Joyful January!

I just love January.  The organizer in me loves new calendars, new organizers, the promise of a new school semester.  The cozy introverted part of me loves the colder weather and being warm and cozy at home, snuggled up with hot chocolate and a good book and having things slow down.  It is going to be a great month in so many ways.

This month we  are celebrating:

Christmastide until Epiphany

6- Epiphany

15- Martin Luther King Jr Day

31 – St. John Bosco, celebrating with books and maybe a viewing of a movie about his life

If you are thinking about:

Rhythm  – this is one of THE best back posts on rhythm for families with children of different ages.  It includes tips for families with early years children to teenagers, and links to a seven part series on rhythm.

Fun things to do with children:  Cut out paper snowflakes, including really cool 3-D snowflakes; dip candles; roll candles; play board games or card games with your children;  draw, paint, model; whittle wood; make popcorn together; bake together; play in the snow – build snow forts; have snowball fights; snowshoe; downhill or cross country ski;  ice skate on a pond; read and tell stories; build forts inside; take a walk outside in the cold – look for animal tracks or berries or birds or all of the above; knit, crochet, cross stitch, finger knit, spin, sew; sing and make music together – learn some new songs; clean, scrub, dust, work around the house – rearrange furniture; go bowling or find an indoor swimming pool to swim in; write letters to family and friends; write stories together; snuggle on the coach with hot chocolate and marshmellows; cook for a neighbor; find a place of worship to attend and get involved; throw a party; clicker train your dog, cat, or other animal; take care of plants; start seeds indoors when it it is time

Meal planning:  I am thinking about overnight steel cut oats for breakfast; soups; roasts; fresh squeezed sunny juices to counteract the cold outside

Health:  Rest and replenishment and getting outside!  Even with the cold!  Have you seen the 365 Mile Challenge?

Reaching Out:  I will be focusing on the issues that is part of the public policy of The Episcopal Church.  We will also be reaching out in service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

My Word of the Year:  #Replenish:  I am setting goals as to what replenishment would look like in action to me.

I would love to hear what you are up to!

Blessings and love,
Carrie

 

 

 

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A Crafted Life

One thing I love about the beautiful and peaceful this winter season and the inner work of Christmastide is the ability to stop and think about how I want to craft our life – for me, for our family.  Do you ever think about that? Many of the parents who read this blog have made very conscious decisions in their parenting in order to provide the healthiest home environment they can for their children, so I know many of you do.

Often I need that mid-school year check in.  Things can so easily get off course depending upon what emergencies came up in the fall.  So I often use this time between Christmas and New Year’s to think about  what are the most pressing needs for each and every family member, including myself, and what would be best for building for the future.  Often what we need and what our family members  changes with the age/developmental stage of our children, the age we are (!!), and the seasons.  So each year, I invite myself to turn inward and think about, “What does my family need?  What does my spouse need?  What do I need? What is the most important and essential thing that we need?”

Sometimes this leads toward me thinking of a word to carry myself through the year.  You can see the little tradition of picking a word for the New Year and some of the things I typically do with that word here.  You can see my word this year, “replenish,” on The Parenting Passageway Facebook page as the pinned post.  Some people will go so far as to choose a word to embody their entire family.  We have a family motto that we have had for years (KIPPA – kindness, integrity, positive attitude, patience, adventure), but I am meditating on the idea of a word for 2018 for our family.

 

People often ask about choosing a word for their year.  Sometimes a word is obvious depending upon what has happened during the year, but if not I usually start by thinking what is the most important and essential thing and will that word help me or us strive in that direction?

Once I have my word, I think then is the time to work artistically with my word and see what arises.  This is almost like the idea of just free artistic journaling as mentioned in  the book The Artist’s Way.  And then I need an action plan if there is anything that needs to happen.  This year, my word will require some action, otherwise how will I feel replensihed if everything remains the same?  Something will have to change in my inner or outer world.  And the final piece is the action. It is not enough even to dream or to have a plan.  As I always tell my children, the dream is free, but the hustle is real!

Can’t wait to hear about your word!

Blessings,
Carrie

Extending Indigenous Cultures Throughout The American Waldorf Curriculum

I wrote posts some time ago about multiculturalism in the Waldorf School curriculum, about extending African studies through the curriculum, and about extending Latin America, particularly the study of the Olmec, Maya, and Aztec tribes, throughout the curriculum.

