Trust the Fall

I have a new game with our 7 month old son. It’s a falling game. And I realized yesterday that it is not only a great metaphor for unschooling, it is an example of it.

Here’s what I do: First, I take a big, fluffly comforter and pile it up on the floor. Then, I stand in the middle of it and stand Wesley up next to me. He holds onto my legs and keeps himself upright. Then, either accidentally or purposefully, he lets go. He falls any number of directions and I say, “Bonk!” and start laughing and clapping. He joins in with laughing. He thinks falling is one of the most fun things he has ever done.

Here is how it is a metaphor. It is not easy for a parent to let their child fall. I have to stop my innate reaction of trying to catch him. I literally have to stand there and watch my baby fall. The first few times we did this, I just knew he was going to start crying. But, he never did. This seven-month old baby laughs. It doesn’t scare him.  It doesn’t hurt him.  It thrills him. In the same way, parents have to let their kids go and trust the fall. It is SO difficult. We’re pretty sure that we can direct them better and help them sit down softly. But, they need that thrill. They need the danger of being  on their own. And, they need to be trusted.

Secondly, Wesley now is not afraid of falling in whatever circumstance he’s in. He knows that the best way is to fall to his bottom first, and not just keel straight over. By allowing him to fall on his own and turning it into a game, we have allowed him to learn the best way to fall. In the same way, once we trust our kids and trust the process of “falling” (i.e. unschooling), we free them to learn more. They find the process exhilarating, not tedious.

I hope that my son grows to seek out adventure and thrills. That can mean following a passion for surfing or a love of writing.  If we as parents can actually, honestly trust our kids and this process of unschooling, I believe they are capable of astounding us.

Trackback URL

, ,

6 Comments on "Trust the Fall"

  1. Idzie
    03/11/2009 at 2:17 pm Permalink

    That is a wonderful metaphor for unschooling! I love your take on things, and am really enjoying reading your blog. Keep it up!


  2. Cheryl
    03/11/2009 at 3:08 pm Permalink

    Ironically, when most people think of “letting their kids go,” it’s to school, where they fall into the waiting hands of strangers. If we’re keeping our kids at home, people believe, we’re not letting them go. This view is backwards, however, because the truth is that most people don’t trust themselves to raise their kids, (or their kids to raise themselves). They think they need a cushion of experts. We unschoolers, on the other hand, are really letting our kids go — to fall into the unknown (while we stand by if needed). This takes true faith, and true trust in oneself and one’s children.

  3. Cassi
    03/11/2009 at 11:54 pm Permalink

    Well put, Cheryl.

    And, thanks Idzie. I enjoy your blog too! 🙂

  4. Stella
    07/11/2009 at 8:39 pm Permalink

    I’m a random person, randomly commenting, but I just had to say that I LOVE this post!


  1. uberVU - social comments 04/11/2009 at 4:01 am

    Social comments and analytics for this post... This post was mentioned on Twitter by unschoolmommy: How is education like falling?…

  2. [...] we must keep them safe. I touched on this idea in my post about falling. We want them to…

Hi Stranger, leave a comment:


<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Subscribe to Comments
Unschooling Blogs
Powered By Ringsurf