Wheel or No Wheel – which path will my kids take in their life

Sand Dunes

I love my kids, and I feel everything I do is for them. And no I’m not talking about picking up after them, making their beds and generally being their food and drink waiter. I’m talking about the seeds I sow now, will hopefully reap rewards and guide them through the rest of their lives; purposely these seeds are not planted in rows.

My life became unstructured when my mum got sick and my sister and I fended for ourselves for a while, albeit illegally in the eyes of the law as technically we shouldn’t have been by ourselves as minors. I wasn’t really old enough to understand what was going on and I have my sister to thank for keeping us together. Thanks sis.

I think that’s the time I fell out of life’s wheel. Things changed from that point on and I’m not sure I fully recovered into normality. ( I couldn’t ride a bike until I was fifteen and couldn’t swim until I was twenty three) Which of course isn’t a bad thing, just different. It turns out people are experiencing life more like me, as marriages just don’t last anymore, and money is seemingly more scare in these post GFC times. Maybe I was an early adopter of this type of upbringing.

The gift I give to my kids is to expose them to as many different opportunities as I can, regardless if it’s deemed appropriate learning for their age. I recognize their brains are like sponges and whose to say they aren’t ready yet. My five year old starts pre-school this week and although she can’t read English yet, it didn’t stop me from teaching her to read a little Chinese first.

We are currently working through the Chineasy Flashcards [NLL] and we are all picking it up relatively easily. No doubt her English comprehension will accelerate in the next few months but it’s not going to hurt learning a few hundred words from another language. Chineasy associates the words/characters to pictures for easy recollection, which is exactly how they start teaching English now with an ever expanding list of site words.

Chinese person characterEnglish Person Word
Chinese just seems a lot easier to translate to a visual image than english

On the school holidays my seven year old and I built a printer/plotter using the Lego Mindstorms Kit [NLL] and even though the box says 10+ who am I to judge. I worked though the concepts of telling the plotter how to draw a house and my daughter keyed her first program. She might not be a programmer in her future life, but at least she knows it’s an option.

We have also talked through the idea of selling Lego pieces in an online shop and I think she is just waiting for me to get her started. Although she might be a little disappointed by the lack of initial sales, I’ll talk her through inventory, marketing and price points when she is ready. Her sister’s creative mind might lead her down the MOC Lego path so they might make good business partners. Again, my expectations are low so it’s more about discovering that opportunities like these exist.

Perhaps she is ready for her own Youtube channel, and I am gathering equipment to make that possible if she chooses to use her extroverted nature in this way.

Last year my seven year old was still working through reading levels and progressing better than average, but during these holidays I mentioned I had a collection of ‘Famous Five’ adventure novels for her to read. I read this series as a child and she asked to look at one. Before I new it she started reading and wasn’t asking me about the many difficult words, I was amazed because I thought she wouldn’t have been ready for at least another few years. I was wrong and she has now finished half of the book.

Contrast this to the education route that their Mother has in store. It’s all about the education, which schools, and no doubt, which university and possibly the dream of completing an MBA like their mum. A person that reminds me that she has always worked through her life, and has been paid by work even when she wasn’t working. A person that has always known the wheel, and who knows might actually be in the 15% that actually enjoys it.

Regardless of our parenting differences our children will need to discover their own path in life. My offering is more like a choose your own adventure, the other choice is guided and perhaps mis-guided for the new connected age we live in. Only time will tell if looking for answers from the future is better than following the old ways of the past.

I’ll check back periodically to update you on their progress, but my mission is to make life outside the wheel compelling enough to never start in it.

So which do you think they’ll choose ‘Wheel or No-Wheel’ ?

(There could be a game show idea brewing in that name)

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