I  am not sure how many Waldorf homeschooling families subscribe to “Renewal:  A Journal for Waldorf Education”.  It really is a wonderful journal, and brings up many interesting ways of keeping the curriculum open, up to date, and inclusive.  I was very pleased to see the most recent Fall/Winter 2017 issue of “Renewal:  A Journal for Waldorf Education” had an article entitled, “Indigenous Cultures and the Waldorf Curriculum:  Suggestions for Grades One Through Eight” by Adam Jacobs and Ronald Koetzsch.  This article grew out of the 2016 Rudolf Steiner College’s conference on the “California Indian Curriculum and Stories.”  There were suggestions in this article how different pieces of the indigenous cultures fits into every grade of the Waldorf curriculum, and where it views might  be discongruent.  This is especially important as Waldorf Education is now established both on the Pine Ridge Reservation (Lakota; United States) and on the Six Nations of the Grand River Reservation (all six Iroquois nations living together; Canada), and I imagine will continue to expand over the coming years.

Suggestions included:

Grade 1 – Native American tales.  Of course the expectation is to find Native authors who have told these tales, not European versions of these tales.  One book recommended included “A Broken Flute:  The Native Experience in Books for Children” and the website American Indians in Children’s Literature.

Grade 2 – Possibilities for the Saints blocks included Deganawida (Iroqouis), Black Elk (Oglala Lakota), and Wovoka (Northern Plains).  Animal stories are always used in second grade, and this article talked about the disparity between the western view of animals as less developed and the Native view of animals as “models of behavior to be observed and integrated.”  This is important to know as we teach.

Grade 3 – Creation stories (Although important for the teacher to note that  in a Native American framework, creation is always present and occurring). Many North American homeschoolers combine Native American studies with the shelter and fiber  blocks of Third Grade, which was not mentioned in this article.

Grade  4 – Trickster tales where the trickster is crossing the boundaries between good and evil, heaven and earth are often found in Native American tales and appropriate for those in fourth grade and past the nine year change.  (And yes, we often hear about trickster tales in second grade. The first time I heard about trickster tales in fourth grade was in the Math By Hand curriculum, which is also out of California.  I found this interesting!) According to the article, another place to consider integrating Native Americans includes the biographies of great Native leaders in local geography.  There were suggestions for dealing with colonial encounters with the book, “American Indian Myths and Legends” and Thomas King’s “A Coyote Columbus Story.”  I have not personally seen these books, so I have no recommendation. I tend to tread lightly on colonialism and its horrors in fourth grade and really delve into depth with these topics in middle school and high school, so I think every homeschooling family will decide what is right for them.

I find it interesting there is no mention of Native American views integrated with the Man and Animal block.

Grade  5 – It was acknowledged that there are “at least three cradles of civilization that are not usually emphasized in Waldorf schools – the North China Valley, the Andean area, and Mesoamerica.”    This article suggests including the Classic Mayan civilization for certain, and talks about how many Waldorf schools are already including China.  You can see the link to the back post I linked above regarding Latin America as to how I have integrated the Mesoamerican and Andean civilizations into our homeschooling.

Grade 6 –  The article mentioned the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Confederation could be an intersting political model in addition to the Roman Empire.

Grade  7 – Noted that “The Age of Discovery” and  such terms are very Eurocentric (and, in my view, no longer needed). Do bring in stories of Ibn Battutu ( see my back posts on Africa to delve deeper into this), Zheng He, and the Polynesian people. I think most Waldorf homeschoolers I know have been doing this for years, but glad to see it mentioned here.

One lovely thing mentioned here is that the “spiritual destiny” of the Americas was not to have indigenous people subjugated and their lands taken away and their resources exploited. I also was very glad to see this in print and hope all Waldorf schools and teachers take note of this.  This is an Age of Colonialism, and the bad things that went along with this and also the contributions of the Native Peoples (farming, navigation, diplomacy, etc) to the very survival of the colonists can be noted. Such a duality!

Grade 8 – One other duality  mentioned in this article to bring in during block  regarding the Industrial Revolution and Westward Expansion is the duality that while the genocide of Native Americans was occurring on American soil,  the ideas of the  Haudenosaunee Confederacy were helping to shape governmental structure.

