Not even for Becky.
Even the pencil grips are not keeping his writing legible lately (I WILL get the assessment I’ve been asking for — his pediatrician agrees it’s a good idea), and he has a lot of pain when writing longhand. But darn it, he’s not just gonna go assuming Becky’s pronouns. She/he/they were totally discouraged when they saw the amount of leaves they had to rake.
Fascinating treasures, my two.
Here’s a nice pic of a game of Settlers of Catan (a “German”-style board game) with our beloved snowdrop Keren. Keren is thinking of going back to school for teaching and I am all for it — she is a natural teacher. I love that the people in our lives who ask to be part of the kids’ education never follow up with asking to be told what to do, or how. Nobody did that for me! Nobody taught me to homeschool my children. I knew what I was passionate to impart. And I made sure I knew what our state laws required. I document much more than is asked of me, because it helps me.
We have had friends, neighbors, and folks of similar fandoms offer to “teach” the kids, and they come entirely prepared every time. With heartfelt interests, and the desire and ability to communicate. That’s all it takes. Reading the water meter, gardening, approaching strangers and asking their permission to photograph them in street photography, making foam weapons, playing chess, identifying trees… there was a time when all there was to learn was learned from the members of one’s own tribe. No special forms required.
Can you imagine any person saying “I really want to pass on some knowledge to a new generation now, but someone in charge needs to make me a packet.”?
BE a person a kid wants to be near. Play a game. Tell a story. Teach why pronouns matter — or, find out that they’ve got that one under control already.
Someone — a social worker, actually, who sees more in her work day than I think I could bear — told me last week that not only was I an excellent mother (thank you!) but that I was “raising my kids to be leaders.” I never set out for that, I don’t think. But we could use them, so why not?
But it’s even more to my benefit to do so not just because the world will need pioneers of social justice and emotional intelligence.
It’s because at this age — when they become bottle rockets of burgeoning independence — you will raise a leader or you will make an enemy, or, at the very least, someone who resents you through a lot of tipsy Friendsgivings where they’d still rather be than with you.
This is the age where “Because I’m the grown up and I said so” not only won’t work — it’ll become a tool of ritual suicide.
Thank the universe and all the luck in it for what I’ve got. Including a son whose own inner dialogue reflects his understanding and expression of the realities of love and identity that have been held captive by the “grown ups” for too long.
All. Is. Love.