Building For Justice and Peace: The Fourth Day of Christmastide

This morning, the day of the Christian Holy Feast of the Innocents,  I was meditating on this piece about the humility of children from a Roman Catholic source.  It pointed out  how children are the builders for justice, peace, and truth. Children have a way of getting to the heart of things.

I really want my children to be bearers for this generation of these values and ideals.  I want them to not only be able to take care of themselves, but also to be able to take care of those around them who are suffering, who are poor, who are needy, and to be able to have a moral compass that will help them stand up for social justice and truth in a context greater than themselves.

In doing this, I have been thinking about:

Modeling Compassion and a Moral Compass-  Children are watching, and I better walk what my talk is saying.  It is sort of like saying, “You cannot watch TV (but I will watch 15 hours a day on my computer or phone”).  We cannot say we want our children to demonstrate a value for justice and peace if we do nothing to show compassion in our own family and in our community, and if we live a life completely separate and without regard for what we espouse.

Respect – If we cannot respect our children when they speak up, how on earth do we expect them to be able to speak up on important issues or when they have the differing opinion from a room full of people?

Humilty – It is not up to us to save the world by ourselves.  But it is up to us to do our part and to shine our light where we can. We need others to show us, help us, heal us, and strive together.  Change can be slow, slower than we often would like.   We must be humble and acknowledge that it takes long, hard work to make effective change whether in ourselves or on a societal level and it takes more than just ourselves.  There are many stars shining in the darkness.  Respecting the boundaries between what I can do myself and what I can’t without sacrificing my own family or my own health is part of that humility.

Community – Living in a community of people dedicated to justice and peace will not only push us as adults toward greater education, knowledge, and activism, it will help us model for our children and control our own egotism.  It helps us share comfort, forgiveness, and reconciliation as we work together.

Diversity – I have a quote up on my personal Facebook page that “love illuminates.”  Demonstrating love for all and putting those ideals into action is even more important than the words.   Think of others, think of others as individuals, and think about things, even large issues, from that point of view.

Still pondering on this winter day.

Blessings,
Carrie

 

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What’s Your Truth?: The Third Day of Christmastide

I got up this morning and I was thinking about this third day of Christmastide.  For Christians, it is the Feast Day of St. John the Evangelist. One of the familiar symbols for St. John is a chalice, sometimes with a snake emerging from it as by legend he was challenged to drink a cup of poison to show his faith.  He is often represented as an eagle, his truth soaring and illuminating and ever ascending.  In the Celtic tradition, (of which my spiritual path of Anglicanism has strong markings),  St. John was favored over St. Peter and St. Paul.  St. John, the Beloved Disciple,  is said to have leaned against Jesus during the Last Supper and to have heard the heartbeat of Jesus, which in the Celtic tradition became a symbol for this idea of listening  within ourselves for God and for listening to all of creation.  Find the heartbeat.

In parenting, we often have to hold a fine line between the truth and the values we hold and listening, really  listening, to the child and the family members before us and keeping ourselves centered.  Good truth requires not an idealisitic, I-will-get-my-way-for-my-truth-come-hell-or-high-water, but instead a careful consideration of truth, guiding, listening, and not losing our own center. We have to know our own truth and not be tossed about.

Six year olds will fight you and tell you that you are not the boss of them.

Nine year olds are certain there is more out there and possibly you are not all that there is.

Twelve year olds change their minds incredibly fast as to how they want to dip their toe into outside activities – how many, how much, when.

Fifteen year olds are certain you don’t know much about the pressures they are facing and that you cannot listen and really hear them.

What is your truth in the face of that?  And how will you listen?  It is sometimes difficult to fully and wholly listen.  We often want to  form our own response before the other person has really finished speaking. I think in order to be effective illuminators of truth, we have to ask ourselves through inner work what is that truth, why is this our truth and is it rightfully so, and how do we stand for this truth in a way that is harmonious with the unity of the family or others?  What is our responsibility toward ourselves and others, and what boundaries do we need to be healthy in that endeavor?

I encourage you to set up an art station for a few hours this week – paints, colored pencils, pens – and see out of this free artistic spirit what prayers and truths arise for the coming year.  These are precious days in winding down this year.

