Are We Incomplete Without Our Passions and Interests?

My Unschooling Book Series (11)

Editing my unschooling book is a fairly straightforward task. I’ve done all the basic work because I have a first draft manuscript. All I have to do is play around with the wording, eliminate excess content, rearrange sections, and make everything flow in a logical way. Well, that’s what I thought. But something unexpected has happened: I keep having new ideas that I want to include in my book. This means writing more stories from scratch. That involves a lot more work than just fixing up what I’ve already got.

On the positive side, the new ideas confirm for me the depth of unschooling. Just when I think I understand unschooling inside and out, I am struck by yet another thought. You see, unschooling has many layers. It’s deep. Ideas keep pushing their way to the surface, giving me something else to ponder and more to learn. This is rather exciting.

As far as my book goes, I suppose there will come a point where I will have to stop writing. I’ll have to be satisfied with what I have said. Move on. Otherwise, this book will never get finished. But for now, I’m still writing furiously as new thoughts appear.


Reasons Why Kids Should Be Allowed to Follow Their Passions

Do you want to hear about my latest idea? It popped into my head yesterday while I was watching my daughters, Sophie and Gemma-Rose, run in their first 5 km race. It’s a thought associated with passions and interests.

Now I have already written and spoken a lot about how we should allow our kids to follow their passions and interests. It’s no good forcing them to learn about things that we think are important if they’re not interested. That’ll end up being a waste of time. No, we have to trust our kids will learn all they need to know. Hand over control to them.

Passions and interests are such an integral part of each of us. Maybe our life missions are wrapped up in them. When developed, they may lead to amazing things in big ways or just small ones. Size really doesn’t matter.

But I’ve said all this before. This is what I want to add:

Yesterday, I saw Gemma-Rose engrossed in her passion for running. I saw her come fully alive. Something extra was visible. It appeared while she was running.

Perhaps passions complete us as people. They make us more fully who we are meant to be. They push us into our happy zone. When we’re pursuing our passions, we are confident and skilful and joyful.

Do we allow our kids to be more fully who they are? Do they deserve to feel the joy that results from their passions? Is it our role to ensure this happens? Or do we believe deep down that nobody deserves to be that happy? Life is tough. It’s better our kids get used to this idea.

Following interests doesn’t necessarily mean an easy and lazy life. We might think children will work harder if we insist that they learn what we feel is important rather than what they like. But pursuing passions can sometimes be frustrating. It’s not all pleasure. A lot of effort, perseverance and commitment are involved. Like training for a 5 km race. Or writing an unschooling book. Maybe the joy we feel from doing things we are passionately interested in comes from the satisfaction of knowing we are working hard, overcoming the difficulties, developing our talents as we try to achieve something new.

If we don’t let our kids follow their interests and passions, do we subdue part of who they are?

Of course, our children’s interests may change. They might move from one to another. But this is all part of the process of self-discovery. Children should be allowed to discover who they are. If they don’t do that while they are young, they’ll flounder when they leave the security of the family. As my daughter, Sophie, said recently, when young people don’t know who they are, they might go out into the bigger world and copy the people around them, adopting their values and lifestyle. But when our children know who they are, they are confident, they like who they are, and they won’t be swayed by the opinions of others.

Sophie has many passions and interests. She doesn’t have time for all the things parents worry about: alcohol and late night parties, bad company, smoking and other habits that injure the health… “You’re boring!” someone recently told her when he found out she isn’t a party animal. She just grinned. Later, Sophie said to me, “How can I be boring? I have so many interests. They are all part of who I am.”


I haven’t expressed my thoughts very well. I’m aware of this. I just wrote what fell out of my head. First draft quality. I’ll add it to the manuscript. With some editing, maybe I can do something with it!

Is it essential that we allow our kids the freedom to pursue their interests? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


And if you’re a podcast listener, here is this week’s episode, Why I’m Not a Good Homeschooling Teacher:

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Comments

  1. Reply

    It’s magical to see the learning and growth that takes place when our children find something they love! It can’t be forced. I guess that’s why school is so popular, not everyone has the patience.

    1. Reply

      Venisa,

      Maybe, as parents, we do sometimes wish our kids would hurry up and discover somehting they particularly love. But you are so right: Passions can’t be forced. We need to be patient. But when it happens? Oh yes, magical is the perfect word!

  2. Reply

    When they discover something it just pops seemingly out of nowhere!
    Today Aiden my youngest asked if he could research and write me an essay. He was so proud of himself when he finished. He is 12. This is his first ever and it wasn’t half bad! And it was done with passion.( He wrote about poaching animals, by the way. His choice 🙂

    1. Reply

      Jack,

      I love your story! It reminds me that it’s much better to let passion be in control than take control ourselves. Amazing things can happen when our kids are really interested in something. I bet you were smiling as you read the essay!

    • Alison
    • November 14, 2017
    Reply

    Sue, I think what you’ve written is very well expressed – so natural and flowing in thought. I think the questions you ask are so pertinent to the unschooling mindset and need to be asked and pondered by those willing enough to question the schooling mindset.

    I love Sophie’s response to the rather close-minded comment she received – she is certainly not boring!! 🙂

    1. Reply

      Alison,

      I’m so glad my words made sense and you could follow my train of thought. Maybe questions are a good way to share ideas with other people rather than telling them what to think. As you said, questions can be pondered . We just need to think about them in an open and honest way.

      Maybe the young person who labelled Sophie as boring never had a chance to discover his own interests and passions. Perhaps he escapes from the everyday by partying. Without interests, life can feel rather flat. “…the rather close-minded comment…” Yes, the comment confirms for me that we think so differently from most other people. I guess it’s no wonder everyone thinks we’re strange. Strange but not boring!

  3. Reply

    Boring! That would be the last word I would fish out of the hat trying to describe you and your bunch. We too have experienced passions as it were falling from empty air. My bous went riding for a time, but one day one of the boys said that he wanted to play the piano. I said, sure, when you can ride the horse in canter and gallop. Thinking he would forget about piano lessons. But no, he persevered. And today he’s playing still … and he’s soo good.

    1. Reply

      Charlotte,

      Passions that fall from the empty air… I like those words! Yes sometimes they arrive as if from nowhere and we do indeed wonder if they’ll last. I remember you telling me about your son who loves to play the piano quite a long time ago. I often think it’s a pity we don’t live near each other. I can imagine your son playing the piano while my girls sing!

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