Welcome back to Sunday with Sarah! It’s really nice to be with you again.
This has really become a highlight of my week — to just sit down, and connect with you, and share my thoughts.
It’s been a really busy week for me, and I bet it has been for you, too! It’s pretty hard to avoid this time of year, even if you don’t own a toy business. There are just so many events competing for our attention this time of year, it can become so stressful. With the commercialization of the holidays, it’s become just an orgy of buying and spending and parties and overeating.
I woke up this morning thinking about the word “holidays”, and what’s that’s come to suggest in this day and age, and remembering the root of the word: “holy days.” Holy days. So how do we find time, how do carve out time during this crazy time of year, to find what my friend Lynn Jericho calls “Inner Christmas?” (She’s got a great website I invite you to check out at InnerChristmas.com.)
And how do we do that with children? How do we help them connect with the true meaning of this season?
I was grateful this week to my dear friend, Marcia Kimpton, another Waldorf early childhood teacher, who sent me a list that her former assistant created. It’s a list of activities she does with her children during the Advent season — one that can be performed each day during the weeks leading up to Christmas.
That list included things like:
Make a Paper Window Star
Make something for a neighbor and deliver it
Visit the Elderly
Make a Wreath
I’m sure you get the idea, and I’m sure you can think of many great ideas to add to such a list.
And I had a further thought: As a family you could write down one activity on a card or piece of paper, then put them all in a jar or a basket, and let your children pick one activity from the basket each day. It might be in the morning, after your children open the door on the Advent calendar.
Choose one activity from the basket to perform that day. Not a big task, not an all-day thing, but an activity that will let you take time away from the busyness, do something fun together, something that may be for others, something that helps bring the joy back into the season.
I would like to leave you with a passage from one of my favorite books on Waldorf education. It’s called The Recovery of Man in Childhood by A.C. Harwood.
I was reading this week a chapter about celebrating festivals with children, and he writes:
“The festivals, which have survived from older times, have become commercialized orgies of spending, and present-giving, and eating, and drinking. The child needs more than this. Civilization needs more than this. If we nourish the soul of the child by providing a spiritual experience of the rhythm of the seasons, it is also feeding a starving world.”
So, I invite you to reflect on that, and I welcome your comments this week. What other activities can you suggest that you can perform as a family with children, — simple activities to bring meaning to this time of year? And what ways have you found of slowing down during this busy time and connecting with the true meaning of the season to find soul nourishment for yourself?
Let me know, let others know. I welcome hearing from you. Have a peaceful and meaningful week., and see you next Sunday!
Please visit Lynn Jericho’s website for inspiration in finding your own Inner Christmas.
What other activities with children can you suggest for a more meaningful holiday season?
What ways do you find to keep your inner light burning at this busy time of year?
My past two weeks have been filled with so many end-of-year events and celebrations that it’s been hard to keep up with the blog! On June 5, my older son Harper graduated from high school. He was one of only two graduates at his tiny but wonderful high school, the Watershed School in Rockland, Maine. Harper and Josie were poised and eloquent, filling the assembled group of family, friends, teachers and classmates with much pride. It is heartening to think of these two thoughtful and talented young adults going out and sharing their many gifts with the world. (Incidentally, Harper is a Waldorf school graduate, and Josie attended a Waldorf kindergarten prior to home schooling through her elementary years.)
One week later, Harper’s younger brother William graduated from the eighth grade at Ashwood Waldorf School. William has been at Ashwood since he was four years old, and has been with the same amazing teacher, Jacob Eichenlaub, since first grade. William and his classmates are truly like brothers and sisters, having been together for so long and having shared so many adventures (including their recent eighth-grade trip to Costa Rica!). I don’t think there was a dry eye in the crowded Rockport Opera House as we witnessed the students saying goodbye to their teacher and to each other, before heading off to enter various high schools in the fall.
If those two major events weren’t enough celebrations for one week, sandwiched in between were several more festivities. There was the early childhood “Bridge Crossing” at Ashwood, at which the first-grade-ready children cross over a wooden bridge festooned with fresh flowers, wearing gold capes and crowns. As they cross, they each receive a special gift from their kindergarten teacher (in this case, a necklace). They are then followed by the younger children, who wear different colored capes and cross the bridge into “Summerland,” receiving a flower from their teacher on the other side.
This festival is usually celebrated outdoors, but a rainy day moved the festivities inside. Beautiful, nonetheless!
After the Bridge Crossing, we barely had time to catch our breath before running down the hill to the grade school to witness The Rose Ceremony, which is celebrated in many Waldorf Schools. Back in the fall, on the first day of the school year, each eighth grader welcomed the new first graders to the school by presenting each with a single long-stemmed red rose. Now, on the last day of the school year, each first grader gave each of the graduating eighth graders a rose, sending them off with good wishes as they move on to the next leg of their life journeys.
But wait, there’s yet more! Ashwood also had its final assembly of the year, at which the middle school students performed an impressive play, all in French.
Every moment of each of these celebrations was magical, and I can tell you that my supply of hankies was thoroughly exhausted by the end of the week.
Now things are quieting down. The boys went sailing with their dad yesterday for the first time this season, and are looking forward to long, lazy summer days in Maine before heading off for their new horizons of high school and college in the fall.
After a whirlwind couple of weeks, I turn my attention back to my work with Bella Luna Toys, content and filled with gratitude that we have made it this far, and amazed at how quickly we have gotten here.
Here are some more images from my busy week.
How is your June going? What causes for celebration have you had?
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