50’s

Despite what is frequently portrayed in media, development doesn’t end in our twenties; of course we grow and change throughout our lifetime. This is my birthday weekend and on Monday I will begin another trip around the sun!

My few years into the decade of my 50s with its backdrop of COVID, political drama, economic uncertainty has certainly been a strange decade so far in many ways. The book “The Human Life” by George and Gisela O’Neil and Florin Lowndes is always a good reminder as to what to expect with aging in a more archetypal sense that transcends immediate circumstances.

Of the years 49-56 they write: “At the onset of the second phase, traumas are possible. It is as though new vitality were lent man, and adjustments are called for. For the one still adaptable, whose sense of humor or perspective is intact, the transition can be smooth. Symptoms can be reminiscent of adolescence. In the profession it is called “the change of life”, and here, definitely, distinctions are permitted. The “he” who avoid self-knowledge in these years is prone to the heart attack – a rather two-meaninged expression: either late summer romance or hospital care. The “she”, of course, much reckon with a metamorphosis of bodily forces into “spirit-life” powers. The powers of maturity now manifesting can be seen in the forcefulness with which a person in these years can promote a new cause. It can be seen in the power which an older eurythmist or an older actor has on stage, or an older teacher with young children. There is something quite different from the talent and skill with which younger people are endowed. It is as though the wisdom of life becomes now instinct in their whole being…..”In summary: whereas in the forties one is conscious of the ideas one has in mind, in the fifties one can find the strength to bring to life these ideas as intentions, and only in the years following will one have the native ability to realize these ideas and intentions in their final forms.”

I love this idea that the most productive period to come, of final forms of ideas being produced. I have several projects on a personal level and watching them come to life is exciting. Some are small scale, like steps toward my own health. Some are medium scale such as the farm and what we intend to produce and how we intend to shape the house and the land. Some are larger such as how to carry out my professional work into my retirement years and what my husband and I will do in retirement. I am lucky to have him by my side and I also so lucky to have been able to watch my children grow up to this point – they are now going to be 21, 18, and 13 this year. What a gift and a treasure to be here with them, to be working and helping people, to be on our farm.

The few things I have learned in these decades outside of loving people, always loving people, always meeting people where they are is that we need effective ways to educate and bring balance to our young people. We need to help our children develop their will and new skills and new faculties as they navigate their 20’s and then 30’s. The later 30’s and early 40’s can be lonely times, but as we head into our 50’s perhaps we can see a new progression toward community, building our family up again, re-connecting, seeing unity – at least perhaps in those awake enough to think along these lines! How can we best prepare our children for that point?

Peace from my corner of the world,

Carrie

Glorious August

I love August so much! It’s the beginning of another trip around the sun for me and this year I will be 52! I will be honest, 50’s have been kind of a strange decade so far, but I think that was mainly due to all the big shifts that have occurred in my personal life and also with all the background of the pandemic and world events. So, I am looking forward to 52 being a wonderful new beginning in so many ways!

This is a month of sunshine and sunflowers, lakes, and fun – and here in the deep south, it’s also time for back to school. School down here begins this first week of August or the second week depending upon your program. For a long time this seemed quite off to me after growing up in New York where we start school after Labor Day, but now I have lived here much longer than I ever lived up north, so it just seems natural.

The things we are celebrating:

August 6th- The Transfiguration of Jesus Christ

August 8th- My Birthday!

August 10- School starts!

August 15- The Dormition of St. Mary

August 28 – our oldest child will be 21! Doesn’t seem possible! So excited for her bright future and watching her graduate university in 2023!

Ideas for Celebration:

  • Making a  beautiful triptych to celebrate the life of St. Mary.  There are many wonderful ideas regarding this on the Internet.
  • We have about another month of tubing, swimming and water park availability to us, so we hope to take advantage!
  • Camping – it can be super hot here, but I am already making camping in the fall a priority.
  • Gazing at the stars
  • Equines and apiary – We have settled in to having four horses on property and their daily care. The bees are doing well and we already got a little honey for our pantry back in June. We aren’t going to pull any honey until spring, so hopefully that will go ok. We have two barn kittens that are quickly growing up!
  • Walking in the mornings
  • Working out.  Move!  

