Forcing Spring

This is a followup to the blueberry post I recently wrote.  In fact, what I wrote below was in response to an unschooling question back in January of 2006:

Someone wrote:

What about strewing for learning to read? My son is always asking me “What does that say?” and “How do you spell xxx?” I’ve read about labeling things around the house (like table, chair, computer, etc); is that some of the strewing I can do for learning to read/spell?

To answer her question, I wrote this:

I think just answering his questions lovingly and quickly and letting him (trusting him) to connect the dots and get that process happening in his head. I think I would ask him if he would like things labeled, since that kind of stuff can definitely irritate my son. He might like it, but I think it’s better (more respectful) to ask. We can force our kids to learn stuff, but it’s way better to allow reading (and everything) to unfold for them when they’re ready, and then they’ll do it!

I just thought of this analogy:

forsythia_s1In the wintertime, you can go outside and clip off a piece of your forsythia bush. You can bring it into the house, stick it in a glass of water, and you can “force” it to bloom. But, it’s not really ready to bloom, and eventually the flowers will drop off.  Just because the flowers blossomed, that doesn’t mean it’s spring, as it usually does when you see yellow flowers on a forsythia.  No green leaves will pop out, no photosynthesis will take place, and the plant will not grow. And, you had to chop off that piece of the foliage, which would have bloomed in its own time anyway when the time was right if you had only just left it alone.

~Marji, who just witnessed this amazing phenomenon first-hand with her 11½-year-old son who just this year connected the dots and can now read stuff. Truly magical!!

P.S. I’m not saying that you, yourself, are forcing your son or pushing him in anyway. I’m just expanding on the question a little.

P.P.S. We got this cool set of magnetized words a long time ago, and put them on the front of the refrigerator. We have a lot of fun rearranging them in crazy ways (“Don’t sit on my cheesy moose”). That could be an example, I suppose, of strewing for reading, but we just do it ’cause it’s fun. I also suppose if you pick up things that you think he might be interested in reading, that would be cool, too, as long as you understood that he might not be interested in it at all and that would be okay.

Seems funny to post something on the fourth of August in the northern hemisphere about forcing springtime, but there you go.

Thanks for reading!


Be well and be kind,


Marji Zintz, CTACC
The Peaceful Parenting Whisperer
Helping heal and transform parent-child relationships and general life coaching
Office:  845 – 657 – 3111


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