Links to Change How You Think

 

Here are a few lovely links to start your week.  This one is about the danger of  children specializing in sports at a young age with many supporting references:

http://changingthegameproject.com/is-it-wise-to-specialize/

 

It is planning time for homeschoolers, and many of the Waldorf homeschooling Facebook groups are full of threads about choosing curriculum.  So, I  love this post from Rachel over at Ducks in the Pond for her reminder that YOU are the curriculum.  In Waldorf Education, YOU are the teacher and the guide.  YOU matter.   YOU are the curriculum.   Here is that post:  http://ducksinthepond.com/2014/03/20/therealcurriculuminawaldorfhomeschool/

 

Reluctant cursive writer?  Try Sheila’s post over at Sure As the World: http://sureastheworld.com/2014/03/25/cursive-writing/

 

Lisa’s post here about pulling in children closer when they are having challenges is spot on: http://www.celebratetherhythmoflife.com/2014/03/pull-them-in-closer.html

 

Many blessings,
Carrie

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Twenty-Five

 

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you: potential. Read on for more

I recently attended a breastfeeding conference where the speaker talked about a “three step intervention model” for counseling breastfeeding mothers from the standpoint of a solutions model.  The three steps were:  relationship building, goal setting, and developing strategies.

By looking at this series of posts, perhaps you started off with a goal in your mind. Perhaps it was to take your home that you felt was filled with strife, a home that was not yet peaceful and turn it over.  Perhaps your goal was to reduce even your occasional yelling.  Perhaps your goal was to attune more deeply into your own needs.  We often have to start with the end in mind in order to affect any real change, and the first step is to acknowledge that real change is needed and wanted.  Is real change something you feel can do?

Hopefully this series has give you a lot of inspiration in terms of building relationships with not only your children, but also with your deepest and most intimate self.  Building rapport with our children, and building on the strength of our children and the strengths within ourselves are huge steps toward being able to overcome a struggle with anger and yelling.

Lastly, we have to develops strategies.  How will we achieve our goals?  To whom are we responsible?  In the very beginning of this series, I talked about enlisting an accountability partner.  This is very important! 

The reason we think about these things is that anger and yelling zaps the POTENTIAL of our families.  It takes rapport and empathy out of the picture.  It gives a distorted picture of the human soul to our children. 

And it really isn’t enough to just “not yell”.  Yelling is an outward manifestation of an inward spirit of anger, of frustration, of unmet needs.  It has often been said that communication is only about 30 percent verbal and the rest of communication is non-verbal cues.  What energy are you giving off in your non-verbal cues?  Anger zaps the potential of our own selves, our best selves.

There are certain things that we would NEVER do.  What if anger was one of those things that we just would NEVER do?  What would that look like and how could we get there?

We have only a few days (six!) left in this series and I hope to leave you with some strategies and inspiration for long-standing positive change.

 

More to come and many blessings,
Carrie

March: Time To Plan!

 

I wrote a little note about planning for homeschooling back around Candlemas.  You can see that post here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2014/02/04/time-to-plan/

 

This Lenten time is such a spiritual spring for the soul, and such a time for the birthing of possibilities.  In February’s planning post referenced above, I mentioned sitting down with a calendar and starting to plan start and end dates, and to really look at the festivals your family celebrates throughout the year.  I really urge you to do this now if you haven’t already.

Some people make a wheel and pencil in the major points of the year seasonally with the solstices and equinoxes and add in descriptors for other festivals and the months; some people take a large piece of paper and divide it into twelve months and write down the festivals and how the months make them feel.  I also suggest to  go through and make notes of how your children were during different  months and what you could plan as a family for everyone during the next school year as the “glue” that hold everyone together.  Were the children bouncing off the walls in January?  Did the children fight a lot with each other in May?  These things are so specific to your family and to the success of your homeschooling. 

I also recommend that you think back – did you take any field trips?  Did you spend as much time outside each day, week and month that you wanted to?  Did one point in the year end up being much busier and stressful than you thought it would be?  Why was that? What activities outside the home will you cut out or include this year?  What would be most helpful for your family?

Finally, after you think about the months from a seasonal perspective, a perspective of inner mood, and then from the perspective of your children and the overall energy level in the family, I ask that you look at the months from your own perspective.  Where was your self-care?  Did you do anything for yourself this entire school year?  Did you nurture yourself in any way by learning something new, doing something new artistically?  How did you feel holding the space in your homeschooling during different months?  What could be done differently in order to make you feel wonderful during your homeschool adventure?

These are the sorts of things to really think about because they help you make a plan.  If you want some things that are different for your family during this next school year, but keep doing the same things over and over, the outcome is not likely to change.

Observe, ponder prayerfully, and seek change with solutions.  It will come, and the answer is inside of you.

Many blessings and peace,

Carrie

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Twenty-Four

 

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you: eagle.   Read on for more

 

In my part of the country,  there has been much talk, affection and observation of the nesting bald eagle couple at Berry College in Rome, Georgia.  Eagles mate for life, and this wonderful eagle pair built a nest at Berry College in 2012.  For this nesting season, the couple returned in September of 2013.  An egg was laid on January 14, 2014 and eaglet B3 hatched on Saturday, February 22nd.  The Nest Cam has had over 7 million views, which is remarkable!   If you would like to see streaming video of B3 and his parents, you can see it here:  http://www.berry.edu/eaglecam/ 

 

I love the little descriptions sometimes provided about the eaglet.  On March 10, 2014, it was written, “The eaglet is fine.  B3 ate a lot and slept a lot today.  It also did some wing flaps and attempted steps around the nest.”

