Wednesday, December 23, 2009

10 New Year's Resolutions for a Waldorf-Inspired Homeschooling Mom


I know it is early but I ponder that I won't be on the computer much till after the New Year so.

Happy Holidays to Everyone!
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The New Year, no matter when people have celebrated it, has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, looking forward to the coming year. It is time to reflect on the changes we want, or often need, if we're to have the motivation to grow and move forward. Resolutions are a reflection of the Babylonians' belief (over 4000 years ago) that what a person does on the first day of the New Year will have an effect throughout the entire year....

Rudolf Steiner reminds us: "On New Year's Eve it is always fitting to remember how past and future are linked together in life and in the existence of the world, how past and future are linked in the whole life of the Cosmos of which man is a part, how past and future are linked in every fraction of that life with which our own individual existence is connected, is interwoven through all that we were able to do and to think during the past year, and through all that we are able to plan for the coming year."

Rudolf Steiner, Thoughts on New Year's Eve, December 31, 1919

Here are my resolutions for the upcoming year....

1) I will be aware of and teach the three fundamental human virtues to my children: Gratitude, Love and Duty.

Traditional Waldorf Teachers consider the Moral education of children to be one of their primary tasks. Gratitude, Love and Duty: Steiner asks that we sow the seeds and cultivate these three fundamental human virtues. Children should say grace before each meal to express their reverence for the earth and her gifts.... Gratitude is the basis for love. When children deepen their appreciation for the natural world, they deepen their love for all of creation. To be grateful, we shall say 5 blessings/verses each day. (morning blessings, three meals and evening blessing or prayer) To show love we shall work on the relationships we have the greatest struggles with. To practice our duty we will reach out into the community and practice kindness (mowing elderly lady's lawn - free, bringing soup to an ill friend, etc...) I will give my children daily work tasks (based on their ages & skill levels) and make sure I guide them through the rhythm of completing those tasks.

Great book reading

Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting

Everyday Blessings


2) I will embrace the diversity of my neighbors and teach my children compassion and understanding.

My goodness, ESPECIALLY in these times and with all that is in the news, on the discussions, etc. at the close of this year, is it not of the highest importance that we remember to honor the fact that while we are all different, we are all the same.

I have encountered an great deal of love, and ignorance this year during my travels. People surprised me with their prejudices and their lack of compassion. It was a great lesson for my children to have witnesses both of these extremes and to decide from themselves which path they would strive to work towards... the path of love and light. I will continue to offer them answers to their curiosities based on facts we can research together instead of quick answers based on our own ignorance.... I look forward to learning ALONGSIDE my children about the different peoples, our brothers and sisters in the world.

Additionally, all learning begins at home. Often we get the most misunderstanding from our own families. (Especially since most of us have chosen a non-conventional path and we have special gift lists, tv rules, etc... that drive grandma and grandpa crazy!) We must make PEACE with our families and love them, for they are karmically destined to be who they are. I so strongly suggest Mary Piphers book, which I read each year to remind myself to be gentle with my own.

Looking around the world, what do we see? It depends on who we are. It depends on how we look, it depends on what we are able to see. In other words, what we see is predicated by a philosophical problem: seeing and reality are not analogous.


Some great books for Children on Diversity:

Hat's Off to Hair!

All the Colors of the Earth (Mulberry Books)

All the colors of the Earth!

Book of Peoples of the World: A Guide to Cultures (National Geographic)

Peoples of the World

3) I will create a rhythm in my life and remember that all things in the universe flow through such a rhythmic process.

Rudolf Steiner said "Rhythm is the carrier of life". The Essense Gospel of Peace tells us "In between the breathing in and the breathing out lie all the mysteries of the Infinite Garden."

In 1729, French astronomer Jean Jacques d'Ortuous de Marian isolated plants that demonstrated daily leaf movements in dark rooms for several days. He found that even in the absence of sunlight, the plants continued to open their leaves during the day and close during the night. He concluded that the observed cycle was not a result of external forces (sun) but was an innate property of the plant. Here, the study of biological clocks began. The biological clock sets a daily rhythm, or cycle, which influences organisms' physiological functions and behaviors; this rhythm is called a circadian rhythm ("circa" means around and "dia" means day). All organisms have biological clocks, although they may vary greatly depending on the organism's activities.

Isn't that amazing in itself? Having a rhythm is NATURAL and what we rely on and, in fact NEED. Children naturally have a love for repetition and rhythm, drawn to it instinctively. This is why little ones want you to do the same finger play or story over and over again. I will, even amidst chaotic days, strive to keep the rhythm and allow my children to feel and experience their own rhythms this coming year.

Recommended reading:

Seven Times the Sun: Guiding Your Child Through the Rhythms of the Day

Seven times the Sun!



4) I will not beat myself up for not doing it "right".

How can there be a "right way" if we are all different individuals who are in different stages of our own growth and learning. Stop pressuring yourself to keep up with the Jones' and relax. You know when you are giving it your all and doing your best.

But I do my best, and my personal best is what's right for me. I will congratulate myself and feel good about what I do and how I go about doing it more often. I have a great deal of common sense and that will carry me through. Steiner stands out firstly for insisting that knowledge gained from insight, instinct and experience are not only as valuable as logical reasoning, but take precedence over it. Thus, common sense is more important than even the most highly trained intellect, which is obvious to everyone but intellectuals. This, by the way, helps further to account for his absence from the ranks of our academic heroes.

Recommend reading :

Affirmations--Your Passport to Happiness

Affirmations


5) I will honor simplicity and bring more of it into my home curriculum.

