The Heart Behind Rhythm

 

It is indeed a grievous feature of present-day life that when man meets man there is no understanding between them.” (Rudolf Steiner, 1924, p. 91 – The Roots of Education)

As the new school year is dawning, and I am thinking about how to fit in “track classes” (ones that run all year) and  subjects taught in blocks for our ninth grader, plus two other grades, rhythm is at the forefront of my mind.  But it really isn’t an intellectual function, a head function,  to look at rhythm, is it?   It is a function of the heart and being able to breathe. The breath is something mentioned in Waldorf Education  over and over again. Our physical breath comes from movement, but perhaps it is safe to say that the breathing of our soul forces come from rhythm and the balance that rhythm brings.

It is a function of our love and our kindness toward our families to have unhurried time, unrushed time and to be able to give our children the gift of long periods of time at home in which they can sink into play and rest and dreams.  The most fundamental deep place where rhythm comes from is the cosmos inside of us, and from love and kindness.  This post from Cedar Ring Mama in 2012 has stayed with me for some time. If you haven’t read it recently, you can find it  here.

In a world where we cannot seem to connect to the understanding of each other and humanity of us all, rhythm is a good place to nourish health for our children who will be leading and hopefully changing the world for the better one day soon.  We must begin with the health of these children in mind.  We encourage the base of indepedent thinking through experience when we give time in our rhythm.  We see the humanity of all mankind inside ourselves.

So, I can tell you about how I make a little chart with the 12 months on it and ideas for festivals, or how I choose subjects for blocks and look at the development of my child and where those blocks fit.  I can talk about how to plan blocks and make individual lessons breathe.  I can even tell you how I fit all the things my children need in a school year for learning into each day.  That is important in homeschooling.  But, if I don’t think about the overall rhythm to my family and how homeschooling is a part of this bigger picture of family love and kindness and healthy development, I have not led with my heart.

Kindness and love, the things that happen in unhurried time, is what matters in parenting and in homeschooling.  May all of our values be protected in promoting and encouraging our children to just be and to take time.  May they see and find the cosmos and the unity of humanity within themselves this school year so that we may all understand each other in love.

Blessings,
Carrie

Inspiration and Gratitude for Mother’s Day

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!

My own mother died after a very a long illness  when I had just turned eight, and I was raised by my paternal grandmother.  She had three sisters,and the four of them were very, very close.  I also had an amazing maternal grandmother.  I was very fortunate to have all of them speaking into my life.

 

The grandmother who raised me wrote this in honor of mothers everywhere for a mother-daughter banquet at her church long, long  before I was born and I share it here with you today: Continue reading

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day 31

 

 

We began this journey in January, and we are at the end of our (non-consecutive) 31 days.  In the vein of those who set a New Year’s intention with “one word”, we have progressed through 31 words in order to help build our foundation for homes of peace.  This work grew specifically out of an impulse for parents who wanted help to not yell at their children.

 

Here are our 31 words for your meditation, thought and consideration:

 

open

reconciliation

attentiveness

reverence

courage

love

relentless

unity

building

time

haven

steady

warmth

inner work

re-assess

self-care

joy

boundaries

ho-hum

expectation

expert

quiet

constancy

eagle

potential

struggle

together

self-restraint

authentic leadership

missing

 

Perhaps one of these words resonates strongly with you, and you would like to do artistic work with this word.  Perhaps you would like to carry one of these words in your heart for some time.  There are many ways to work with these ideas in an individual manner.

 

Many blessings, and peace on your home,

Carrie

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day 30

 

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you: missing . Read on for more

 

What are you missing by being so stressed out and angry at your children all the time?

You are missing peace of mind and heart.

You are missing opportunities for good connection and bonding.

You are missing building a great family.

You are missing the joy of having small children which will never come again.

You are missing building great relationships with your children.

You are missing  laughter and fun.

You are missing kindness.

 

Don’t miss out!

Build your gentleness, your kindness and your patience.

Create peace in your homes.

Create connection and bonding.

Create a great family!

Create joy!

Create great relationships!

Create laughter and fun!

Create kindness!

 

Many blessings,

Carrie

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Twenty-Nine

 

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you: authentic leadership. Read on for more

 

Children need a kind, gentle and connected parent.  They also need someone to help guide them, answer their questions, help them think of angles they may not have thought of before, to protect them, to make choices that will support and nourish them, and a myriad of other things.  These things require a gentle and authentic leadership from an adult.

