I watched a little girl yesterday at the pool. She was about four years old, and ran around the pool in hot pursuit of her older brother and his friends. When he jumped in the pool, she jumped in the pool. When he ran to the other side of the pool, she ran to the other side of the pool. A mom sitting near me remarked, “Isn’t that cute? She has to do everything he does.”
Yes, indeed, my friends. This is the power of imitation for small children, and that is a foundational hallmark for young children in Waldorf Education in the early years. I find though, that imitation extends far beyond the early years.
Children not only imitate what they see, what they hear. They also absorb our energy, our attitudes, our ways of dealing with things right down into their soul. This is all the more reason to work on “our stuff” – whatever that spiritual stuff may be. All the more reason to deal with our trauma – our own the trauma carried by how our past generations suffered. Have you all ever read this article about how how trauma is carried through generations ?
There was an article about the ten habits of chronically unhappy people. It was very interesting, and pointed once again to the fact that as parents and as homeschooling families, we have to be very on top of our own attitudes, views, and what we are modeling.
Every day we can get up and begin with a spiritual practice. Many like to do this in the morning before their children awake. I understand this with very tiny children. However, do make sure you are modeling something of your spiritual practice when your children are awake! Otherwise, they never see you doing anything. This could be reading from sacred texts, meditating or praying, saying outloud positive things in response to a situation.
Every day, I ask myself how can I model:
Gratitude for this present moment. Accepting and finding pleasure with where things are in this moment.
Connection to others in community. The biggest place of connection is within our homes and with our own family members living in our homes, and our extended families. However, this can also happen in places outside the home and family. It may happen for you through your neighborhood, through your friends, through a place of worship, through a group to which you belong. Connecting and serving is so powerful.
Accountability and responsibility for my own actions. Where was I wrong? I am wrong a lot; mistakes are okay. A mistake is just moving forward with more experience.
What we are being called to is so much more important than what curriculum we pick, what activities our children do. What we are doing is literally being called to stop generations of trauma, pessimism, and fear. What we are being called to do is to help our children learn how to cope with the world. It is not going to be perfect. Life is messy, but let’s show them how it is done.