Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Update on Shema

It's been 9 days since Elazar got his tablet.  He has read about 30 lines of Shema and has about 15 to go.  Which means he's been averaging about 3.3 hours a day of tablet.  He has unlimited access to it during the day.  I mentioned already that I was feeling mildly uncomfortable with pushing him like this when he clearly has enough skills to be able to pick it up quickly when he will actually want to become a halacha-abiding Jew, which will hopefully be as his bar mitzva approaches.

So I've been straddling 2 ideals here.  On one hand,  I am drawn to the ideal of him learning to read when he is the one motivated, and I don't love the idea of external motivation (ie "bribery" or "incentive") because it implies that tablet is the "good," and not reading.
On the other hand, he doesn't mind it; he's been reading happily enough.  And I think it's important that desired things (like a tablet) are not achieved without effort and without a sense of working for them, so as to minimize spoiling and a sense of entitlement.  And I like to try to associate them with chagim or a siyum.

So since I made reading Shema a prerequisite to his official ownership of his tablet, and since he is not finding it painful, I am sticking to it.

But one of the things I noticed the more I unschool, is that what other people talk about, "feeling good about his accomplishment" or the benefit of him "feeling proud of himself that he did it" almost feels foreign to me and not like something I want to strive for.  I don't feel great when Elazar reacts with pride when I compliment him for his reading.  Or when he feels accomplished that he is reading when he isn't the one who wanted to get better at reading.  It feels different to me than the utter joy and natural delight that emerges when he does it because he wants to do it in pursuit of his inner calling.  I think the learning that results from him wanting to know or wanting to do has a different quality; not only is it acquired more efficiently and with a different type of joy, but I think it resides differently in his heart and mind.

I know, what about responsibility and perseverance?  I've discussed it.

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