17 March 2014

Unschool Monday :: Social Awareness

Sleepy protester #owletwearing #marchinmarch

It's a wonderful thing to watch an owlet grow into an awareness of people and things going on around them. To see their thoughts develop and change on issues involving others and how they might help.

At first it might be a response to an issue that affects someone they care about. Tiny Owlet, in her own way, gets why mining and dredging in the Great Barrier Reef, for example, might not be desirable…

"We have to go because they want to put mulch on Nemo's home" #3yoactivist #marchinmarch
"We have to go because they want to put mulch on Nemo's home." 
They might go through a phase of understanding issues, but not totally grasping why they are important, or that people as small as them can make a real difference. So they help those in their immediate surroundings. Little Owlet does this by cooking for her sisters everyday.
And then they gain an understanding of their emerging place in the world. They want to do something and look for ways to help.

Not in her name #notinmyname #marchinmarch #bigowlet

Yesterday was eye opening for Big Owlet. Over breakfast, we talked about the new state government coming in and how their policies affect our way of life. We also talked about the national protests happening over the past three days. The March in March, a motion of no-confidence in the current federal government. We talked about many of the issues under discussion; Tasmanian forests under threat, treatment of asylum seekers, cuts to the ABC… The list goes on and on, but those were the three that stood out for Big Owlet.

We read the owlets the children's book, Ziba Came on a Boat, for some perspective on asylum seekers. Then we discussed the reality of what might happen to Ziba as she neared Australia. Big Owlet stood, with tear in her eyes, and asked why children weren't allowed to vote. "Aren't we people too?" Then she demanded to go to the march.

It wasn't her first protest rally either, but the first that she cared about. And for the first time she saw she
could get involved and do something. A very empowering feeling for an owlet.

She signed her name to the big banner that said "not in my name". She stood there, clapping until her hands were sore, while the speakers spoke. She cast her vote. She cared.

Big Owlet cried real tears today when we told her about the rally and why it was happening. Frustrated that she can't vote, she really wanted to go. And she clapped 'til her hands hurt. Rallies always make me teary. All that passion among so many good hea

We listened to Tasmanian Asylum Seeker Support's Emily Conlan make an inspiring speech and and one point read a diary excerpt that claimed the people who make and support these rules, that we were there to protest, are made by people who were raised to be "obedient children". "May I never have an obedient child", she proclaimed… And we couldn't have agreed more as we clapped and marvelled at our own disobedient children rolling around on the grass at our feet.

We came away with a bunch of ideas for getting involved further. Letters to write, volunteering to be done, people to speak to, new friends to make. And so unfolds the beauty of this unschooling path.

Unschooling is, for us, about providing discussion and opportunity for owlets to develop an awareness of the world around them. I really can't think of a better place to do that than in the real world here, with real people, hearing real stories and finding ways every day to cast our vote, make a difference and care for each other and the world around us. There isn't a NAPLAN test for social awareness. But really, it should be one of the key things that all our owlets grow up with, don't you think?

How do you talk to your owlets about the hard stuff?
What do you do to help raise their social awareness?
Do you think social awareness is important for your owlets? Or not at all? Not yet?

Have a gorgeous week. xx

1 comment:

  1. What a sensational post ! Owlet is so lucky to have a parent who will give her access to so much that is wrong in our world, while protecting her at the same time and making her feel she can make a difference. Wish I had done the same when my own girls were growing up. Well done .


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