I remember the day that Lil got a favorite color. Someone asked her what her favorite color was. She replied that she likes several different colors and did not have a favorite. The very opinionated person explained that everyone has to have a favorite. It’s part of being human. Lilith was wearing pink that day so she decided that her favorite color was pink. I was very annoyed with the person for pressing her and for presenting opinion as fact. The fact that Lil chose pink only added insult to injury since it was obviously gender stereotyping that I did not appreciate. Lilith was happy to be a participant in a social custom that was new to her, she was also happy with pink. We both survived the moment and over the next year Lilith learned to appreciate several different shades of pink. She settled on a vibrant hot pink as her absolute favorite. I thought I was stuck with this color for the next ten years. I was quite surprised the next when she announced her new favorite color. Red. Over the next year, we spent time discovering and noticing shades of red everywhere in the world around us. Maroon, bright red, brick red, by the end of the year a very dark maroon won out as the color of the year. This year started out blue. The color of clouds. It has evolved to teal, more closely related to green than blue, but in the same family. I love the journey into color exploration and I have taken a serious lesson away from this experience.
When the person presented the idea of favorite color to Lilith I was annoyed with their creating a social box for her to live in. I did not realize what was actually happening. The person was displaying a box for me to step out of. My perspective was stuck in a set of ideas that I have. I assumed that Lil would live in the same box, but in actuality the person only presented a more in-depth exploration of color for her and for me. I don’t think the person did it on purpose. I think that unschooling creates a system for receiving information and interpreting in a way that leads to more exploration. Instead of receiving information and assimilating it into your being (this process ends when you become an adult or finish your “education”), unschooling means receiving information and exploring the details, unencumbered by a prerequisite set of rules given by a teacher or parent.