The Domestic Life:

This a good time to take stock of needs for fall/winter in clothing, shoes, outside gear, school supplies, art supplies

I also think this a great time to go back to manners.  Children are often in an expansive place with summer weather and may need some help in remembering school behavior, work ethics and manners!  

Getting back into a rhythm that supports school is also a huge help with that.  Rhythm is a key word for this month and the structure of the rhythm of school for homeschooling does us all good!

Meal planning gets us through because I am too busy to have to spend a lot of time every day planning.  So, I like to plan 2-4 weeks of meals and shop in bulk!  

Homeschooling:

We are jumping into seventh grade (for my third time!).  I am looking forward to it, and have plans laid out for 3 weeks of physics, 3 weeks of math, a week of the life of Buddha, the Renaissance for four weeks, two week of perspective drawing, and two weeks of Astronomy and Navigation to start us off in the fall. (Plans always subject to change, LOL). He also has sailing, horseback riding, 4H, our place of worship and youth group to keep him busy!

Our twelfth grader (last year of high school) is in an outside hybrid homeschool program, so mainly we are at the stage of finishing high school and looking at universities. She is interested in smaller schools, so it is a different experience than when we looked at colleges with our oldest. We are so proud of our high schooler.

We are super proud of our girl at university! She is an amazing adult. She had a great summer visiting Greece and France and she and I just took a weekend trip together. I am trying to make that an annual tradition for us. When you have adult children, you have to make time to see them as they are busy leading their own lives as well! #dateyouradultkids

Self-Care and Rhythm:

With farm life, working, homeschooling, consulting — I am working on keeping my morning rhythm of self-care, and making time for exercise and food prep! This is really, really important to me.

The other thing I make room for is on Thursday mornings to meet with a group of ladies from my place of worship. This helps anchor me for life!

I want to hear how August is shaping up for you! How is school looking?  I have been very busy doing homeschool consulting this month! If anyone needs help with homeschool planning or planning for family life, please email me at admin@theparentingpassageway.  My rates for a half hour phone call are super reasonable and I have helped lots of moms this month!  I also answer fast questions via email for free, and always give my single moms free help. Please let me know if I can help you!

Lots of love and many blessings,
Carrie

Uncertainty and The Sphere of Agriculture

“A course of this kind naturally makes many demands, for it will show us to what an extent the interests of Agriculture are bound up with those of the widest circles of human existence and that there is scarcely a single sphere of life which has not some relation to Agriculture.” From Rudolf Steiner’s Agriculture Lecture I, 1924

I talk to people all day long as a physical therapist, as a lactation consultant, as a parenting and homeschooling consultant, and I think there is a lot of despair and unsettled feelings related to overall background of life right now:

The pandemic.

Political situations.

Gun violence.

The economic situation

The rates of depression, anxiety, suicide in young children

I told my husband the other day that sometimes I feel like we are watching Rome fall, but instead of the Roman roads crumbling and eventually castles and fiefdoms are taking over, now there is retreating into an increasingly physically isolated but interconnected digital world. We saw this during the pandemic with a necessary shift to everything being online, but I think the other thing we saw is that this gave people the ability to move out of cities and find increased acreage/ land due to the ability to work remotely.

So, when people ask me how I think we are going to deal with the things going on in the world, I can’t help but wonder if some of it will be healed by agriculture and coming back to the land. There is nothing like healing emotional and mental anguish with working on the land, being in nature.

Many of us are homesteading in whatever capacity that means to us, whether we are on acres of land or in an apartment. Many people I know have three months or more of water and food stocked up just in case job situations change or the supply chain runs short. Most of the farmers I know believe that hay and grain will be hard to come by this fall and winter, which in turn will affect food prices.

