I am so excited to have author Lea Page with us for a giveaway here at The Parenting Passageway. For those of you who don’t know Lea or her work, Lea Page has been counseling and mentoring Waldorf parents for over a decade. She was a La Leche League Leader for many years and also homeschooled both of her own children.
This year, she published a wonderful book called “Parenting In The Here And Now: Realizing the Strengths You Already Have”. Her book is about parenting in the here, right now, and how to manage emotions and cultivate the calmness in the chaos of the moment rather than become overwhelmed. Please leave me a comment in the box and YOU could be the winner of Lea’s new book on Friday!
I am honored to share a wonderful piece that Lea wrote with you all. It first appeared in The Elephant Journal. Thank you, Lea, for your wise words and wonderful perspective. I know all of us want to win a copy of your new book! Here is Lea:
What Can Nature Teach Children About Resistance?
Children engage in play with wholehearted dedication. They sink into imaginary worlds with an intensity that is hard for us as adults to match. They can also, frustratingly, apply that same intensity and dedication to resistance—to not getting in the bath or not getting dressed in time for the school bus.
Children can discover a sense of power in resistance. In the ensuing struggles, parents often feel stuck between letting the child have his way or overpowering the child with some combination of yelling, threats or rewards.
The problem with power struggles, besides all the misery, is that both parent and child learn to equate will with power (willfulness). But healthy will is not about power. Healthy will is devoted action: our thoughts and feelings and choices manifested in our deeds.
We engage the will with action, not arguments. When parents attend to the activities of home life with warmth and care—sharing meals, pursuing recreational/creative interests and doing chores together as a family, they model healthy will for their children, who are natural imitators. A strong family rhythm that establishes a reliable pattern of events as the day or week unfolds can also go a long way towards creating a harmonious flow with fewer day-to-day power struggles.
But there will be resistance, even in the most balanced of households. The power to resist isn’t always negative, but children need to learn when and how to apply it so that their will develops in a healthy manner.
Is there a way to teach children about the forces of power and resistance without inviting power struggles or modeling an unhealthy will?
Yes. By going to the source: the forces of nature, specifically, the four elements: water, air, earth and fire. Not only are these forces life sustaining, they have lessons to teach our young children, who learn primarily by experiencing the world through their senses and through their actions.
The following are just a few ways in which children can experience these forces, outside and inside the home.
Water is deceptively heavy and remarkably persistent. Water finds a way around an obstacle or wears it down slowly.
- · Swim (with supervision) in pools, ponds, lakes, the ocean, etc.
- · Haul buckets or other containers of water for gardens, flowerpots, inside plants, etc. Spray indoor plants with a mister.
- · Pour from one container to another, a pitcher to a glass, a bucket to a tub.
- · Snow—anything involving snow.
- · Float sticks or folded paper boats in puddles (or in the sink or tub). What else will float?
- · Stomp in puddles. Try to catch water from a rainspout.
- · Go out in the rain. Get wet. Get really, really wet.
- · Wash dishes by hand. A sink full of warm soapy water has magical qualities.
- · Wash bed linens or quilts in the tub. Get in there and use your feet as if you were pressing grapes.
Air can move anywhere along the scale from whisper soft to howling gale. Air hides in stillness. It holds heat and coldness and can carry smells and even physical objects when it is moving enough. It touches us but is hard to grasp.
- · Go outside in all weather (when safe)—feel the breeze, the gust, the gale.
- · Take a large trash bag as a cape and lean into the wind. Be blown.
- · Fly a kite.
- · Blow dandelion fluff and soap bubbles.
- · Make paper airplanes or tiny parachutes out of tissue paper and dental floss.
- · Blow up balloons but don’t knot them and let them rip (air can be funny).
Earth is so implacable, so generous. It can be heavy or light. One can move earth, but one must be willing to sacrifice energy and sweat in order to do so. Earth can hold water or release it. Dealing with earth requires patience. It holds secrets.
- · Sow seeds in a garden, in containers or pots, inside or out.
- · Dig. No child should go through life without the satisfaction of digging a really good hole. Encourage all manner of excavation and construction. In dirt and sand, dry and wet.
- · Collect rocks. Move rocks. Build sculptures with rocks.
