Thursday, November 19, 2009

What's the worst that can happen?

In my previous life BC (before child), one of my roles was as network manager for our company's computer networks. As part of that role, I had to create Risk Assessment documents - think of anything that could go wrong with the network, decide what impact it would have, and come up with a plan to put in place in the event it happened. (And yes, it was as boring as it sounds lol).

I'm finding myself using the same skills trying to parent a child like Billy. He is constantly coming up with grandiose schemes, and while my first instinct is always to say "no", I'm trying to do what I can do to turn that into a "yes". So I'm trying to train myself to go through a "risk assessment" in my mind - what's the worst thing that can happen if I say yes? Or can I come up with a scaled down version that we're both comfortable with?

Take his current scheme. In the car on the way home from the library the other day, he decided he could set up a library himself so anyone could borrow our books. Hmmmm... We talked through some of the problems (if its open to anyone, we don't know whether the people will return the books or take care of them, what if the people who came to the house were robbers etc) and that was the end of the conversation. So I thought...

Today he grabbed the label maker & some cardboard so he could start setting up his library. He'd narrowed the idea down to just people we knew in the neighbourhood. Ok, I'm more comfortable but I'm still not that much of a fan of lending out my books.. In the end we compromised on a few of his friends and they could borrow his books. Part of me is still screaming Noooooo though.

So what's the worst that can happen?
* the books will get ruined and / or not returned - I know all of the families he's going to tell about it. I'm pretty sure they'd take care of the books. Most of his books are second hand anyway so it's not really a big deal. I'll try to persuade him to not to lend out his good or special books.
* no-one will borrow any - not a problem for me, but he'd be disappointed. Well, that's one of life's lessons learnt in a gentle way.
* people will think we're weird - hmmm, we're already the weird, homeschooling family. I think we've got that one covered..

So nothing really that would warrant me saying no. Just that it's not what you'd expect someone to do. It's amazing how many times it seems to come down to this for me. All my life (well, as much as I can remember of it), I've tried to fit in, not stand out, be one of the crowd. Its a complete shock to me that I'm doing something as out of the norm as homeschooling. And to have a "weird" child - one who doesn't seem to even notice, let alone care, that they're standing out and doing something "odd" - is way outside my comfort level.

I'm betting I'd better get used to it though. Something tells me its just the beginning!


libby said...

Hi Kerrie,

This reminds me of my girls - they often come up with weird schemes and such that I'm not real comfortable with and think no one else will like the idea. Often they just peeter out and the girls forget about it. It's really great Billy wants to share his things :-).


Butterfly said...

Well, at least you can take comfort that in our homeschool circle, it seems that being an exception to the norm IS the norm! We're all non-conformists in some way, and people seem to celebrate those differences. I often wished I was a little less normal, as I thought I was boring. Doesn't look like Billy will have that issue!

Stuff On My Blog said...

I struggle with turning no's into yes's too! How cool that he's making his very own library though.. rather industrious little guy :)

Louise said...

what a gorgeous kid he must be- my 2 have way out wacky ideas as well, some can happen, some can't- that is another life lesson.
Within our homeschool group there is a lot of book lending going on and a library system would be a great idea for keeping track of them.
Great work Billy

Suji said...

Not weird at all...just fiercely individual and unique. I think it's a rocking idea though I would completely freak out too if A wanted to lend my (or even his) books.

Anonymous said...

Great post! My son has had a few of those schemes too. Maybe we should take it as a sign of confidence! :)

Kylie said...

oh that's my daughter to a tee. I also have to work very very hard at not saying no all of the time. Can't wait to her how the library turns out.