I think the other positive thing that has happened is people are living smaller – Instagram is full of families taking to the road in RV’s or living on boats. Mobility is a good thing, and while full time RV living has been around for years, I think the numbers have really gone up in the past few years. People are opting out of a mortage and instead living simply. They get to be in nature, and pursue hiking, biking, travel, and being together. I think this trend will continue and since housing prices are high, it may end up being a typical way for young couples to start out as well.

So, I often meditate on the fact that we can as a people be healed if only we could return to simpler ways and into nature. I read an article this morning about expats retiring in other countries and one thing they were distressed about was having a beautiful ocean –and sitting on their surfboard or walking the beach and seeing all the plastic float around them.

Live smaller, live simply.

Reduce, recylce, reuse.

If you have land, grow something, nurture something and as we do this people will be healed and nurtured.

So instead of bemoaning the current state of the background of life, I often find the small and still voice – what can I do in nature today? What can I grow today? What can I do where I am right now?

Blessings,

Carrie

A Rhythm of Self-Care

Recently a friend and I made a list of what we wanted to see in our own self-care. Self-care is the basis of family life and because we carry much of the labor and emotional holding for the family (and even more if you are educating your children at home).

I would like to say that I put myself first and do these things before I start my day, but honestly self-care is still kind of squished in around work, homeschooling, farm life, parenting. Many times I have to jump out of bed and get ready for work or dive into farm chores.

It helps me to look at targets in self-care for the whole week, not by day, because it’s easy to miss things on any given day and feel badly. I will confess it is much easier now that my children are older. If you are looking to garner self-care and your children are very small, I think you need very bite-sized pieces that take 10 minutes or under multiple times a day or you need to have help to watch your children in order to have a bigger piece of time. Some pieces of self-care you can have your children do with you! I know for me, my husband traveled all week long for years when our children were small, and having three children of varying ages didn’t seem feasible to really ask someone for help a lot.

This is my self-care list:

My absolute daily things:

Prayer and meditation. I start every morning with affirmations that I hand wrote for myself. This started when I had a lot of uptick in anxious thoughts and it was helpful. I also read Psalm 91 outloud at the beginning and end of the day. I usually listen to Meditation Mountain on Spotify in the car.

Water. I use a stainless steel water bottle and carry it around.

Dry brushing. This can be hit or miss for me.

Supplements. I have a small and manageable list of supplements that I have found helpful for being older. I tried to have more supplements and use a pill box, but that was overwhelming and I still would often forget to take them so I just pared my list down to the essentials.

Exercise and move – this is actually fairly easy to hit on the days I do the horse care, but other days I need to plan a bit more for this. The days that I work and see patients in office I usually don’t exercise because I have the commuting time, notes to write, and I am mentally exhausted. Just being honest.

Happy Music 🙂 Again, easier to listen to adult music now that my children are all ages almost 13 and up!

Read books! I read daily.

Talk to my close friends.

End the day early. We have a pretty quiet house at night usually. In the winter we usually do night check around 9 or so, but in the summer it’s easy to do chores right after dinner and be done for the night.

The other things (daily if I can, weekly if not):

Food Prep- I do prep things every few days typically and put in the refrigerator. Sometimes this is just chopping up fruits and putting them in mason jars so things are visible, pan roasting veggies and having those on hand, making chia seed pudding or overnight oats, or it can be prepping an entire meal I can put in the crock pot or instant pot.

Napping/resting. On the days I am home, I still like a quiet time after lunch and on the weekends, I like to nap if I can.

Spiritual – worship on most Sundays, and I have a smaller group on Thursday mornings. Both have online options which can be helpful since our place of worship is about forty minutes away.

Date Night! Now that our children are older, we can go out by ourselves and it’s easy. I love Thursday nights for date night. Thursdays are such a good day of the week for me!

Writing and painting. This requires being alone and focusing, so this is much easier than when my children were small.

