Thursday, November 6, 2008

"Yes" To Everyone

Dakota Leigh Martin, (aka Tiffany Rose) is such a powerful creator. She is a fierce leader. She doesn't listen to what others feel is "right". She finds her own *truth* in all that she does. She is an intense free-thinking person.
I am so grateful to be her Mom. I can't imagine her being part of mainstream parenting and schooling. She would most certainly be put on medication to control her and keep her within someone's else's ideals of being "obedient" because she wouldn't listen to what someone else tells her to do. She isn't made that way.

Joe, my dear love, has had such a hard time dealing with her personality sometimes. I think because they are so much alike. Joe is very intense himself, so meeting every one's needs has been more than a challenge sometimes for me as a wife and mother.

It was a difficult morning here. Tiff so wanted to buy a toy caterpillar she saw the night before at the grocery store. (Devin has one that he got years ago and she has always loved it.) When she saw one there for a special promotion she was beside herself with excitment. When we shared that we may not be able to afford it this week she screamed. She yelled. She cried. She let us know in every way humanly possible that this huge toy Caterpillar was something she wanted so badly.
Instead of becoming a wall between her and her desires, and letting it slip into a power struggle, I merged with her and became her partner and helped her find a way to help her get what she wanted while respecting Joe's needs to save money... I could see how desperate she was when Joe said, "Not this week honey". I could see that she saw the inJustice in his words.

Joe and I recently booked a trip to Disney World. We are saving every penny for this amazing adventure this January, So, being torn between Joe's desires of saving for our trip and Tiff's desire for this toy was hard. I held on to the desire to find a way with this situation so that everyone wins.
There are real life limitations that keep us from getting certain things we want in life sometimes. Our children learn this just from living life with us, so I never find it necessary to say "no" just so they learn that "lesson".

After much thought, I found a way to meet everyone's needs. I cuddled and held Tiff and talked to her about her desire. I shared that one option was that we could sell a few things to make the money to buy it if she wanted. I suggested a few things of mine that I could sell. Tiff decided to sell a few Gameboy Games that she didn't play with anymore. We also sold a few of Joe's old games. We discussed options to all help one another rather than just taking the easy, traditional role and saying, "...because I say so" or "life is hard" or the other many choice phrases that most kids hear if they want something their family can't afford.

Luckily, the local Pawn Shop bought Tiff's & Devin's old Gameboy games that they didn't want anymore... just enough to help Tiff get the cool Caterpillar she so wanted! The other kids were happy for her and also helped by offering to sell some of their things. She was so grateful to us for helping her. She knows she can count on us to help her get what she wants in life. She trusts us and she knows that we are here to help her in life, not stand between her and her wants. This is really important to us as parents.
We know that our children's wants are their needs. We help them. We love them. We don't try to control them. We shift from control to understanding and partnership. This we believe is a way to show our kids a more peaceful, loving, connected way to be in this World than a traditional role of Power Ruling.

Here is Tiff with her new toy.... Rainbow Caterpillar. She fell asleep with him last night and Joe and I were proud that we all worked together to meet everyone's needs. Yes, it was challenging to work through our cultural conditioning to find a more giving, caring, peaceful way, but it was worth every second. Tiff knows that those that love her will help her get what she wants in life. In turn she is learning that this is the way to *Be* in life...
Working together to meet everyone's needs in the family and respecting everyone equally is our goal as a family. Sometimes it is hard to break out of traditional roles because of our culture and how we were parented, but when we do........... Life Is Good.


Melissa said...

I've learned so much from reading your blog and it's helped so much. Thank you!

growingupartists said...

What a creative, and effort-filled way to meet your daughter's need. It's interesting that you respect your daughter's interpretation of value and worth, rather than instilling your own into her. Very open-minded.

In my family we'd be able to chuck the caterpillar into the "not on sale", or "maybe for Christmas" category. We're even prone to infect them with the "not good enough quality" bug.

I'm sure your daughter will make many happy caterpillar may even be a sign that she's heading towards butterfly.

Anonymous said...

I second what Melissa said.

You know, in most unschooling things online, they'll pretty much make it seem like if your child ever cries/screams, ever, that you must be doing something wrong. So glad you brought this to light. Kids scream. That's life. I look forward to learning what Tiffany will do with her life as a teen/adult. I think she'll make a huge difference. For some reason, I see her protesting something, standing on a platform with a microphone, getting a crowd of people riled up, shouting, "What do we want?... When do we want it?..."

MamaK said...

That was lovely. I really need to remember that all things are possible when you get creative. thanks for the extra trick in my bag of yes we can.-Kim

Rachel said...


We just got off the phone and now I know more of what you were talking about. We have done some of this too, with Ben. Where it gets insanely hard is when there really is "no way" to get him what he wants. Ben doesn't do compromise. It is his way or the highway. I think if we could find more middle ground I would end up yelling ALOT less. As it is I hate that I resort to losing it...too much. The upshot is, I am really good at asking forgiveness and admitting that I am totally human and not perfect and that grown ups do plenty of screwing up too. :-)

Beautiful story though. Man, your kids are so cute!


Beverly said...

You inspire me. Thank you so much for sharing this story. I am struck by how important it is to honor one's partner's needs and not always let the child (or anyone, really) simply "get her way". And yet there is the parent's (mother's) deep desire to help a child get what she wants and needs--to honor what is important to her. To hear her as she speaks her truth and try to feel how very real that is to her.

Thank you, thank you.

Solid said...

Very powerful story! I appreciate you sharing it because it is a topic rarely touched on, how strong wills work things out to everyone's benefit. Loved it!

Christi said...

Sometimes I find myself asking, "what would Dana do?" As I told you at the Rethinking Ed. Conference in Dallas, you inspire me! Thank you for standing in your light and for insisting on a better and higher way of living. As we are just beginning our unschooling journey and are experiencing ups and downs, I find myself lifted up by reading about how you choose to do life. My heart is filled with appreciation for you and your family!

free thinker said...

WORking in peace! Beautiful!

kat said...

yes, yes thank you for sharing this story and all of the details along with it. we are also new on our journey, and at times we "cave" into the whatevers just for calm, and quiet. thank you for another tool, and for laying it out for us. you are, and your family is, so inspirational!