Advent should be the time to slow down and reflect; a time to be able to think of others. Yet, many of us find ourselves halfway through Advent with a very busy “to-do” list and many events to attend and with very little time to do the things we really consider the most important.
The first step to having a quiet Advent is to really whittle down outside things such as gift lists and party invitations. You may not be able to attend every single thing you are invited to, and that is okay. Having a day at home is as valid a reason as RSVPing “no” to something as having another outside function to attend. Many of you who have read my blog for years know of my “X” the calendar method. I just “X” out whole days to be home. Being home is a commitment, just like being out is.
In the time and space of your own home, you can encourage a strong and cozy rhythm of play for little ones, daydreaming and pursuits of interests for older children, and time for yourself to just think. You can think about what commitments really fuel you, and what things you are really passionate about and how your family members can each help one another and those outside your home. What would that like look like for you and your family?
You might chuckle a little about how your family can help each other, but I often find families do have trouble with this. If you are so insanely busy that life is rushing yourself and children to places, eating take out every night, falling into bed and doing it all over again, then something has to change and give. There is no time for little ones to learn to do things for their parents, and no time for parents to deeply give of themselves. Many of the families who read this blog follow a simpler lifestyle as found in Waldorf parenting and education, but I also have many families from many different walks of life who read this blog. It is important to honor where people are, and also to help and encourage families to simplify if they are not in a place that is sustainable. A wonderful read for this process is Kim John Payne’s “Simplicity Parenting.” I hope to go through this book chapter by chapter on the blog in 2016.
There are often opportunities to volunteer as a family if you search. Many volunteer opportunities are for those over 16, yet if you look (and your state homeschooling Facebook pages can often be a good place to start!) you can find opportunities that can involve the entire family. Your place of worship may also have these opportunities.
Start small, and start at home with your own family and children…and once that is feeling smooth to you, you can look to shine light in your little corner of the world with something that you feel deeply about.