Over all of the intermeshing of the ideals of both some Native American tribes and Waldorf Education is ethical individualism,  where every act of the individual is  seen as one of spirituality and one of responsibility.  This is embodied in the Great Law of Peace and as an ideal  in Waldorf Education as the pinnacle of the developing human being.

Many Blessings,
Carrie

 

An Outline of Fifth Grade Ancient Mythologies

Fifth grade Ancient Mythologies is an interesting block. I find it to be one of the more anthroposophic blocks of fifth grade in a way, because the platform underneath this block is really in tracing the development of the spiritual consciousness of  (Western) man through several different civilizations.  Typically this starts with Ancient India, Ancient Persia, Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt (and I always include more about Ancient Africa here!),  and landing in Ancient Greece.  Some Waldorf schools include Ancient China, which doesn’t really fit into Steiner’s original nod to the development of the Western consciousness, but I think is important before getting to sixth grade history proper.  So this isn’t really about history per se, but a child is getting a great feel for these cultures, how the people thought and lived at the time, what the land was like and how people lived on the land, and how the consciousness of people changed over time.

Some of my favorite resources for this block includes:

  • Any of the Live Education books on these subjects
  • Chapters From Ancient History  by Dorothy Harrer
  • Ancient Mythologies by Charles Kovacs
  • The Christopherus Ancient Mythology book (Ancient China is included in the main fifth grade syllabus, but not this separate book).

So I think in trying to combine all of this in a broad, sweeping view one must, like in any block about a place, time or culture, look for the things that are the incredible hallmarks that one finds in these civilizations that provide the big picture keys to the land, the people, the thinking process of those people and how the thinking changed or evolved.

Here are some of my brief notes on each of these areas that might help you:

At the beginning of this block, I like to talk about time  and some ideas about how we look at large blocks of time, BCE, millenia, century, generation, etc.  You can get into this a little more in mineralogy and such, but I think it is worth a mention before you look at these very ancient stories!

Ancient India:

The Land -Basic Ideas:  The vastness; the Himalayas – the throne of the gods; the Indus and the Ganges Rivers; I touched on Harappa not so much as a history proper lesson but to plant the idea that civilizations often spring up around rivers just like we saw in our local geography in fourth grade;  six major climatic subtypes.  I find painting to be a good way to express landscape variety in fifth grade.

The People /The Thinking – as illuminated best by the great stories : The Creation Story (About Hinduism website); a story about Indra comes next in the Kovacs book but I could not find that on the About Hinduism website so we moved into story about the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.  Some of the major concepts of Hinduism. The story about Brahma and his four heads; Vishnu and Lakshmi;  Shiva;  we did the story of Manu and used the story of Manu and the Flood; the caste system; the laws of Manu; the sacredness of the cow; the story of the sons of Pandu from the Mahabharata.

The story of Rama and Sita is in Live Education, Dorothy Harrer’s book and Christopherus has a play version.  The story of Rama and Sita is often told at Diwali, so a community celebration may also bring this to life.

Experiential Learning: a field trip to your local mandir would be fantastic, especially around Diwali.  Cooking.  Ancient Indian Music.  Make a 3D map of India.

General Ideas:  The book “Come Unto These Yellow Sands” has “Look to this Day” from the Sanskrit, the Dorothy Harrer book has “The Song of Creation” from the Rig Veda.  “A Journey Through Verse and Time” also has part of the Rig Veda in it. The  “Story of Brahma” by Ralph Waldo Emerson.  There is a poem regarding the caste system on page 221 of “A Journey Through Verse and Rhyme”

Free Resources to Love: Waldorf Inspirations Fifth GradeHomeschooling Waldorf blog post

Read Alouds:  The Iron Ring by LLoyd Alexander.

Ancient Persia:

The Land: A land of extreme heat and cold,  flat plains that caused Persia to be invaded over the years; no major rivers for travel; the Zagros Mountain area,

The People/The Thinking – as illuminated by the great stories -“Knowledge of self is knowledge of God”; Zoroastrianism, which is considered an early influence on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and one of the first monotheistic religions; the Avesta (the holy book of Zoroastrianism) and the battle between Ahura Mazdao and Ahriman; how people moved into farming.  I think the best stories for this part are those found in Kovacs’ book. The Wise Men are also a good story to include.