 

You are the adult placed into this child’s life for a reason.  You have experience and gifts and talents to share.  Children are our greatest teachers, but yet we have things to offer with our unhurried time as a leader.

 

Being an authentic leader requires some thinking.  What are your family’s values, and why?  How is this shown, modeled, communicated (to older children)?  What are the characteristics of being an authentic leader?  Do the best leaders yell at people or do they do other things to motivate, teach, guide, and relate?  Do you have a sense of humor, a generous spirit, an ability to laugh and smile?  Do you have an ability to be decisive, to be assertive but not unfair or aggressive?  Can you take the viewpoint of the child, the consciousness of the child into your spirit so deeply and work from that?  All of these qualities have nothing to do with yelling to get what you want.  Yelling is often like trying to steer a car just by honking your horn very loudly!

 

No more yelling.  It doesn’t work at all.  Hug your children and love them.  Life is so short.  Be authentic, and be happy.

 

Blessings,

Carrie

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Twenty-Eight

 

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you: self-restraint. Read on for more

Self-restraint is one of the most important tools we can teach our children, and yet it is often an area in which I see parents struggle themselves.  It is hard to teach that which we do not have or know.  Self-control, self-restraint, is what keeps over-the-top emotional responses in check.  Without self-control, this is so very difficult and I think leads to a house full  of yelling, strife and anger.

Many mothers I meet have, often at the root of anger and yelling, a sense of anxiety, worry or helplessness.  Self-restraint often checks this underlying root problem by providing a bit of a reality check, a bit of detachment for the moment perhaps, and enables us to reject the negativity within.

This may be perhaps one of the hardest things to develop in ourselves, and yet, we must try.  Many articles that one reads about self-control has to do with eating and advises things such as being positive, having a plan in place, having support.  These are things that I advised in the beginning of this series – keeping a journal, having an accountability partner, and looking at self-care.  Do you eat, sleep, exercise?  This is a piece that is the foundation of everything else.

But I think the other piece to this is a more side-ways approach.  Anything that you set your mind to and start and finish from beginning to end helps build self-control and self-restraint.  Many of the mothers I meet and talk to say they are so scattered with everything that needs to happen that they feel they cannot complete anything.  So, practice putting the essential in order and doing the essential completely first.  This works on self-restraint and self-control and will carry over into your parenting.  Other ways we naturally model this is through such disciplines as religious fasting, following an exercise program, following a way to clean our homes during the week, having a rhythm to our days.  All of these steps help build inner self-control.

I think the other piece is to be decisive. Making choices, following through, and being confident will also translate into a parenting that is sure-footed and controlled.  There is such a huge amount of information out there today related to any aspect of parenting, schooling, homeschooling.  An ability to weed through that in some way and make the choices that are right for you and your family in a timely way will also help develop your self-restraint and control.

Lastly, working on what we say and how we say it is so important.  Listening to the other carefully without an agenda, without a judgment is the first step.  To pause, breathe, think and then respond is the last step – if a response is even needed. With children, we often need a calm follow-through in order to help further guide a child’s actions since they often do not work well off of words alone.

 

Think of all the ways in which you build up your self-restraint, and build upon your successes.

 

Blessings and love,
Carrie

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Twenty-Seven

 

 

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you: together. Read on for more

“The Barna Group, a national research group devoted to studying the religious sphere, recently published the results of another long-term study in a book called Unchristian……But the single biggest take-away I  gleaned from reading this book was the important difference between providing youth activities for children, essentially entertaining them and doing things for them, and actually including them in spiritually formative and meaningful ways or doing things with them.”

From “Orthodox Christian Parenting:  Cultivating God’s Creation” by Zoe Press

I am reading this book right now, and this quote really struck me as being indicative of what we have done to the lives of our children in modern society.  It has turned into entertaining our children through activities outside the home. We talk to children as if nothing of import can go on within the home and family, but instead we wait for the big day for the child to move beyond the family by attending school, by being able to do x, y and z.  And yet, in order for children to have a firm footing in not just childhood, but in the teenaged years especially, we need to be be WITH our children and do things WITH our children.  The quote above applied to religious matters, but really also applies to life with children.

If you are having trouble with yelling at your children, then I suggest that you look at TOGETHER.  How are you together with your children and are you present?  When would that happen? What is interfering in that?  Too many outside activities?  What do you do together to build positive memories of time spent together?  How are you passing your values  on to your children through your actions and through time together?

If you are yelling at your children, perhaps you need more time together to solve that challenge,  not less.

I invite you to consider this.

 

Many blessings,
Carrie