I never want to be that parent who pushes her own childhood likes, hobbies, dreams, and pasttimes onto her children. I would never force any of them to play an instrument just because I enjoyed it. I would never make Tegan take gymnastics lessons against her will to make up for my own failure to realize my Olympic dreams. Some of the beauty of unschooling is recognizing that your children are their own people, with their own interests, their own passions, and their own dreams. I introduce them to as many opportunities as I can, but in the end it's their decision: whether they want to dabble, to try it once and never again, to explore it every day for the rest of their lives, or to never explore it at all. They may share some of my loves.... and they may share none of them. They may introduce me to things I never knew I'd love as well. Either way, I will be their facilitator, their cheerleader, and their biggest supporter.
One of the great things about being their parent though is that I do get to introduce them to things I once enjoyed myself. What they do with it is up to them, but if they enjoy it too.... well, any time you can share joy with your child is a good thing indeed. Yesterday I had an opportunity to share with them one of my greatest childhood joys:
Spencer loves horses and was happy to go, but didn't want to ride. Paxton decided to join us on the trail ride, and was really looking forward to it.
At six, Everett just made the age cut-off for the trail ride, but chose to start off with something a little less intimidating than an hour long trek through the desert.
And Tegan was thrilled with the chance to ride a horse, and didn't even have an objection to the required helmet (she'd really been hoping to wear a cowboy hat)
Horseback riding played such a huge role in my childhood, and re-living it caused such a heady rush of emotions that I could have wept right there in the middle of the desert. The smell of the leather, the creak of the saddle, the little grunty noises the horse made when it went up hills. The swish of the tail, the clop-clop-clop of the feet picking their way around the rocks. Bliss.
Paxton's horse was two ahead of mine, and I couldn't really tell by the back of his head if he was enjoying himself or not. So I was glad when my sister relayed his first comment to me: "The only way today could get any better was if we got to take the horse home with us at the end."
All four truly enjoyed themselves, and it made my heart happy to see it. I'm glad I got to share such a wonderful memory with them, even if just for a day. Will any of them become future full-time equestrians because of it? Probably not. And that's ok.