Experiential Learning:  Drawings of the stories of Zarathustra; find a family or communal celebration of Nowruz, the Persian New Year. Paintings of the land, modeling of stars or daggers; dioramas of first farming; cooking Persian food.

General Ideas:   I find this a good time to review writing fantastic sentences and paragraphs.   Verse on page 222 of “A Journey Through Time in Verse and Rhyme.”

Free Resources to Love:  There is a play about Zarathustra in the Hawthorne Valley Harvest Elementary play collection, available for free here.  Sheila has a lovely post with ideas here

Ancient Mesopotamia:

The Land:  The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers; the impact of this on the Sumerians, Babylonians, and the Assyrians.  Farming and domestication of animals.

The People/The Thinking:  The story of Marduk in Kovacs; the story of Hammurabi; ziggurats and astronomy; the famous hanging gardens; the story of Gilgamesh; the irrigation system of the Mesopotamia; Cuneiform writing; Hammurabi’s Code; the invention of the wheel.

Experiential Learning:  Clay tablets; ziggurat models or paintings; paintings of the land, glue painted plaques from Pinterest, make sand clay, drawings of Gilgamesh.

Free Resources/General Ideas:  This is a nice blog post from Five of Us

Read Alouds: Gilgamesh, of course!

Ancient Egypt:

The Land:  The Land of Egypt; The Nile, The Flooding of the Nile

The People/The Thinking – as illuminated by great stories:  The Creation Myth; The Birth of Osiris and Isis; The Terror of Sekmet; Ra’s Secret Name; any of the other many Egyptian Mythologies; life in Ancient Egypt; the pyramids; Hieroglyphics and the Rosetta Stone;  mummies (why?  what does this have to do with the afterlife?)

I like to extend into Ancient Africa here – there are more pyramids in Sudan than Egypt!  Places to begin might include Nubia and artistic work around that and how Egypt was conquered by  Nubia (this National Geographic article might be helpful with this idea); the Zaire Basin and the Mbuti; The Creation Story of the San People.

Experiential Learning:  Drawings and paintings of the Egyptian stories; drawing and paintings of the pyramids and the landscape; working with making paper;  visiting Egyptian artifacts at your local museum; making an Egyptian feast

Resources:  Tales of Ancient Egypt by Roger Lancelot Green; Hymn to Ra; background reading for the teacher might be this article:  Waldorf Journal Project #4. There are also some free resources on Main Lesson.Com. “Pyramid” by David Macauley.

Read Alouds:  The Golden Goblet or Mara of the Nile

That is just a bit to start you on!  It isn’t hard to put together these blocks, and the library often is an incredible source of free resources.

Blessings,

Carrie

 

 

Chore Wars No More!

Not too long ago, I posted a picture on The Parenting Passageway Facebook page about how I taught our seven-year-old (eight years old soon) how to do his own laundry and tossed a picture of our (rather ugly) chore chart up there as well.  One of the major questions was how to get children to do chores without whining, complaining, bickering, fighting back, needing a million reminders.

I don’t think I have yet discovered that secret, but I do have a few things to share that have helped us over the years….

CHORES ARE JUST PART OF LIFE.  For a long time, I didn’t even refer to doing household work as “chores.”  That just sounds so negative to many of us!  I referred to it as “taking care of our home” (or our pet, or each other).  We do it out of love and gratitude that we are all living together and have a roof over our heads and enough to eat, and it isn’t a negotiable thing.  We just do it. We are a team, and we take care of each other because that is what living in a family is all about.

So in that vein, I had to discover…

REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS FOR THE CHILD.  For children under 7, I don’t expect much but weaving in and out of most adult work, being able to assist me with things as part of our daily rhythm (so maybe there is a wood polishing/dusting day, and all the supplies are out and ready.  And we do it together!  Maybe it is soup day and I have the veggies ready to cut, a cutting board out, etc,  and we do it together!).

Self-care is part of “chores” at this age.  The average age of a child being able to dress independently is five.  So in allowing leeway for deviations above and below the mean, you can see how even this little bit of self-care might not be super realistic for some children.  But, I would break things up that I wanted  to see a child work toward into baby steps.  Maybe it was helping lay clothes out at night. Maybe it was the child can get the shirt on, but needs help with the pants or shoes, etc.   and just keep working slowly toward complete success.