What kinds of self-care things do you love to do? I would love to hear from you.

Blessings and love,
Carrie

July Round -Up!

I almost missed posting this monthly round up for July (almost), but here we are! July has been a busy month for us on the farm. We pulled some honey, we have switched over some leasors on some of our horses, we have been shuffling a horse that needed training, acquired two barn kitties, graded some land, finished some more fencing and started some seeds for fall.

The only thing we really celebrated in July was July Fourth (by staying home with our horses, but we could see fireworks for the town miles away from our pasture. I hope you had a happy Fourth of July for those of you celebrating it.

July used to be a month of complete doldrums for me with the intense heat and being exhausted from being outside every day with small children. Then it became a month of doing homeschooling consultations, which lifted my spirits! Now I am mainly working outside the home, and still doing some consultations, which is great fun. I am looking forward to sunflowers and some lake trips.

July Fun Round Up!

Are you thinking about summer menu planning?  I have a back post on July Menu Planning to grab!

Ideas Of Things to Do With Children:

  • Fourth of July decorating; patriotic crafts
  • Find traditional patriotic American music to listen to!
  • Go to Independence Day parades!
  • Sunflower crafts
  • Drying herbs and making things from herbs
  • Picking produce; canning and preserving
  • Earth looms and weaving could be lovely; see my summer Pinterest board for even more craft ideas

Ideas for the Home:

  • Going through the school room or school area and cleaning out
  • Ordering art supplies and new resources for the next school year
  • Making new seasonal things for the home
  • Changing out toys if you are on a toy rotation for smaller children

Our Family Life and Homeschooling Fun!:

Our 21 year old is headed back to university and will work four straight semesters through before she graduates. She had a wonderful opportunity to go to Greece early this summer with a tour from university and then later in the summer to France with her boyfriend and his family. She had a well-traveled summer!

Our middle child is headed into senior year at her hybrid high school and looking at colleges. Applications open August 1st. She already had a large scholarship offer, so we will see what decisions she makes.

Our youngest has been busy sailing, doing things with 4H, and riding horses. He went to an overnight camp associated with our church for a week that was a lot of fun and fostered some good friendships. I am working on seventh grade for him now, even though I sometimes vacillate at this point as to whether he should go to full time school or not. However, the Waldorf Curriculum is so beautiful it is hard to give up! I have my blocks planned out along with some extra work in math and spelling. It’s going to be an amazing year!

Self Care

I feel pretty good health wise lately despite the busyness of life. There are some essential check points I put in my schedule for my health including prayer and affirmations, drinking much more water than I used to, eating more fish and more plants, and scheduling out some time to exercise just for me (although we get plenty of physical work on the farm!) and this seems to have been helpful.

Artistic Endeavors

I am trying to write a little more again. I went through a phase where I just felt like being on the farm and thinking I didn’t have much left to say with children nearly grown but here I am again! 🙂 I have some plans for watercolor painting so that should be fun.

Great Reading

I am re-reading Betty Staley’s “:Between Form and Freedom: a practical guide for the teenaged years” which is always a treat!

Please tell me what you are up to! Happy July, family.

Blessings,
Carrie

Supporting the 15/16 Year Change and Beyond

Our oldest two children are 17 and almost 21 (in a few short weeks). Through them, I can listen to the things that they have observed in their relationships with others outside the family. They have mentioned addiction and a high level of depression and anxiety and other mental health disorders are prevalent in many of the people their age that they meet.

There really are no easy fixes as I think this demonstrates challenges with our entire society as children are born and grow up, from the baseline of our food and drinking water all the way to a lack of supportive community in raising children. Then, the individuality of each situation is superimposed on this background for even more factors.

We don’t often talk about raising teenagers, except sometimes society bemoans younger generations in general terms. The teenagers I have met are such intelligent, sensitive young adults. I don’t wish to bemoan this generation of children at all! The purpose of my life’s work has been geared toward helping parents be healthy and helping families be healthy. So, in supporting these young people in the years of the 15/16 change into the early 20s, what are the best things we can do to help?

