Homeschooling our daughters offered as much liberation and possibility to my and my husband’s lives as it did our daughters. By stepping away from convention and researching the things that were most meaningful to each of us, we allowed experimentation to be key when it came to personal preferences and purpose.
Essential to nurturing those ideals is honoring and noting the unique qualities each of us have and adding an element of wonder as to what else might be possible.
One of the first books I’d come across when considering the homeschool option was Peter Kline’s The Everyday Genius where I found exercises that supported that ideal. Since then, I’ve used one of my favorite ones, The Birthday Circle. I’ve modified this to use in all kinds of scenarios, from board rooms to nursing homes and everywhere in between.
If you’d like to use this powerful and fun “game” with elders, here’s the basic premise:
Say something affirmative and sincere about the person you are interested in uplifting. Be clear on the rules that the person extolling these sentiments is not qualifying them with a negative. For instance “We’ve had some really rough times, but now I want to share with you what I like”. Nor may it be used to diminish the giver as in “I wish I could sing as good as you”. It’s about the person in the center, without comparisons or judgment. You can begin with an opening statement as a prompt, if you choose, such as “What I appreciate about you is______”.