Why complicate things? Why create a rigid schedule that no one would be able to keep up with to fulfill someone else's idea of "supermom"? No. I will keep things simple this year. I will not take on more that I can handle and I will honor myself before I commit to extend energies to others... In the past I have taken on to much this in turn would cause me to be impatient with my own family and feel tired and cranky, ill. This is not what I am supposed to be doing. I am supposed to be a mother of three children, wife to a wonderful man and, ME. I need to feed my soul and allow myself the prioritizing of my energies.

My children need an environment where less is more and I must commit to go through at the end of each month and throw or give away the toys and games not played with, the clothes not worn, etc. Our lives slowly begin to be taken over by clutter and it not only makes a mess in the house - it makes a mess in our deepest inner beings. We create a space of chaos where we should believing in a place of sanctuary and retreat. I will do a spring cleaning regularly, no matter the time of the year and we will live with the basics.

Recommended reading:

Living the Simple Life: A Guide to Scaling Down and Enjoying More

Living a Simple life


6) I will turn off the noise and allow myself and my children to retreat into the silence.

Quieting the mind has long been championed as a means to enlightenment, balance, peace, serenity and a multitude of other wonderful states. Traditionally we have been encouraged to find a quiet place and create an environment and a routine or practice that centers us and allows the mind to become quiet. Unfortunately, many of us live in a world filled with noise, deadlines, chaos, health and emotional crisis and we are not able to create and maintain a 'silent' practice of quieting the mind.

"Practicing silence means making a commitment to take a certain amount of time to simply Be. Experiencing silence means periodically withdrawing from the activity of speech. It also means periodically withdrawing from such activities as watching television, listening to the radio, or reading a book. If you never give yourself the opportunity to experience silence, this creates turbulence in your internal dialogue. Set aside a little time every once in a while to experience silence. Or simply make a commitment to maintain silence for a certain period each day. You could do it for two hours, or if that seems a lot, do it for a one-hour period. And every once in a while experience silence for an extended period of time, such as a full day, or two days, or even a whole week.

What happens when you go into this experience of silence? Initially your internal dialogue becomes even more turbulent. You feel an intense need to say things. I've known people who go absolutely crazy the first day or two when they commit themselves to an extended period of silence. A sense of urgency and anxiety suddenly comes over them. But as they stay with the experience, their internal dialogue begins to quieten. And soon the silence becomes profound. This is because after a while the mind gives up; it realizes there is no point in going around and around if you - the Self, the spirit, the choice-maker - are not going to speak, period. Then, as the internal dialogue quietens, you begin to experience the stillness of the field of pure potentiality."

I will honor the silence and teach my children that moments of silence are the food for our inner bodies. I will actively practice silence weekly.


Recommended reading:

Silence: How to Find Inner Peace in a Busy World


Silence: How to find Inner peace in a busy world


7) I will work with and not against my children's temperaments.

My children are all so different and it all has to do with their temperaments. I can't fight that! I cannot mold them into something they are not - nor do I want to. I will be conscious of their differences and individuality and most of all, their temperaments. I will re-read the works that brought me to the understanding and meditate on how I can improve my rapport during difficult times with my family members...

Recommended reading:

Children and Their Temperaments

Children and Their Temperaments


8) I will be conscious of my body language and remember that children do as we DO more than as we SAY.

As we all know, Waldorf educators model behavior, rather than instruct it. As parents this should not be a part of our homeschooling curriculum, but rather a path we walk through out our entire lives. I will strive to be a worthy role model so that out of imitation, my children will have the opportunity to become respectful of themselves, others and their own surroundings.

Rudolf Steiner said "Everything that adults do makes an impression on the child's soul. These impressions work their way into the child's breathing, circulation and metabolism and can affect that child's health in later life."

Recommended reading:

As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap PDF File

9) I will applaud and embrace myself for having the continuing strength, determination and drive.

I like me. I like me more and more each passing day and that is a good thing from a person who suffered with major self esteem issues her whole life. I WILL applaud and embrace myself for having the continuing strength, determination and drive because I deserve to! My children need to se a self confident and happy person at the wheel and not someone who allows the judgments of others bring her down. I know in my heart of hearts that I am me in this life for a reason, and I accept me. :-) You should accept you, too! (Makes for much happier mommy-ing!)

Recommended Reading:

Eat Mangoes Naked: Finding Pleasure Everywhere (and dancing with the Pits)

Eat Mangoes Naked - Finding Pleasure Everywhere (and dancing with the Pits)


10) I will focus on and look to the light and keep my THOUGHTS in the right place, knowing that everything around me - all of my current realities literally ARE thought, manifested.

Let me share a Cherokee story: One evening and old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that was going on inside of himself. He said "My son, it is between two wolves... One is evil - anger, envy, sorrow, regret, arrogance, greed, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego... The other is good - joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith." The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked "Which one wins?"

The old Cherokee replied "The one I feed."

There is such profound beauty in that story. Are my thoughts filled with the goodness or the evil - because today's thoughts are tomorrows realities we create for ourselves. I will work to keep my thoughts purse, clean and to the light...


Recommended Reading:

Soul Weaving: How to Shape Your Destiny and Inspire Your Dreams


Soul Weaving: How to Shape Your Destiny and Inspire Your Dreams

In closing, I will remember why I choose to be "waldorf-inspired" and I will remember the work and memory of Rudolf Steiner. I will strive for a deeper understanding of his work and remind myself that I am continually growing and evolving... I will find in books and lectures "food" to feed my own spiritual growth, for as my children see me strive to better myself, I am setting the example for them to strive to be better human beings.

2 comments:

  1. SOUNDS WONDERFUL - THANK YOU FOR SHARING. I love the idea of a book with each resolution.
    Summery blessings to you.
    Alison, NZ

    ReplyDelete

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