Betty Staley writes in her book, “Between Form and Freedom: A practical guide to the teenaged years” that, “They (teenagers) feel they have to impress those around them, but they are not sure who they are. To find out, young teenagers put on many different masks. The response to each mask gives the teenager clues to the acceptability of one personality type and another. Thus, the youngster decides whether to adopt a particular way of behaving. The teenager turns to the peers to define behavior.” (page 192). This becomes less important after the 15/16 year old change, author Staley points out, but also that children can become “stuck” in adolescence and sometimes need a new setting to start over.

Staley writes, “For healthy emotional development, adolescents need a protective circle of support. This circle should include their family, their school, their religious leaders, and their community. However, with the breakdown of the family, de-personalization of the schools, weakening of religious ties and instability of the community, teenagers do not have a protective circle.”

So, several things come to mind for me in supporting today’s teenagers.

I think one idea is to help the teenager develop a sense of self-worth, self-esteem, respect for oneself. This is easier said than done. Emotional maturity takes a long time, but I think the more we can dial things down and involve less competitiveness and pressure, the more the teenager can let their “real self” emerge.

If your teenager wants to bounce back against whatever they think their family stands for, to be the opposite, I often feel this is actually a continuation of earlier development where children want to do what they want to do that ties back into that emotional maturity piece. We can teach our young adults that we can slow down and think about decisions, know pros and cons, and then though we have to live with the outcomes. That responsibility piece is often hard to learn, and also to feel comfortable in making wrong decisions and mistakes.

The second idea is to see how big a protective circle you need. If your children are in school, I am in favor of smaller school settings rather than the large high schools with 900 students in a graduating class. Are their teachers, coaches, friends and friends’ parents helpful? Do they listen to your teenager? At this age, teenagers can certainly take instruction and learn from people they don’t necessarily like, but it is important to have a circle that does understand and listen.

Within your family, can you help them find their place? Betty Staley writes on page 194, “They are not children and they are not adults. Most of what they want to do when they are fourteen, fifteen, or sixteen is illegal or unadvisable, yet they are being urged to do it anyway.” (referencing media images). Instead of pushing our early teenagers ahead to the late teenaged or college aged activities, see if there is anything you can hold back for past the 15/16 change that makes sense within your family structure.

Artistic pursuits can be so helpful for this age if that is an option. The arts nourish the soul, and promote individualism in a unique way and through the unique voice of their creator.

Betty Staley writes about how adolescence can be a loss. It means leaving childhood behind, adjusting to bodily changes, losing childhood innocence, losing dependence upon parents. So, we need to be open to helping guide our children through stressful times, and really listening. Communication skills and communication coaching are valuable in this way for our teenagers.

The thing that has been the most helpful in our family, outside of spending a lot of time together, has been a connection with nature. We did this primarily through horses, but also did plenty of camping , being outside in general, 4H and things like that..

What things come to your mind in supporting early teens, teens in that 15/16 change, and in our older teens and young adults? Would love to hear from you.

Blessings and peace,
Carrie

The Gifts We Give Each Other

When our children are small and developing, we can look at parenting as a series of gifts that we give but also definitely receive. We try to give our children the gift of time, the gift of rest, the gift of health and we help shape the environment and provide choices within a framework that supports this. Our children give us their unconditional love, their precious firsts and lasts, the ordinary and extraordinary.

However, the idea of gifting can be a way to reframe how our priorities align in relationships within the home. For example, I may not value an early bedtime, but in understanding and knowing that my spouse needs time at night, I can choose to gift a structure for the family that is suitable and aligns with the priorities I have in loving someone. There are a million and one ways in which we can give gifts to each other in a family setting.

As our children grow and become young adults, it often becomes increasingly hard to shape their environment and the choices they often make are their own. Did we teach them well enough to recognize what they need versus what they want, what gifts others brings to them, but also what gifts they have to offer the family and the world?