We develop good daily habits by using our daily rhythm as mentioned above for things that are nourishing to our home and family, and in picking up the toys before dinner (unless it is a great building project or something!), putting our clothes in the hamper, picking up our room before or after dinner, etc.  At this point, it is all routine and habit we are doing together for the more “personal” chores – self-care, taking care of our room.

If you have multiple children under the age of 7, I would divide them into teams so you are dealing with two at one time and not more than two.  However, that is just me.  I would make sure we were doing things together, and that the expectations were very clear as to what needed to happen – steps before bedtime, cleaning things up, where the supplies are,  how to do it, and how to put the supplies away.  If there was pushback, I tend to try either imaginative, pictorial talk (put that pumpkin in the wheelbarrow might be an example for putting a shirt into the hamper), or if I am exhausted, it may be more just standing there with me looking at them until they decide to do what they know they are supposed to, or we keep on  doing  it together if it really is to hard to do it alone.  And I really evaluate that.  Usually before bed is a generally terrible time to have a lot of expectations, so looking at what time you are expecting things to happen also helps.

Some little boys in particular as not really motivated unless you mention times, or a race, and then they race around to do things in order to beat the clock or what have you.

In First Grade, age 7, I have children do chores but often I am in the same room either doing it with them or sending them off with me watching them and available to help.  Maybe I am folding laundry and they are off watering plants in that room or the surrounding rooms.  I have shown them the expectations, how to do it, how to clean up the tools needed, and I am available for questions. Hopefully our daily rhythm and doing self-care for so many years has helped develop skills in taking care of self and self-space. I still expect a first grader to need help brushing teeth and bathing and all of that – some need help all the way into being 10! Every child is different, so look at your child, and decide how you can empower them to be capable.

In Second Grade, age 8, I expect more of an ability to get out the tools they need for family cleaning and care on their own and do the chore, but I am still around. A chore chart is a good reminder of what needs to be done.  At this point, I do not include things such as dressing, or self-care or even making a bed or picking up a room as part of chores. These are things that happen because it is the right thing to do and the chore chart has things that help the whole family.  I usually do include on the chore chart bringing sheets down to be washed, doing laundry, and cleaning of a room on the chart.  You could do this any way that you wanted that made sense to you!

For Third Grade, age 9 to age 14, I know that children of this age are highly distractable. If you send them off to do a chore, chances are they will forget what you asked them to do before they even get there.  So, my solution to that is to  use a chore chart (less ability to argue when it is just what is on the board), pick certain times of the day when chores are done and I am around to help, assist, direct, or remind. I usually pick before lunch and after dinner, because it is easy to remind a child before they sit down to eat and ask if their chores are done and to check those chores out!  Did they do it the way I wanted?

For those ages 15-18, I assume the reason chores do not happen is that these teenagers are so busy doing other things.  They are engrossed in school work or doing something!  So, my fix to this is to use a chore chart, and to make it so I check the chores before they are heading out somewhere else. If the chores aren’t done, then they need to take the 15-30 minutes to do the chores and then they can go.

I would love to hear your chore dilemma and how you do things in your house! We all do it differently, and there is no one right way.  You will find the best way for your family and your particular children!  Chores and caring for our surroundings is our first experience with team work that we need the rest of our lives, so I think it is super important and worth persisting and making the time to teach our children how to do it all.

Blessings,
Carrie

Conversations With My Daughter

A long time ago, when my oldest daughter who will be sixteen in a few weeks was around ten (!!!), I wrote a blog post about some of the things I hoped to impart to her.  In this post, I talked about how since my mother died when I was young, she never had a chance to talk to me about any of the things about navigating being a  teenager or young adult, so I felt as if this conversations were really important and how I hoped to layer in discussion over time.

Since then, my surprise is that many women whose mothers were or are alive also didn’t receive ANY direction or guidance about navigating being a young adult!  There were no discussions on how to navigate choosing a career, finances, living on one’s own, choosing a partner for life, raising children, creating a family.  It was almost as if the child or teen would pick it up by osmosis, or figure it out for him or herself.  It rather floors me!

