Tuesday, August 17, 2010

When Worlds Collide (Or Diverge): An Inaugural Blog

NAGC (National Association for Gifted Children) sent out a poll and included in the questions was one asking about subscriptions to parenting magazines.  While I no longer subscribe to any, the question provoked an apt launching point for this blog. 

My two parenting magazine subscriptions:  
  • Family Fun:  Arch-typical Disney fantasy all they way.  Amazingly cute and user-friendly crafts, costumes, snacks, vacation articles, recipes, health articles, etc.  Nicely presented and packaged.  Pleasantville in magazine form.  A real “porch” read.  I confess that I stilI love thumbing through it –the beautiful modern, if commercial, idylls written on those glossy pages–and it inspired some lovely birthday parties.
  • LifeLearning Magazine:  Unschooling. Unrepentant and subversive. From our early years (perhaps our BEST years) homeschooling.  I kept the subscription for a long time because it inspired me, speaking to autonomous learning and parenting better than any other single publication I read. But overall it wasn’t quite our family’s reality either.

Welcome to my world.  Or worlds.

The whole magazine scenario, brought to the fore by the NAGC questionnaire, is a metaphor for our entire parenting and schooling experience.  Because I don't think there's a magazine for the creative parenting undertaken at our house. Instead it's been vaguely charted territory, best addressed in the supportive emails found on the listserves of the incredibly generous gifted online community.  But unfortunately there’s no HoagiesGifted Magazine.  No little piece of "home" to arrive in my mailbox, complete with photos and "how-to's" every month. (Not that my children would have enjoyed following a step-by-step—and, heck, I don’t do well with following directions myself—but some sort of a reference beyond "Thar Be Dragons" would have been nice, because the warning wasn’t going to do any good; the kids were launching us into Terra Incognita regardless.)

Nevertheless, I remember the tinge of remorse that accompanied the eventual intentional lapsing of both subscriptions in recognition that the children had grown older.  For better or worse, that ship had sailed and we'd already whipped past the benefits to be gained or ideals marked by the magazines' charts.  Had we wanted to add those ports?  Had we managed to?  Sometimes yes, sometimes no.   But the ship sails on. . . .

Here's a homemade Christmas card from many years back.  Despite the the unschooling and the frequent fights with the system, clearly I've never been able to move past a certain desire to embrace the traditional.  (We were stretching a bit further back than Norman Rockwell:  the costuming is for St. Lucia and, yes, that is live flame atop my child's head.)

Recognizing that gifted adults are unlikely to find a single destination in life appropriate or desirable to them, my husband and I have done our best to encourage our children to approach life's diversity as travelers:  to live in many worlds (literally and metaphorically), to be at home in their own skins, to be flexible thinkers and creative problem solvers, and hopefully to know that they will always find safe harbor with us.  Now they are reaching the age where it is less about equipping them for their own journeys and, alarmingly, more about seeing how they begin to fare.

As for those magazines and the sometimes-perplexing juxtaposition between the microcosms of expectations and reality they present:  On the up-side, I can still whip up an awesome Halloween costume when the need arises.  But I'm more pleased that I ended up with creative individualists who enjoy making their own.

CookieMonster Slayer: willing to wear costumes even without occasion to during her two-year stint at public high school, my daughter enjoyed classmates' responses to this not-so-Family-Fun costume two Halloweens ago.

1 comment:

  1. "ME WANT COOO...." *gurgle*
    LMAO! Thanks for addy to your blog. I have already subscribed!