After dinner, I mentioned to my Mom that my girl is not yet specific interest driven. She is more of a generalist. While some kids beg to take dance lessons or to be put in sports, she doesn’t beg for more of any particular interest.
Many things appeal to her and she is still a very young seven year-old in the sense that she is totally focused on playing from morning until night, not on achieving and certainly not on tasks. She has great difficulty in divorcing herself from this pulsing urge. “Just let me play!” her spirit exclaims all day. In short, just playing in whatever form grabs her in the moment is her main interest. I understand. At 44, I still feel the same way!
There are some activities she loves more than others, though. So, last night, I mentioned these and asked her to put them in order. Her favorite is playing with me. A bit surprised but touched, I said, “That’s really important to you, huh?” She said yes. “Ok, well we have to make sure to do that every day, then,” I replied. She was going to put Happiness on top and I agreed but then she insisted on it being second, tied with Playing with Friends. I guess her point is that a life without play time is no fun.
This list is very telling. She often gets notes home or critical remarks on her report card for the very things she loves – wanting to talk with friends, being silly, not being still and quiet in circle time due to her impulse to play and move in a dynamic, dancing sort of way. The Florida testing requirements, even in a school like she is in, requires her to be focused on math drills on a daily basis. Of course I want her to excel in math, but it’s a pity that silliness, yes silliness (self-expression), dance, playground time, art and building things aren’t more important in her curriculum.
It’s no fault of her dedicated teachers. They have many kids and standards to meet. She enjoys school for the most part, but if I was financially independent already her school would be oriented principally around her passion hierarchy. Knowing me and how strongly I feel about school serving childhood and not the other way around, I suspect I’ll be creating her own school, eventually, with others.
Regardless, for the short-term, this list helps me understand what honors her spirit, at this point in her life. I’m going to show it to her teachers. One tries to affect things from the inside out first.