Sunday, June 12, 2005

Finding a way to say Yes!

One of the concepts unschoolers talk about is finding ways to say yes to children's desires. As I understand it, this is because those desires represent the child's natural inquisitiveness, so saying yes more than no stimulates them to, or allows them to, learn.

In the spirit of saying yes, I allowed Chester to sit in the front seat of the car at the beginning of the summer of his fifth grade year instead of waiting until the end of the summer like Wolfie had to do. Wolfie was very upset that the rule had changed (or disappeared) and then told Chester that he had to wait because Wolfie had had to, which made Chester very upset. There were tears and I tried to talk them through it so they could come to a compromise. Chester offered to wait until the middle of the summer to meet halfway. I apologized to Wolfie for changing the (arbitrary) rule and explained my new philosophy of "yes". I finally got Wolfie to talk about his feelings ("I'm not angry, Mom, just very very annoyed,") and then he agreed that it would be okay with Chester to sit in the front seat occasionally, too, since that is what he would want if the tables were turned.

Then two nights ago, I came across this article about airbags on Even though my boys might be as tall and as heavy as the average petite woman, they apparently don't have the muscle mass of an adult anything and it's the muscle mass that's important. The study recommends not letting anyone under the age of 15 sit in front. So, we discussed the federal guidelines and the new information from this study and agreed to revise our rule. "Yes, they can ride in the front seat when it is safe for them to do so. It is safe when they are 14.5."

So far so good. Both Chester and Wolfie are disappointed at having the priviledge taken away from them but they understand the guidelines and the science behind it, so they accept it. And there has been much less fighting over who gets to sit in the front seat, thank goodness. ;)

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