- · Attempt to dam a flow of water.
- · Mold real clay.
· Buy the cheapest 25-pound bag of beans (after your children have finished putting small objects in their noses, etc.) and fill a bucket or basket with them. Hide small objects like spoons or little toy cars in the beans and let your children dig around for them. They can use their feet, too. Try this yourself after a stressful day.
Fire is missing from most children’s lives. Fire can be so powerful, but it too has such a range: the heat of fire can consume wholly, and the light of a flame can glimmer with tender subtlety. Fire mesmerizes, soothes and engenders courage. Fire draws us to it and drives us away.
- · An outdoor fire pit is a true luxury. Some parks have spaces for these.
- · Involve your child in collecting wood, building the fire, striking the match, tending the fire and even roasting or cooking on it.
- · Take a walk with candle lanterns. Make one with a glass jar, some wire and a stick. And the candle.
- · Light candles for the evening meal. Let your children light them and blow them out.
- · Spend at least one night a year with only candlelight in order to experience true darkness and the power of even the smallest fire.
The four elements have a tempering quality on the will of children. When our children have the opportunity to experience these elements using their bodies, they begin to develop a keen respect, not only for the forces of nature, but for the power of their own inner forces. By recognizing and honoring the forces of nature, we can bring the forces of will in our families into more balance.
Thank you so much, Lea. Please leave me a comment in the comment box in order to be entered for Friday’s giveaway!
I am excited about this book and I greatly appreciate that you are sharing Lea’s work with this community. Thank you!
Lea’s ideas on using the elements…truly elementary!
This book sounds wonderful! Thanks for the opportunity and chance to read
I’m not sure if it’s OK to enter from overseas, but if so, I would love to win a copy 🙂 Thank you.
Dear Carry, it would be so grea to receive the book of your give away. Thank you for the opportunity! Warm regards, Caroline
I would love to win and share with local moms. Wobderfully written and fits perfectly with the PP blog. Thank you for starting my day with this!
Thank you for this beautiful reminder of the value of the four elements in our and our childrens’lives and the ways to experience them daily!
Thank you for the opportunity!
I would love to read this book, thanks for the giveaway!
This book sounds fantastic. I love the use of nature to explain energy/power.
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This book sounds great. These ideas listed here in the blog post are things my kids would love.
Looking forward to reading the book.
Sounds like a book I could definitely use right about now! Excited for the opportunity, thank you!
So desperately timely!! I needed this this morning (and always lately!) … Would love to read this book. I find so much hope and healing in the Waldorf mentality and approach — this insight is No exception!
I’d love to read this book.
How wonderful the thought of learning about our inner spirit through the ever changing elements. I would love to hear more!
I appreciate the inspiring ideas from this chapter in the book!! Can’t wait to read the rest of it…or even possibly win it.
What a wonderful giveaway! Thanks for offering this, it sounds wonderful!
The book sounds wonderful! Thank you for sharing these lovely ideas.
Would love to read this book! Very exciting giveaway! Raquel
Love your blog…I always learn something!
Thanks so much for this post. Would love to read book, but this email is printed and ready to inspire when I ‘m at a loss, which is frequently. Thank you!!
I would love a copy of this book! Great read!
So beautiful and indepth! Thank you I will use this in all I do
Wow! Love your take on the four elements and how they can shape and influence our child’s lives. I would love to read more of your book!!!
Eloquent description of the developing will.
This is already given me great ideas and I love the idea of using nature to calm!
This has inspired me already – I love the idea of using nature as a calming influence.
Water is mesmerizing for my kids, and I often encourage them to play in the sink, jump in puddles, play in the rain, etc. But, wow, I wouldn’t have come up with these other wonderful ideas. Love this! Thank you.
Thank you for introducing this book. The title calls to me.
Wow, I have never thought of helping my child’s will develop by encountering the four elements. Thank you for this giveaway!
I’m dying to read this book! Thank you!
Beautiful! Loved the ideas!
Thank you for sharing this. It is a timely reminder as I seek to parent toddlers using the natural revelation of God in creation and also as I try to cultivate a (trained) strong will in my little ones without breaking either their thinking or spirits! Blessings in your continued work.