This is one of my favorite days of the whole year: All Saints Sunday! I love celebrating this day, which this year was this past Thursday, the day after Halloween and I love attending church to deepen the meaning of this day, the beginning of a whole season of Light.
I have Roman Catholic friends who remember All Saints Day being a major festival in their year – they got off from school, first of all, LOL, but I do think it is an important day that is now being lost and dwarfed by Halloween. All Saints Day, to me, is a very special day to recognize the light that the Saints carried inside of them, that spark of God and the angels, and that we too, carry that light within us. We have within us the light, the spark of the Divine and when we act with love in full social community, we show not only our higher selves but the thinning of the material and spiritual worlds.
One way we share this light with others is through our warmth. Emotional warmth is so important. How do we relate to others? With judgment, with cynicism? Do we isolate ourselves instead of trying to be part of a community? Do we answer our children with love when they speak to us or do we yell at them? Are we so overwhelmed we find it difficult to share our light and warmth with anyone?
I urge you, today, to re-claim your light and your warmth for this season. This day, to me, marks a beautiful beginning to a whole seasonal celebration of light through this day, Martinmas, Advent and for me as a Christian, Christmas Day and The Twelve Holy Nights.
If you would like to celebrate this day, I made a few suggestions here: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/11/01/all-saints-day-and-all-souls-day-in-the-waldorf-home/ Today is a wonderful day to look at the Saints throughout history. Perhaps there is a wonderful Saint whose stories you love. Some families also choose on this day, to bring the baptismal candles of their children to the dinner table and light them. I also love the hymns associated with All Saints Day and here is a book that captures one of those hymns for children: http://www.amazon.com/I-Sing-Song-Saints-God/dp/0819215619/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352055917&sr=8-1&keywords=I+sing+a+song+of+the+saints+of+god
The weather here in the Deep South dropped to cold overnight (and then it was warm again, and then cold). It is damp, and most of us are finding it hard to get warm. I have pulled out all of our woolens, although the baby has been wearing his night and day for a few weeks now. Warmth is so important that I write about it every year and have many back posts on it. I see other writers around the blogosphere are also writing about warmth – one of my favorites was this post from one of my readers: http://www.localgrain.org/fieldsandfire/2012/10/16/warmth/.
On a physical level, our children do not know when they are cold. Please do not give them choices about what to wear or how many layers to wear. You are the adult, and it is really okay for you to go though the closets and drawers and pack up the light clothes and sandals and put them away. It is okay to lay out clothes for your children and to take that burden of deciding what to wear away from them so they can focus on playing and creating and growing in a healthy way. Most sources say children need at least three layers on top and two layers on the bottom during cold weather, so adjust for your location in the world.
I typically get my woolens from Green Mountain Organics in Vermont – if you head there to buy some woolens, please tell Michelle that The Parenting Passageway sent you. She will take good care of you! http://www.greenmountainorganics.com/ Use the code wool10 to receive 10 percent off!
This week, in honor of the beginning of this season of Light with All Saints Day, and leading soon to Martinmas, I will be highlighting things to help you be a warm light for your own family and community. We will also finish up our very last chapter of our book study, and some further posts in the “Twenty Days Towards More Mindful Mothering Series”.
If there are any issues that you are struggling with right now, please feel free to leave a comment in the comment box and I would be happy to address that issue in an upcoming post.
Much love and many blessings,
Lovely post, as always! I spent part of the day with my girls repurposing thrifted cashmere sweaters into woolens for them to wear all winter.
How timely, Carrie! I’ve just been thinking about warmth this week, looking for good blog posts about the importance of warmth. I would love some more ideas about supporting warmth in our children, beyond warm clothing, which I agree is vital. Foods, drinks, bedding, herbs, oils?
This is such a lovely time of year to focus on warm interactions, warm words, and warm hearts. Thank you for spending time on this!
I will think on it more..one thing I thought of immediately was baths with essential oils. There are several “recipes” in the book Awakening Beauty and also in You’re Not The Boss Of Me! edited by Ruth Ker.
Look for more to come,
Here’s a difficulty I’m having :: maintaining a new/better attitude of warmth/love/gentleness in the face of what has previously been the norm: backtalk, sarcasm, me-mine. My irritation and frustration just comes roaring back. Mostly my 9yo, but my 4yo is a great copycat, as is my 2yo. I recognize that change takes time, and that a lifetime (his) of one way cannot be undone in a season. We also have a homeopathic consult scheduled for the 9yo, as it has helped so much with my 4yo and myself. And I know I have much more inner work to do. But maintaining the positive in the backlash is so hard for me.
Look for an upcoming post on this issue! You asked a really good and important question!
Or this: you mention being the adult and picking out clothes and making sure they’re warm. My children resist this immensely. I can usually coax/play the youngest into putting on her woolies, but the other two do not want them. How to make it not a power struggle?
How old are they?
Have I said lately how fantastic and encouraging you and your blog are? I so appreciate it.
Aww, thanks Rebecca…you did say that before! 9 year old is just going to have to be matter of fact when you are ready to put those on, we are ready to go outside. The four year old maybe you can do some creative movement and lay the woolies out the night before on the floor in a fun and creative positioning.
