One thing I notice when I'm around my Sonlighting friends is how much they talk with their children.
When, for example, the 10-year-old comes up to ask a question, my friend pauses the conversation and she and her son interact. Her son matters. He has value.
I also have watched Sonlight parents explain things to their children, spontaneously, because the world is interesting. A few examples from the grocery store. When faced with the number of eggs and the various labels: what does it all mean?
Most hens live in cages. This keeps them safe, and keeps the eggs from being expensive, but it's not very comfortable. So some people don't want eggs from hens in cages. Those eggs are "cage-free." The hens might live inside their whole lives, but they are more free to wander around. "Free-range" means pretty much the same thing, although they have a door in the wall, so they could go outside, though maybe a fan keeps them from wanting to. The most expensive eggs are "pasture-raised." It is nice for birds to be able to eat grass and bugs, but it is also dangerous for them, as they can be picked off by hawks, or eaten by foxes. And the label "vegetarian feed" means that the hens were always inside, hens eat bugs. The only way to make sure that they do not eat bugs, is to keep them away from bugs, by keeping them indoors. "Natural" means nothing, because every single product on Earth comes from something on Earth. It's all "natural," even cotton candy! " Organic" means that the feed and care followed a specific set of instructions: no hormones, no genetically modified feed, no automatic antibiotics in the feed.
And then, in produce. . . .
I think I'd like a watermelon. Do you know how to choose a watermelon? You knock on it to make sure it sounds hollow, and then pick one that is heavier than you'd expect for its size. I read, too, that it should have a yellow spot, which means that it ripened in the field (the yellow spot is where it rested on the ground). I don't know if I've ever seen one without a yellow spot, but maybe we'll find one today!
Of course, not every trip to the grocery store is filled with great educational moments. But the world is interesting, and we, as parents, get to share it with our children. And because we Sonlighters spend part of our days interacting with our children, and learning together, there is always more to talk about.
I appreciate that I can talk with my boys about everything from nutrition to inappropriate touching, from the origin of life to what we liked most about the latest Pixar film. And because we've also read about a wide range of topics, even the most difficult topics don't feel (too) embarrassing. Those topics are just part of education.
This is something that I see in the Sonlighters I know, and I suspect it's true of you, too. You engage with your children. You talk with them because they are real people.
I love how much Sonlighters talk with their children. Thank you for doing that.