I had a little list in the blog post I linked above, and like to think I have imparted some guidance on each of these areas at this point.  This is very personal to our family since it includes living as an Episcopalian and in accordance with our baptismal vows since this is our family’s faith and often influences our politics as well; the foundation of Christian life; talks about marriage and children; serving others; boundaries; respecting oneself; healthy communication; the facets of health including whole food nutrition, homeopathy , herbs, movement and chiropractic care and how a woman changes throughout the life span;  money and finances.  You can come up with your own list based on your own family’s values, and that is really much of the fun! What do you think is super important that your teen needs to know to thrive in our world as a young adult?

Lately, we have been focusing on finance and insurance. Personal finance can be an area that is difficult for parents to discuss with teens. Sometimes it comes up when a  teen gets a job and opens a bank account or has to save for a large purchase such as a car.  However, it is also wonderful to talk about saving and types of saving, contributing to charities, and types of insurance that one has to carry, and how finances change over the life span. One thing I have recently pointed out to my oldest is that many people my age (47) don’t have much in the way of savings for retirement because either they weren’t interested in that in their 20s and 30s or life happened and much of the savings is now gone or that they really went out and bought too large a house and too many new things when they were starting out.  Some people my age are also still saddled under large student loans from college.  So, I have stressed that is important to start saving even in your teens and throughout the 20s and 30s and ways to free up enough money to do this (one: don’t live above your means!).  One resource some homeschooling moms of teens  use to discuss finance are the free materials from  The Actuarial Foundation.   Such things as developing a budget and the use of credit (or not) can also be discussed.  Credit ratings for buying a home is another area of interest.   The other point we have been talking about includes all types of insurance.  Many parents discuss car insurance with their teen drivers, but often don’t talk about homeowners insurance, medical insurance, life insurance ( and the difference between whole and term insurance), disability insurance, and long-term care insurance.  We plan to use the personal finance things in eleventh grade, so that should be interesting.

In the last few years my teen will be home, I also want to talk more about choosing a partner in life and the course of marriage. I find this is one area in which many women say they received absolutely no guidance other than they would date and fall in love…and from there, things were rather nebulous.  What traits should one look for in a spouse?  Why do some marital relationships fail over time and why do others thrive?   What boundaries should one have in intimate relationships?  What really does  make  a marriage thrive?  How do marriages change  if you have children?  Some resources I have found include the “Boundaries” book series, (this is  Christian, and I am certain there most be secular versions of this type of material).  The Gottman Institute also has a number of good articles on their blog and in their books regarding this subject.  I also have plans to discuss some of the concepts in this article and some things about narcissism  as many women my age are telling me they are married to narissists or have identified their own fathers as one.

The other area of focus I am also thinking about recently  includes child development, developing a family culture, taking care of a home, and how to guide children by developmental stage.  This is, of course, something that has been modeled all of these years, but I think it is important to say it in words and to really talk about it.  We will be doing health this year, so  some of these facets  will be part of our health class.

I would love to hear what you are talking about to your teen lately!  If you have found any great articles or resources that would be a terrific springboard for discussion with daughters, I would love to hear about it!

Blessings,
Carrie

 

A Discipline Toolbox

The major discipline tools for all ages are

  • Empathy/Compassion
  • Correction (The Boundary)
  • Consequences and Restitution

If you have only empathy/compassion without the correction, then you have an empty discipline toolbox indeed.  All three parts are needed to have a functioning toolbox to help guide children into becoming healthy adults who can have functioning relationships, families, and jobs of their own.

Children may protest boundaries, but yet it is ours to lovingly hold boundaries until are children can internalize the boundaries and hold them for themselves.  Only providing a child with compassion or empathy, and no boundary and no consequence, will not help a child internalize that.   Many parents I work with will protest this and wonder why we need boundaries at all, but boundaries are where I end and you begin.  Boundaries are what enable healthy relationships;  they enable us to be able to take our responsibility for things in life but also to not hold things that are not ours to carry.  We can help our children attain this, using all three of these pieces.

If boundaries are difficult for you, then it  may be hard to teach it to your children and hard for you to hold boundaries. It may be that nothing short of hurting someone else deserves a boundary.  However, there are many tools children need to function in the world that involve more than just not being able to hurt someone, and boundaries are there to help develop these qualities.  We want children to know who they are, what they are responsible for, how to intiate and maintain loving relationships.  Because in the end, you are not raising this child for yourself.  You are raising this child for all of humanity, and for this child’s future family.  Sometimes, this means uncomfortable growth for both us and for the child.  And that is okay.

Always and ever growing,

Carrie