive.


respect, talk to kids properly

A few words that I wanted to remember. I wrote them while I was away from home. Was I sitting at a table in the mall, sipping coffee with my daughter Imogen? Did I suddenly say, “I’ve just had a thought. I must write it down before I forget it!”? Yes, that’s what I did. I hunted through my bag for a pen and piece of paper, scribbled down the words, and then thrust the note back into my bag. I’m always doing that.

Thoughts appear and then they disappear. I’ve learnt to write them down as soon as they enter my mind. Once they’re replaced by other thoughts, it’s almost impossible to remember them.

Are all my thoughts worth remembering? Probably not. But when an idea arrives, I don’t immediately know if it’s a good one or not. I record it just in case.

And what do I do with all these thoughts? Some I turn into blog posts or podcasts or videos. Others remain as random words on bits of paper. But I keep them. They might not be useful now, but who knows where they might lead in the future?

I look at the words on the crumpled piece of notepaper. Are they valuable? Can I do anything with them? What was I thinking about when those words entered my head?

Could it have been something like this:

Perhaps not everyone wants to or is able to unschool. But can everyone adopt some unschooling principles? Should they? It doesn’t matter what form of education a parent chooses, she can (and should?) love unconditionally, listen to and respect her children, and this will include talking to them properly. Properly? With respect. 

Because doesn’t every child deserve to be loved unconditionally and treated with respect?

Now I’m thinking about my podcast tagline: Love unconditionally, trust and respect.

There’s another word on my piece of paper: 


I passed over this word when I started this post, I couldn’t remember why I wrote it down. Is it a random word or does it belong with the others? I see ‘trust’ is followed by a question mark. Perhaps I was thinking that many people might agree we should love children unconditionally and show them respect. And maybe many do this. But would I have a hard time trying to convince parents to trust their children? Trust like unschoolers endeavour to do? 

So what is trust? 

  • to believe that something is true although you have no proof
  • to hope and expect that something is true
  • being able to predict what other people will do and what situations will occur

Or is it something else? What is it when we’re talking about parenting our children?

Does trust need to be a two-way thing between parent and child? Does it result from being connected to each other? Is it nurtured by unconditional love and respect?

A few raw thoughts captured on a crumpled piece of paper.


This post led to a podcast. My 15 year-old-daughter, Sophie joined me for episode 70 of my Stories of an Unschooling Family podcast,  Trust, Respect and Love Unconditionally.

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