Blessings during these Holy Nights and days of Christmastide,

Carrie

 

The Fourth Week of Advent and a SPECIAL offer

This year, the fourth week of Advent is very short since it is also Christmas Eve Day and then we are thrust into the joy and splendor of Christmastide!  There are some wonderful activities for the fourth week of Advent, including baking gingerbread men, adding human figures to your Advent spiral.  There are wonderful stories for this week.

But most of all, this fourth week of Advent is about LOVE for humankind. Are there any single mothers who might need your help?  Maybe their children would like to go shopping and get their parent a gift.  Are there any people around you who you know are having such a tight Christmas financially that maybe a card for groceries would make a huge difference?  Is someone suffering through grief and loneliness this holiday?  Can you listen, walk with them, have them over.

This is a short week this Advent, but I really encourage you to look outside of your realm and see if you can help anyone else.  I am grateful we were in a space this year to help several families out.  It really was the best!  Let us teach our children that this is what Advent and Christmastide is all about!

I had several mothers contact me this past week about working with them to set new patterns and new intentions in their family life and homeschooling.  I don’t normally do consulting and answer a lot of email questions for free.  I have for years and years.  But this year, in a spirit of love and encouragement, I am offering half hour and full hour phone consultations through the month of January.  If you would like a phone consultation, with me please email be at admin@theparentingpassageway.com to reserve your spot.

Many blessings to you in this special week.  Looking ahead, may your 2018 be bright.

Blessings,
Carrie

The Third Week of Advent and Preparing for Winter Solstice

This is the beautiful week third week in Advent, in which so many facets of light shine through in different ways and traditions.

In the traditional Christian view of Advent, this is the week that the third candle in the Advent Wreath is lit and it usually is a pink candle, seen as a symbolism of joy and hope.  What I love about this week is that to me it strikes at the heart of simplicity and minimalism.  We don’t need a lot to be happy.  This is the week to hike, play board games with your children, light candles for dinner and be grateful and full of love for all that we have in each other, not in material things.  This can be a great week for adults to evaluate if the materialism of the season has gotten out of control.  If it has, my solution would be to tuck away some of the gifts for the time of Christmastide (you can get gifts throughout Christmastide!), tuck some away for a future birthday or holiday, and to replace some of those material gifts with coupons for the gifts of time or service.

This third week is the week of the Animal kingdom in Waldorf circles.  We celebrate the animals who are waiting for the Christ Child. Here is a back post with ideas for the fourth week of Advent and a few of my favorite things for the fourth week of Advent.

Thursday is Winter Solstice.  I find it a lovely day to bake a sunny bread, just like in the book  “Sun Bread”, to watch the sun rise, and to eat dinner by candlelight. I really enjoyed this post by Backwoods Mama about some other solstice ideas.

Looking ahead, the fourth week of Advent will be very short (Sunday) and then the next day is Christmas with the twelve days of Christmastide to follow. If you need ideas for the twelve days of Christmastide, which traditionally in Waldorf communities is a time of inner work and warm in person connection, try these posts:

The Twelve Days of Christmas

2009- The Twelve Days of Christmas

2011- Christmastide Message

2012- The Twelve Holy Nights: An Introspective Approach

2013- Celebrating Christmastide

Christmastide: Nourish

Christmastide: Forest, Farm, Field, and Stream

I am also looking ahead to the wonderful cozy month of January, when things in the Deep South have always seemed slower for me due to weather.  I have some ideas for celebrating coziness, gratitude, love, and service.

First of all, Epiphany:  A Sweet Epiphany Celebration

January:  Celebrating January

A Few of My Favorite Things for January

This year, I have a volunteer commitment one morning week through January and February, and on Martin Luther King Jr. Day of service on January 15, so I will be limiting some other things for these two months until my longer-term commitment is done.  I am planning ahead for eight weeks of self-care and replenishment since we had a busy and tiring fall.  You will be finding more of my plans as we go along!

Looking forward to Christmastide!

Blessings,

Carrie

The Second Week of Advent

The first Light of Advent; it is the Light of stones:
The Light that shines in seashells, in crystals and our bones.

