Simplicity Monday

Here in the United States, we are entering the official start of summer with the celebration of Memorial Day.  I find this time of year a great time to take stock of my home.

What needs to be decluttered and gone through over the summer before school starts?

How can I streamline errands?

How can I get costs down on  necessary items, such as food?

One way I declutter is to sit down with a calendar at the beginning of the summer, pencil in days for vacations and day trips we want to take, and then pencil in what areas in my home need attention on certain dates.  I have the garage on my list, plus the school room and other areas.

Recently,  I have been attempting to streamline errands by Continue reading

Sunday Books: “Completing The Circle”

Today is another look at the wonderful book “Completing The Circle” by Thomas Poplawski and available as a free ebook.  Today’s chapter is about “Children and Sports: Finding A Balance”, which is an area in which I have some personal experience with my own children and what we have found to work and not work.

The hurried child syndrome has extended to the world of sports. In a world where children often played pick ups games unsupervised by any adult for long periods of time, the sporting realm has now turned into teams organized and run  by adults, with adult rules of play, uniforms and other realms of organization that used to be relegated until the high school level.  This I can attest from my own personal experience.

Poplawski writes the following, which is also something I have personally seen as a pediatric physical therapist: Continue reading

Links You Have To Read

This is a really important article about suicide and how we all can help in this epidemic:  http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2013/05/22/why-suicide-has-become-and-epidemic-and-what-we-can-do-to-help.html  .  It really goes well with the book I am currently reading, “The Optimistic Child” by Martin E. Seligman.  I hope we go can through this book on my blog on “Sunday Books” after we finish the book, “Completing the Circle”.

Here is something that has been inspiring me lately:  Continue reading

Protecting Your Children From Low Self-Esteem

I am back after a few days of visiting Tybee Island in Georgia with my family and some members of our homeschool group.  It was a lovely trip, and we got to take classes through the 4-H center there that really highlighted the very unique ecosystems in Georgia’s barrier islands.

One thing I have been reading during the drive to and from our vacation spot was  “The Optimistic Child:  A Proven Program to Safeguard Children Against Depression And Build Lifelong Resilience” by Martin P. Seligman, PhD.  This book is really fascinating, and I was interested in reading it mainly due to this quote:  “  As puberty approaches, your child’s theory of the world crystalizes.  She may now be pessimistic, passive and introverted.  As the routine but painful rejections and failures of puberty start, depression reaches alarming proportions.  Almost one-third of contemporary  thirteen-year-olds have marked depressive symptoms, and by the time they finish high school almost 15 percent have had an episode of major depression.”

Grabs you, doesn’t it?

Anyway, one chapter that was very interesting in this book was the chapter on self-esteem and Dr. Seligman’s theory that “By emphasizing how a child feels, at the expense of what a child does – mastery, persistence, overcoming frustration and boredom – and meeting challenge – parents and teachers are making this generation of children more vulnerable to  depression.”

In Dr. Seligman’s view, people who suffer from depression  have four kinds of challenges including behavioral (passive, indecisive, helpless); emotional (sad); somatic (disruption of sleep and eating) and cognitive (they are not worthy of anything and their life is not worth living).  Only the last part, the cognitive part of depression, can be tied to self esteem because in Dr. Seligman’s view even those who feel badly about themselves does not lead directly to causing failure in life.  However, the belief that problems will last forever and ever causes children to give up trying, which leads to failure, which does lead to self esteem being lowered.

Instead of trying to teach a child how to “feel good” about themselves, or setting up situations in which a child never fails, Dr. Seligman advocates an approach held by many psychologists called “doing well” (in place of “feeling well”).  In this approach, children are  taught to change how they think about failure, to be encouraged to be tolerant of frustration, and to have their persistence rewarded rather than just  their success.

In other words, Dr. Seligman has targeted five areas in which children need our help:

1.  To help our children live for something bigger than themselves.  The more a child believes (or an adult) that “I am all that matters” of course, the more blows will hurt.  Things such as religion, duty to the nation, community, family used to be buffers against depression, in Dr. Seligman’s view and in the view of many in the psychology community,  and now we need to figure out what to do when “self has become all important”.

2.  To not rescue our children from negative feelings.  Dr. Seligman writes, “ But feeling bad has critical uses, and all of them are needed for learning optimism and for escaping helplessness.”

3.  To help our children deal with frustration and challenge.

4.  To help our children learn to deal with overcoming helplessness.  “Any complicated task your child might undertake consists of several steps, each of which is more or less easy to fail at. “  If your child fails at a subset, the child can learn to give up and leave the situation, which becomes learned helplessness.  Or your child can stay in the situation and act and try to change the situation, which eventually becomes mastery.  Children need to fail.  If we protect our children from failure, then we deny them the chance for mastery.

5. To set clear limits and enforce those limits for our children.  “The more freedom the child had, the lower his self-esteem.”

Interesting read, with more to come.

Blessings,

Carrie

The Mood of Celebration–Part Two

I have had numerous requests to share my little monthly lists.  I am happy to share one with you, but I am not sure it will be of service to you other than to provide an example.  This is because these lists are very specific to my Anglican faith, and also to the seasonal changes within the climate and area of the country in which I live, and also to what I have available locally regarding celebration in food, events and  place.

For me, the weaving of the natural and the liturgical year is common to our family. So, to plan, the first thing I literally do is get out My Book of Common Prayer and find out when things such as Lent, Easter and Ascension are, Feast Days of Saints, and things that I just know from tradition within my Parish that happen each year.  I also try to think in terms of attending the Divine Liturgy itself, but  also what speaks to that particular season through nature because that is where  I can more show my children in our home what ties this whole season back to the Holy Trinity.

For example, the days between Easter and Pentecost, (when we celebrate when the church was born), is a time I like to think about family.  We are part of the family of humanity, we are part of the family of the Church, if we make a birthday cake for the church on Pentecost, what could we be doing to talk about the Church and family and us as the broader picture of Anglicans around the globe to lead up to this?  (Please remember that I have older children as well, so things are more direct for them than just the indirectness that goes on for a tiny child under the age of nine!)   The idea of family, of living in communion,  is a huge concept, but there are indirect ways to do this.  Or, for another example,  how about the days after Pentecost as a time of growth?  There are many sweet picture books about nature and growth to have in a book basket, many ways to experience a beautiful garden and how we grow as Christians.  These are just a few examples.

The second thing I do is just start making free form lists with what I associate with each month – bonfire?  certain foods?  certain events in our community? certain craft  or handwork projects?  certain songs?  I get out my memories, my notes from previous years, my Early Years books and make lists.

Then I can take these ideas and plug them into a monthly rhythm and a weekly rhythm.

So, here is an example for you, but you really need to sit down and do this for yourself.  I don’t mean this harshly, but if creating a family culture is important to you, if Waldorf homeschooling is important to you, then you will try to do your own lists after you see this example.  You must be a person of initiative in order to have this be true to your own family.

So, here is my list, for example, for September: Continue reading

The Mood of Celebration

I think one of the main things that we can give our small children is a sense of life as a celebration.  I don’t mean an all-out wild party, the way we often think of celebrating today, but a mood of joy,  a mood of anticipation and wonder and a happy feeling that we are at one with nature and the world.  A mood of celebration in the small child fosters a sense of unity and commonality with nature and others.

Ideally, once you have gone through cycles of celebration with the small child, with its wonder, anticipation and joy, these cycles will continue throughout the life of the people in the family and become an embedded part of that family;s particular culture. Continue reading