 

These simple moments in the lives of the  eagles remind me that family life does not have to be complicated.  Being with children does not have to be complicated.  Listen to the small voice you have inside of you.  You are the expert on your family. You can do things differently if you feel empowered to do so.  It takes some perseverance to change how we communicate, or to go back and work on our own reactions to things, but we can do it.

 

The eagles return year after year to the same nesting spot and fortify their nests with branches. Eagles’ nests are the largest of any North American bird, with some nests up to 13 feet deep and over 8 feet wide!  Just like the eagles, we can think of the strength we can bring to our families and how we build our families when we do the things that we know are right.  Loving each other, building strong relationships and caring for one another is always a sign of a strong family.  It is a family that does not need yelling or harsh words but  instead relies upon love and communication.  And in this way, we raise up the next generation to be strong, and to raise our grandchildren in this strong way.  The way of peace is full of simple moments and simple choices.  Choose love.

 

Many blessings,

Carrie

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Twenty-Three

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you:  constancy .   Read on for more

There are two ways I like to think of constancy in relation to discipline, and parents feeling even-keeled.  One is the constancy of being together.  One mother remarked the other day that since she pulled her child out of school and started homeschooling, they actually were getting along a lot better then they had before.  There was a lot less yelling in their home.  I think this is because constancy of the heart matters, and it is the heart of discipline and it is the heart of connecting and being together.  You don’t have to yell if you are relaxed and feeling joyful and as if things are going well.  These feelings come from being connected to those in your family, and I think yelling is actually a sign to pull our children in, to focus on our homes instead of the typical reaction of pushing away.

The other way I like to think of constancy is in how consistent we are being with following through.  Many mothers get upset and say they end up yelling because they asked the first five times and no one appeared to listen.  If you want to make a request, be constant in the follow through of walking up to your child, getting down and looking in your child’s eyes, and talking softly and respectfully.  That is constancy in communication at its best.

Many blessings,

Carrie

 

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Twenty-Two

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you:  quiet .   Read on for more

When our world is fast-paced, harried and stressed, it can not only be hard to hear ourselves over all of the physical and mental noise.  We can also become part of that harshness with our gestures, with our voice that is raised or yelling, with our impatience that our request to our children was not acted upon the first time we asked.

What would happen if moments of silence and quiet were taken in reverence?

What would happen if instead of yelling up the stairs for the children to come down and eat, that you walked up the stairs, got the attention of your children, looked them in the eye, and made your request quietly?

What would happen if you interspersed moments of quiet into your day – a lighting of a candle with a prayer at mealtimes, a pause for quiet stories or conversational exchanges or a lullaby at bedtime, a time to listen to the birds together in quiet, a time for quiet rest in the middle of the day?

If your home is a place of yelling, a way to decrease that is to increase how many moments of quiet are interspersed  in the day.  Stand in front of your children, look them in the eye, and speak softly to them.  It will become contagious for the whole house as the people in your home model your actions and behaviors.

Many blessings,
Carrie

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Twenty-One

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you:  expert.  Read on for more….

Yesterday I was doing a little light (LOL) reading in the book “Core Curriculum for Lactation Consultant Practice.”  I have to re-certify my IBCLC credentials this summer, and am trying to get  a jump start on a little review.  One of the sentences I came across was this one, “If research does not exist, expert opinion should guide practice.”

It really got me to thinking about another realm of my life – parenting, (and even homeschooling, too, but I will save that for later). When we feel as if things are amiss in our families, it is all too easy to assume someone else has the answer for us.  In this digital age of instant answer, it is easy to post a question and get instant responses.

But, perhaps the real deal is that if we really believed that we are the experts on our own families, if we really felt as if being the expert meant the key was within us, would we be so quick to post?  If we really had a guiding philosophy to our family and a way we wanted to approach things, wouldn’t we take a few moments and just meditate on what was going on in our lives for a few minutes each day?  Maybe if we did this for a week before firing off a question, we would have the answer within ourselves.

I am not disrespectful of the fact that mothers provide tremendous support to each other, and I am so very grateful for the mothers who have mentored me along the way.  Most of my mother mentors have come from La Leche League, but I also have had mentors that were dear friends and each brought a beautiful piece I needed in the season of life where I was.  Nearly all my mentoring has occurred in person, and I feel so extremely lucky that way.   There are some voices on the Internet that I have also learned an awful lot from, and am grateful for those women as well – Elizabeth Foss is one of my favorites, along with some of the wise mothers who have been in Waldorf homeschooling for a very long time.  But I am also grateful for my faith, for being quiet, and those moments where I really could discern the answer within myself.  I think we all need the time to hear the expert within us.

So, gather the information, but realize you must filter it through your own expert lens for your own family. If someone says something that completely grates on you, don’t immediately discount it.  Perhaps ask yourself why it is so.  Is this an area you need to explore, or is it so far away from your philosophy that you can discount it easily?

Believe that you are the expert, and feel empowered that you have the answers for your family.   Find your own voice.

Blessings,

Carrie