The second Light of Advent; it is the Light of plants:
Plants that reach up to the sun and in the breezes dance.

The third Light of Advent; it is the light of beasts:
The Light of faith that we may see in greatest and in least.

The fourth Light of Advent;  it is the Light of humankind:
The Light of hope, of thoughts and deeds, the Light of hand, heart and mind.

-Traditional Advent Waldorf Verse

This is the second week of Advent, and one of the most wonderful things about this week is the celebration of the plant kingdom.  If you are looking for some ideas for this second week of Advent, try this back post.

Santa Lucia Day is also this week,  on December 13. I love this festival of light, the baking of buns, and the gesture of generosity and love on this day.

Master Waldorf Early Years teacher Christine Natale has generously shared some wonderful original stories about St. Lucy:

Saint Lucy in Sweden with the help of Saint Stephen

A Little Story for Saint Lucy’s Day

There is also this lovely little story that Tiziana Boccaletti  shared here many years ago on The Parenting Passageway:  A Gentle Santa Lucia Story

Here are few back posts about Santa Lucia Day if you are looking for more:

Happy Santa Lucia Day

Santa Lucia Day in the Waldorf Home (2009)

I would love to hear your plans for the week; please share in the comment box or on The Parenting Passageway Facebook page.

Blessings and love,
Carrie

Great Gifts for Waldorf Homeschooling Mothers

Waldorf homeschooling mothers work so hard!  In a homeschooling world of workbooks and textbooks, Waldorf mothers are often penetrating artistic and academic activities centered around developmental themes for multiple grades.  It is absolutely no easy task, and it takes a lot to bring it every day!

So, with that in mind, I wanted to highlight a few things perhaps you or another Waldorf homeschooling friend would love for the holidays:

For Self-Care

Tea and honey

Beeswax candles

Bath Bombs

Essential Oils

Gift certificate for a massage

Gift certificate for yoga classes

Brush for Dry Skin Brushing

Great lotions or soap

Inner work resources:  Towards the Deepening of Waldorf Education might be a good choice or And Who Shall Teach the Teachers?

 

Books For Thoughtful Family Life

For all mothers:  Adventures in ParentingAnthroposophic Medicine for all the Family: Recognizing and Treating Common Disorders

For mothers with small children: How To Create The Star of Your Family Culture WorkbookWell I Wonder

For mothers with older children  Managing Screen Time: Raising Balanced Children in the Digital Age

 

 

For School: 

Chalk:  These  are on my list to try!

Watercolor Paints

Plant-dyed yarn

Waldorf Education in Practice

I would love to hear what is on your holiday list for yourself this year!

Blessings and love,
Carrie

 

Getting Ready for Advent!

We are so fortunate that Advent begins this year on December 3rd!  I always feel a little behind the ball when Advent starts the weekend directly after Thanksgiving.  So, these few days after Thanksgiving are finding me gathering some of the things we need for our first week of Advent, which will cover December 3rd – December 10th.

For me, there are a few main things I love about this week, including gathering the greens for our Advent wreath and setting that up, (along with gathering the minerals, rocks, bones, and other representations of the mineral kingdom we will use in our wreath this first week); finding our Advent calendar and setting it up; and gathering stories and recipes and things to do for this first week that have to do with Saint Nicholas Day, which is December 6th.

If you would like to learn a little more about Saint Nicholas Day, I suggest these two back posts:

Saint Nicholas Day in the Waldorf Home

Musings on Saint Nicholas and Starting New Holiday Traditions by Christine Natale

I also suggest looking at the wonderful St. Nicholas Center.  There are incredible stories there, including ones by Parenting Passageway contributor Christine Natale!

If you are on the hunt for great books to build your Advent library (or some families will wrap 24 books, one to be unwrapped and read for every day of December until Christmas Day), I suggest the Advent book lists by Elizabeth Foss:

Advent and Christmas with Tomie dePaola

Read Aloud books for Advent

And here is a back post with a book list specifically for Saint Nicholas Day:

Favorite Stories for Saint Nicholas Day

Happy Planning!  I will be posting pictures of some of our activities on The Parenting Passageway Facebook page!

Blessings and love,
Carrie