“I fully believe that one of the greatest gifts I’ve given my children is the example of a mother who pursues her passions like a motherfucker.” ~ Cheryl Strayed
I didn’t grow up in an atmosphere of exploration. As I’ve noted previously in ‘What Will People Think’ and here in ‘How Do You See People?’ — life was considered to be fraught with hidden danger and worry about the perceptions of others. It was to the point that it was almost debilitatingly fearful to do anything, go anywhere or experience much beyond the safety of home. I couldn’t play high school sports as my mother couldn’t take me or pick me up from practices and God forbid I get a ride with another student or another parent (they might molest me.) Travel was restricted to my Grandmother’s house on a set route with only two stops – one at a rest stop and another at a gas station for fuel. We were barely allowed to get out of the car even then. Talking to strangers was unheard of – you don’t know them!!!! Ugh!
I hate fear. It incapacitates. It feeds misinformation to the brain. It creates anxiety. It leads to depression. It steals confidence.
I encourage caution, not fear. I stress situational awareness, not fear. I teach preparedness, not fear.
I also believe that as a mother, it is my job to introduce my children to as many experiences as possible. Staying home is not an option.
- Primitive camping – learning how to set up a tent, start fires, find directions, navigate the woods and streams, cook over an open fire
- Traveling by car – driving on the interstate, in heavy traffic, in crowded cities, how to drive an automatic AND a manual transmission, how to read maps and atlases
- Traveling by air – how to shop for low fares, get around an airport, find airport maps ahead of time, plan a trip
- Traveling by rail – even if it is a short trip, how to purchase tickets and what to expect on the trip
- Sports – trying out, practicing, discipline and hard work to excel in said sport
- Experiences – if there is an interest in something, let’s look for camps or trips or books or movies that expound on that interest.
In Sam’s case, he has been enthralled by space since he was small, about age 3. He was constantly checking out the DK Eyewitness video “Planets” from the library, books about the solar system, and movies such as “Apollo 13”. (Such things as Star Wars or fantasy movies about space did not register because they weren’t ‘real’.) He had applied for a scholarship to attend Space Camp in Huntsville, AL but COVID-19 interfered and Space Camp was cancelled. We were thrilled to find out this year he was awarded the scholarship, and he is so excited to attend.
Savannah was quite the pitcher and spent several years playing softball. Now she is involved in track and enjoys playing volleyball. When she was going thru some personal stress, she came to me and asked about shaving her head. Going from long, blonde, curly hair to a shaved head was a major decision, but it was important enough to her that I agreed.
When Victoria was interested in joining the volunteer fire department where we lived, I strongly encouraged it. It was a learning experience for her in a subject that interested her, giving her skills and confidence in herself and others. She also spent years doing trampoline and tumbling in gymnastics – again, discipline, skill, practice and the opportunity to travel and attend competitions at the Junior Olympic level.
Ashley decided she wanted to learn to fence. She fenced for several years thru our homeschool association and then again in college which led to several tournaments, medals and awards. Fencing is not your mainstream sport but she learned invaluable skills.
Melody chose ballet when she was young. Not exactly unheard of, but it was a new experience for anyone in our family. She learned confidence and body consciousness, and how to perform in front of crowds as well as self-discipline, attending rehearsals even when she didn’t want to or didn’t feel like it.
Brandon and Kiara are learning that when momma finds outs there is an interest, however slight, she will find a way, an opportunity to make it happen and give them exposure to learn if it’s something they want to pursue.
My job as a mom is not to make little mini-me’s – although to hear and observe Melody is enough to make me shake my head at how much like me she has become. My job as a mom is to instill in every single one of my children the confidence to pursue their dreams and interests, give them the tools and knowledge to do so in a safe manner and pray over them while they go forward.
Now for your enjoyment, Sam’s favorite video of the planet song from Blues Clues. LOL