Living in harmony often requires an introspection and consensus building approach. It is rare that the adults in the house value exactly the same things all the way around. Or perhaps it is a process of focusing on the large areas of alignment and letting the smaller areas go. Gifting each other in love with what the other person needs, and in seeing what we need and desire from others, can become a profound experience of joy.

Sometimes in discerning this it is easy to start with a list of things that we do not want or do not enjoy, or the things we feel are not going well in our homes. However, this can transform into a place of power to consider how our needs are being met and how we help meet the needs of others where those people are. Where are we all most aligned as a family, where are we not, and how do we build consensus across this divide?

Wishing you all lightness and peace within your homes.

Many blessings,
Carrie

The Summer Rhythm

School is ending here in the deep south, and we have a summer of opportunity and possibility before us. Summers are days of freedom, usually amazing physical growth for children, many fun activities, and hours of play.

When our children were small, our summer days revolved around play/work of the day (such as a baking day, a cleaning day, a painting day, a day for festival/seasonal preparation, a gardening day) and outside activities with the morning usually being at home outside or at a park and the afternoon being at a lake or a pool (it gets very hot down here!)

Now that our children are older, we have the re-entry of our college-aged student for summer with work obligations, our rising high school senior who has obligations this summer academically and in her own work, and our twelve year old who can have a more similar summer to past summers although now constrained by my return to work outside the home and my work schedule. For these reasons, I find we do need a bit of structure to our days. Perhaps you are feeling this as well depending upon the ages of your children or your life situation.

Having a simple framework for when at home in the summer can also be a big help towards staving off any summer bickering between siblings if that is an issue and a relief to children to know they have long stretches of time to play, but also special things to do, (even if it is special things at home) that makes fantastic summer memories. I am still looking at what days we will be home and what days we will be out. I also look at what days we will swim, what days we will be with friends and what days of the week in which we may just be home (no swimming and no friends to play with but just a good ole’ family day).  I never do too much in the way of camps due to cost, but this summer our rising senior has an opportunity for a horseback riding camp at a university and our twelve year old is going to do his first week ever away from home in an overnight camp.

Mostly I am concerned with the small things – working on the farm, catching fireflies, having friends over, camping and eating smores, going to the lake or a public pool and just being together. (Along with all the decluttering and homeschool planning – those are posts to come!) In general, I think the small ordinary things are actually the glue of summer. It reminds me that in my religion, this time of summer after Pentecost is considered “Ordinary Time” and yet it often is such a big time of physical growth and mental preparedness for the tasks ahead in the school year. It is anything but ordinary, just in the same way the world of nature is anything but ordinary in summer.

May we all find the special and the sparkle in the ordinary this summer. What are your plans for rhythm this summer?

Blessings,

Carrie

Seventh Grade Planning

So, I have laid out my general plans for seventh grade. This is the advantage of having taught this grade twice before in a Waldorf style – I still have my notes, which is very helpful. One of the years I went through seventh year I put a week by week summary on this blog, so you can access those older posts.

I want to really focus on geography and the interaction of people with where they live throughout this year, so I plan on doing a little geography throughout the year. Every day we will do math practice and geography. We also have a focus on writing as our son just became interested in writing more recently, and I want to focus on that for preparation for high school work.

With middle schoolers, I feel I often turn the main lesson rhythm found in Waldorf on its head and often begin with something hands on, working side by side, bringing in the sort of presentation piece or more of a Socratic method of questioning and then ending with the academic writing.

Our plans to begin our new school year in August look like this at this point. I am saving physiology for eighth grade.

