Obsession, however, is not education. We cannot control every situation that a child may experience. Here it remains true that “time is greater than space”. In other words, it is more important to start processes than to dominate spaces. If parents are obsessed with always knowing where their children are and controlling all their movements, they will seek only to dominate space. But this is no way to educate, strengthen and prepare their children to face challenges. What is most important is the ability lovingly to help them grow in freedom, maturity, overall discipline and real autonomy. Only in this way will children come to possess the wherewithal needed to fend for themselves and to act intelligently and prudently whenever they meet with difficulties. The real question, then, is not where our children are physically, or whom they are with at any given time, but rather where they are existentially, where they stand in terms of their convictions, goals, desires and dreams. The questions I would put to parents are these: “Do we seek to understand ‘where’ our children really are in their journey? Where is their soul, do we really know? And above all, do we want to know?”When I first read this, I couldn't get it out of my head. One sentence in particular, stood out.
In other words, it is more important to start processes than to dominate spaces.
As a father of five boys, the struggle with finding that line between holding on and letting go is real. Fortunately, my wife and I have always approached parenting through the lens of "we are preparing them to leave." However, it doesn't make the struggle any less difficult.
It didn't take very long for my thoughts to extend to education in general. So much of what we do dominates student spaces instead of helping them start processes. And even if we "start processes," they're all too often processes we, the adults, determine to be important.
How do we help students determine their own processes?
How do we help them strengthen their own voice?
How often do we pretend to help students start a process when really we're just masking the ridiculous game of "guess what I'm thinking" that we'll publicly reject, but privately use as a default setting?
Questions? I have many. Answers? Not so much.
But that's my process.