This episode, Letting Go of Expectations, is based on an email James received in response to a blog post he wrote elsewhere. The email brought up some great questions on expectations we set for our children that we dive into on this episode.

The emailer wonders how she would have picked up being such a great writer had she not been required to learning how to write as a child.

In self-directed learning, we allow our children to choose what is meaningful to them and what they want to spend their time investing in. This allows them to develop the skills that are most desirable to them as they see fit.

Did the emailer become a writer because she became proficient at it in school? Had she spent time doing things of her choice as a child, would she have developed other skills that may have changed her life? How different would her life have been? Would it have been happier? Not as happy? Wealthier? Not as wealthy? We can’t know.

We will never know the outcome if we had sent our kids to more traditional educational paths, but we also can’t know what skills will be marketable or desirable in the future as fast as things change in today’s world. Cursive writing was an important skill when we were kids. It is no longer an important skill.

If writing was something that the emailer was passionate about, she may have still found her way to writing, as she would have spent time on that skill because of her passion. In self-directed learning, she would have been given the freedom to do that as she saw fit.

When you choose self-directed learning, your children will constantly surprise you with their choices. It seems less likely that any expectations we have will be fulfilled in this manner, but that is ok.

What’s more important? Having a well-rounded child, or having a relationship with your children that is meaningful and cherished? These are not always mutually-exclusive, but they certainly can be if you’re not careful.

Thanks for listening!

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