Week One  August 8-12 – Physics

Week Two August 15-19 – Physics

Week Three August 22-26 Physics

Week Four  August 29-September 2 – Math Main Lesson

Week Five September 5-9 – Math Main Lesson

Week Six  September 12-16 Math Main Lesson

Week Seven  September 19-23 The Life of Buddha

SEPTEMBER 26-30 FALL BREAK

Week  Eight October 3-7- Renaissance

Week Nine October 10-14 – Renaissance

Week Ten October 17-21  – Renaissance

Week Eleven  October 24-28 – Renaissance and Father-Son Trip

Week Twelve  October 31-November 4 – Perspective Drawing

Week Thirteen November 7-11 – Perspective Drawing

Week Fourteen November 14-18 – Catch Up Week

NOVEMBER 21-25  THANKSGIVING BREAK 

Week Fifteen November 28-December 2 – Astronomy and Navigation

Week Sixteen December 5-9 – Astronomy and Navigation

Week Seventeen  December 12-16  – Astronomy and Navigation

DECEMBER 19- JANUARY 4  – CHRISTMAS BREAK

Week Eighteen  January 5/6 – Grammar and Writing

Week Nineteen January 9-13 – Grammar and Writing

Week Twenty January 16-January 20 – Grammar and Writing

Week Twenty One January 23-27 – Chemistry

Week Twenty Two January 30-February 3 – Chemistry

Week Twenty Three February 6-February 10 – Chemistry

FEBRUARY 13-17 WINTER BREAK

Week Twenty Four  February 20-24- Math Main Lesson

Week Twenty Five February 27-March 3- Math Main Lesson

Week Twenty Six March 6-10- Math Main Lesson

Week Twenty Seven March 13-17 – American Colonial Times

Week Twenty Eight March 20-24 – American Colonial Times

Week Twenty Nine March 27-31 – American Colonial Times

APRIL 3-7 SPRING BREAK

Week Thirty  April 10-14 – Writing

Week Thirty One April 17-21 – Writing

Week Thirty Two April 24-28 – Writing

Week Thirty Three May 1-5 -Writing

Week Thirty Four May 8-12 – Catch Up Week

I am excited for this coming year. It promises to be full of friends, family, horses, 4H, church activities and other fun things!

Are you planning yet for fall? If you blog, please share a link below!

Blessings,

Carrie

Eastertide New Beginnings: Rhythm

Rhythm is one of the most beautiful gifts you can give your family. It doesn’t just need to be set by a parent; instead it can be set as a family according to family priorities, and it should also be nourishing to ALL members of the family.

People get upset at the idea of rhythm because I think they feel it will be constraining. Rhythm, to me, isn’t so much as “do x at y time” but a general flow and a look at the day, the week, the month, the year.

I like to plan rhythm in a year/month format on a large piece of paper that I divide into twelve squares. In each monthly square I can write down what we usually celebrate under that month, and also things I associate with each month (examples – strawberry picking, lake days, light displays at the Winter holidays, etc). I also use this in my adult life! Today, I wrote down in my calendar that April is kind of crazy so I remember to do something a bit different next year and to be sure to take Easter Monday off of work next year! LOL.

Daily rhythm doesn’t have to be complicated. For those of you with small children, just getting through the day with rising, breakfast and clean up, personal hygiene, play, eating and napping, play, dinner, bath, bedtime – well, that’s all you need along with some songs, fingerplays, and a smile. 🙂

Older children can have more complicated rhythms but I would encourage you to step in for those under the 16 year old developmental change (and some 17 year olds may still also need help) and help them craft a rhythm that reflects a balance between head, heart, hands. Where is the bodily movement? Are they learning and expanding their minds? Are they helping the family and helping others? Where is their community of people?

The rhythms in the house should even nourish the adults. If every bit of the rhythm is geared around the children, where is the time and space for you as a person? For you with the other adults in the house? Time with your spouse? Time with your parents or extended family? Time is our most precious commodity. Many of us have children and aging parents and understand this all too well.

Rhythm can be a great source of renewal and a great source of joy – you really can have and make time to have fun! Living together is wonderful.

I would love to hear about your Eastertide New Beginnings!

Blessings,
Carrie