This week, my friend Thea Sullivan wrote an excellent article for Salon about her profoundly gifted son, Jack — one of Ms. H’s closest friends and a fellow homeschooler.
It mirrors so much of my process of letting go the “shoulds” of childhood for Ms. H – of my many preconceived notions of what her life should look like, what her mind should worry about. It mirrors how much I’ve had to rethink what childhood should be.
Like Jack, Ms. H struggled with a classroom environment where she was both ostracized and bored. And while I’ve always championed her right to free play, who knew that her tribe would ultimately be found in Wild Child‘s Nerdy Naturalists program – where she gets to play in the woods AND discuss the correlation between testosterone production and the agression and mating behavior of elephant seals (that was today).
I so profoundly love my child, quirks and all. And by loving the whole package — not just the sweet girl who dances in the living room, but the girl who does the intense questioning, makes the mental leaps, and reads the college textbook on fetal development — I love a person different than what society expects from a child.
Here’s to childhood — whether it’s celebrated in the woods, on the playground, or at a University lecture hall.