Hello Dear Readers,
I am sorry I have been away from here for some time now. I have had a difficult time which I am sure I will write about at some point, but not today. I am back today with a continuation of our series about portals, and pondering health for our children as they grow up.
The portal of media can be one of the most difficult things for families to navigate. This is the post that probably will upset folks and irritate them, so I would like to remind you to take just what resonates with you. Most of us probably make a few choices that are different than what I am laying out below, but I urge you to think mindfully about all of this and decide what is right for your family.
Those of you familiar with Waldorf Education may associate this method of education with no media, no computers, etc. but to me, this is not the intent behind Waldorf Education at all. In fact, Rudolf Steiner felt that one had to love the time in which he or she lived, and that each period in history built something of a foundation for the next one. In other words, we may now be living in the ‘age of machines’ but we are headed into an age of complete imagination, if we do things properly as a society. So we need to embrace where we are in time, but also in a way that makes sense for the development of the child.
The other point I would like to make is not specific to Waldorf Education, but just something I would like to point out, especially for my American readers. Continue reading
We often walk through Advent with our favorite Saints, and I have suggested a variety of Celtic Saints to provide adult inspiration during Lent. I try very hard to remember that there are fifty days of Eastertide coming, and to try not to rush into Easter when there are so many wonderful things about the anticipation and reflection that occurs during Lent.
There are some wonderful books for Lent. Here are a few of our family’s favorites:
I love this book about Saint Kevin of Ireland and the blackbird’s nest. It tells the story of how Saint Kevin came to gain self-discipline by having to hold a blackbird’s nest for the forty days of Lent. This story would be especially wonderful for the second grader in your house. Continue reading
We are talking today about pondering portals, and what to do when the protectiveness of the early years begins to open up. I think, again, we must foster an attitude of health in our hearts, of acceptance and love for what happens when in our family, just the way we have a ho-hum attitude about complying with the legal age of drinking or when to drive a car. Some things do come when, and it not like trying to hold a flood of things from the world back at all, but more about letting things unfold naturally as children grow. Continue reading
Balance means weaving yourself into the fabric of your everyday life. What moments are for you and you alone? Continue reading
After the very balanced and harmonious age of ten(see here for a quick view of that age: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/09/25/the-terrific-ten-year-old-a-developmental-view/) , eleven year olds are in a decided stage of disequilibrium. They are often highly contrary and behave like a beginning adolescent. Here are a few characteristics of age eleven, taken from my favorite series on child development by the Gesell Institute: Continue reading
“Do ye the little things in life.”
I love this day in the year! It is the Feast Day of St. David, patron Saint of Wales. Wonderful, wonderful stories abound about St. David. He was known for his austere monastic lifestyle where he and his monks would hook themselves up to plows instead of using oxen and plough the fields themselves. They ate no meat, nor ale, but appeared to have endless energy for hard labor and for prayer.
However, the main thing St. David was noted for was for his loving kindness, for his gentle words, for his respect for others, the way he observed others and did small things to help build up life in Christ for others.
I often think of St. David. Homemaking, after all, is a labor of small things. Sometimes it is a labor of small things done time and time again. Continue reading
There is much made in books and blogs and articles on the Internet about what I call the “pink bubble” of the Waldorf Kindergarten for the early years of 0-7. I have always maintained that this time should be actually less about the wooden toys and silks, and more about movement, getting children into their bodies, bodily care, being outside and connected to nature – and in the home environment, living the spiritual year and the spiritual culture of that family – and not talking small children to death with explanations and verbal banter. In other words, a rhythmic, mindful (for the parents) and activity-oriented time. For more about what I envision for these early years, you can find back posts regarding Waldorf at home by age.
However, the pink bubble doesn’t last forever, and as the six year old hones in on developmental change and growth, there are the inevitable questions…If the world begins to “open up”, how and when? And how can we do this with a joyous heart, with balance and with fun? We are, after all, living together at home as a family, which is inevitably different than creating a school environment.
First of all, I think we have to get over the idea that we are somehow “closing off” the world in the early years by offering less choices and more stability. It is a little like saying we are “closing off” the world because we don’t allow our ten year old to drink alcohol or drive a car…that comes later in development, and we all accept that. Yet, we too often look at what is healthy for human development as this “weird choice” (or a series of weird choices) that we are making and that we really somehow depriving our children. I think we have to carry this healthy attitude, a vibrant attitude, a respectful attitude for the dignity of the child and of development into the grades ages and beyond. I see many parents treating their ten or eleven year old like a fifteen year old, and I think it actually is harder at these ages of 7-10 and then 10 – 14 to really reach that balance the need of the child of reaching out into the community and later the world and the inroads that must be made into family life and into themselves as a human being for health. Continue reading