I think overall, though, being ho-hum and just act like this is expected, and expect it to happen! Ho-hum, ho-hum!
Ho-hum, ho-hum indeed. That’s good to remember, rather than working up with them. Love,RBS
I’m concerned about my daughter who will be nine in Feb. She has a tendency to “bark” at people when she talks. She sometimes comes across as being mean and harsh. She is struggling socially at school and feels that everyone is being mean to her. Today she told her younger sister who is 4 that she wished I was “dead” when she didn’t get something she wanted. I guess I’m not supposed to take that personally, but how do I do that? It really hurt when I heard that she said that. I think my daughter is wonderful and delightful, but she has some strong personality characteristics that are troubling for me, and more recently with unhappiness at school she seems more angry and irritable. She has also recently said that she wished two girls in her class were “dead.” She has also been suffering from migraines. I think her current school situation is causing her a lot of anxiety. I don’t know whether its better for her if we just pull her out and homeschool again as we did last year, or if we should try to work on the problems she is facing socially in there. She is attending a new charter school which initially looked like a perfect fit for her, but its not turning out to be a good fit. Unfortunately the classroom and teacher are very disorganized and this is also a source of stress for her. HELP!!!! I am thinking about warmth as well and trying to think of ways to surround her with warmth as she seems very troubled right now. Do you think all this has something to do with the nine year change? I haven’t started reading up on that yet but I have heard that it is a difficult time for kids. How do we teach our kids to talk in a kind tone of voice (other than modelling that) and how do we teach them how to get along with other people? Thank you Carrie, Marianne
I would definitely go and read the posts under the nine year change under the “Development” tab; next I would talk to the teachers and guidance counselor at school and see what they have noticed socially about your daughter adn alert them to the fact she seems to be having trouble. I would also have her checked by a physician to see if her migraines are truly stress related or something else. Then I would think about the best course of action for her based upon the information you have gathered and what you know about your daughter. I would think of ways to envelop her in warmth through warm foot baths, warm hot water bottles, warm baths.
Nine you are past the point of just modeling. Now you need to start working with her directly, providing her opportunities to re-word what she just said, allowing her time to come out of the family life and come back in when she can talk more nicely. That being said, nine year olds have strong feelings and her expression of wishing someone were “dead” may be that she is just really, really angry or upset and things are not going the way she wants and she has no other way to express it. So, if you are there and can read the situation, it may be she needs help problem-solving whatever it is that is going on. Strong, physical work is another way to create warmth. Boundaries, as much as people don’t like them, need to provide warmth. A solid rhythm after school of being outside and really letting off all that anger and irritability in a physical way is very important – provide a solid way to re-enter family life each day. Send her off to school by lighting a candle and saying a verse or blessing over her; maybe you can even find a wonderful verse about bringing light to those around her, being good and kind.
What is your daugher’s social life outside of school? Does she have her own set of friends and even an activity to call her own? I find this to be important for most girls this age. It could be that she needs some time to play with others outside of the school setting. Do you know the other parents in her class? The more you can create community and get involved at school, the more of a true picture you will receive.
These are just a variety of suggestions; please do take what resonates with you.
Hi Carrie- Thanks for sending people our way for woolens. There is an active coupon code for 10% off wool10 .
I’ve nominated you for Very Inspiring blogger award
Aw, thank you so much Leloandtoots!
Thank you, Carrie, for your very thoughtful response. I will follow up on your suggestions. Do you have any good book recommendations for helping kids cope with angry feelings and conflict resolution? Really appreciate you!!!!!! Marianne
I really don’t…I am not sure a child of that age really needs a book about this subject, but perhaps more of tea and a talk from you in a gentle way, more involvement with children who are kind and a good model, more time in nature and more physical activity, if that makes any sense. I would find out from her about school and how she feels things are going after you speak with her teachers and really try to foster the idea that the school is an extension of your home. Kim John Payne has written about social inclusion and given some good talks on this subject, so you can check on his Simplicity Parenting website as well. He may have some further suggestions.
Many blessings,please do let me know what happens,
Thank you, Carrie. My daughter has been having a better week. I have talked with her teacher, we decided to move her away a little from where she was sitting so that she’s not squeezed in between 2 girls she feels don’t like her. Today there was a day off and we went to a park where one of the girls she claims is mean to her was also playing. They played nicely together and she even was able to offer her some pumpkin bread we had made in the morning. They parted with excitement about seeing each other on the next school day. I will be taking her to the eye doctor to see if she’s having vision issues which might contribute to the headaches. My husband and I are working on praying more for our children. I’m going to make an effort to help out at least once a week in her classroom. She really likes that, and it seems to help boost her confidence. I think things are looking up! I was asking about book suggestions more for me. Sometimes I’m at a loss as to what to say whenever one of my daughters comes up to me and says,” so-and-so is being mean.” In my mind I’m always thinking, “oh no not again. What am I supposed to do about it? Can’t you just work it out or go play with someone else?” Its hard for me to take every social crisis seriously. I really appreciate you providing this forum. I love your approach to parenting and schooling. I often think,” hmmm. what would Carrie do in this situation” when I’m having troubles in family life. Many thanks -Warmly, Marianne
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