Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Live & Learn 2008

Live and Learn was so great this year! Steffi and I came away with new friends, new ideas, and a deep sense of Peace, Love, Free!

One of Steffi's (and my) favorite artists is Amy Steinberg and she kicked off the conference with an incredible concert. After the concert we got to hang out with Amy and some of our favorite unschoolers. Steffi sat side by side with Amy for about an hour, eating M&M and chatting with one of her favorite artists. She was so excited!

A month or so ago I had contacted Amy to ask permission for Steffi to sing her song, Always, at the talent show. By the time we got to L&L, Steffi was seriously doubting herself and was thinking she wouldn't sing after all. I mentioned that to Amy and they had a great conversation about doing things that are scary and how amazing it feels to do it anyway. After Amy's pep-talk and Scott Noelle's "Unschooling Your Voice" funshop, Steffi got up the courage to do it - but only if she got to do it really early in the show. Luckily, I had the inside track to the MC (Steve locked him out of our house in May, so I have a lot of pull with Broc! HA) and got her set up to be sixth. She got up there and belted it out - a capella! She was so confident, you would never know it was her first time on stage.

Aside from seeing my baby take her first major step toward realizing her dream of being a pop star, I had several other highlights. The first, learning to take my digital SLR off "auto" (and actually getting some great shots) thanks to super grandpa, TJ from Louisiana. Second, learning what I need to do to move from a stuck relationship to a rich, loving relationship with my DH - thanks to Beth Fuller and her Peaceful Partnerships presentation. Third, thanks to Cameron Lovejoy and Brenna McBroom, coming to the big unschooling ah-ha that our kids who are younger than about 12-13 seem so much younger than their mainstream peers, but our kids who are over about 13 seem so much more mature than their mainstream peers. I believe that, because we help them have a true, free childhood, they are able to truly know themselves and develop a sense of self that is hard to develop when you are rushed to grow up.

Of course, the main highlight of L&L is the people. This year was both better and worse in that the relationships were deeper, but there is this sense of not knowing when we'll see each other again. I feel an ache in my gut from missing these amazing, respectful, honest, authentic people. They are family to me. Better than family - they are the people I would choose as family if I could choose. They fill me with love and peace and joy so deep, it carries me for months. Unfortunately they live in FL, SC, TN, CA, MA... I want to thank Kelly for bringing all these incredible people together! My life would not be as rich or centered without my L&L experiences.

This was my third L&L and each one has made me a better parent, a better advocate, and a much better person. I will miss this annual filling of my tank more than I can say.


Ren said...

We joke that it's a big, weird family. That ache of missing everyone keeps me focused on how to build an intentional community. Baby steps.:)
It was so good to see you again!

piscesgrrl said...

It was great to meet you Joni! Not many places where we feel like family after knowing people for such a short time, but L&L was one of them. Can't wait for the next opportunity to gather. :)

Can't believe you got to hang with Amy Steinberg - lucky!!

FLO said...

We miss you, too! Just think of all those cool far-flung places you can visit to crash with friends. You're welcome here anytime- I'm looking forward to seeing you again, even if it's not until next Sept. ;) I so enjoyed our time together.

laura said...

it was our very first conference!! and it was awesome. i'm so glad i got to meet you and witness steffi's first time on stage!!! i love your authenticity and intelligence...something i am finding is common among unschoolers. maybe we'll meet again one day!