Supporting the Busy Bee’s of Spring by Changing OUR Actions.

Spring is here! This means more sunshine, new life and busy, busy, busy children! I have seen this every year in my 10 years of working with children yet I am still surprised to see it in my own son. He appears to now made of a bursting ball of light that bounces around all over, doesn’t sleep and goes about the house literally screaming in pure joy! On night I sat down and made a list of all of the things that I can change about myself to support the wild children caught up in the flurry of energy and new life bursting forth in the world. ;)

1. Keep grounded: My temperament easily gets caught up in the season as well; Must be my inner child. This is serious time of year to be keep up with my meditative practice and constantly working on the 3 tricks to keep calm. 

2. Don’t get caught up in the sillies: The children will be full of zest and happiness that can overtake everyone. Let the other children run around acting like maniacs, but keep yourself tamed to a quiet amusement.

3. Less caffeine and sugar:  Yes, this time of year I cut WAY back! From 6 cups of black tea a day I try to keep it to 1 or 2. Caffeine really affects me and combined with the increase in spring energy it will make ME bounce off the walls!

4. No daydreaming: I bet this sounds weird? Well, when we day dream we are not present with our children. It is so easy for me to get lost in spring time day dreams. I will refocus myself to quietly observing the children or reading a grounded book (I’m currently reading The Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker.)

5. Be understanding, it will pass: Sleep will be affected, eating habits will be affected and temper tantrums may happen more. They may need more support during this time, especially with sleep. Once late-spring comes around they will calm down a bit and everyone will adjust.

6. SLEEP! This one is very important for me because I get so many new ideas this time of year that I will stay up until the wee hours writing blog posts, planning my garden or writing business plans (more on THAT later). :) So I have to rein myself in every single night and make myself wind down even earlier than before; actually I even have my son wind down early now.

Any tips that help you in the spring time? I would LOVE to hear them. Good luck with your spring transition!

The Fine Line Between Ignoring and Giving Space.

20130312-115534.jpgThese days as parents, we are trying so hard to be compassionate and respectful parents that we sometimes grossly overcompensate. We want to acknowledge them so they feel seen and we want to talk about their feelings with then and help guide their boredom and moderate their fights. All of this is great, but I think perhaps we do it WAY too much! The term “helicopter” parent comes to mind. I’ve always associated this with letting children guide their own independent play but I’m now realizing that it goes beyond that; I’m also realizing that I’ve turned full on helicopter!

I talk too much.

I address and talk about every single fuss, whine or complaint.

I marvel and ogle at him when he plays well, interrupting his process.

I explain every little thing we do or see, constantly talking about everything.

I never leave him alone!

This must be exhausting, I know it is for me. So lately I’ve been holding my tongue and hiding my presence.

When my son comes to me to whine about the crayon being cut in half or a box that won’t close for him I now just pretend that I don’t see him, or at the least I just smile at him and continue on my work. Soon enough he walks away and goes back to his play.

When he is yelling at me because I won’t let him come in the kitchen while I boil a large pot of water, I ignore it and eventually he finds something to do on his own.

And when he plays really nicely with his friends, I don’t even go near them! Even when they get into little arguments I’ll hang back and listen to see if they need help, more often than not they manage better without me.

I’m not suggesting that we always ignore our children, just sometimes, you know, when the time is right. I think as adults we feel that we know better, or that we have all of the answers when mostly we just get in the way. My mom recently told me that sometimes he won’t like me, that children get tired of adults, and I believe this now. It’s not that I am neglecting my child. No, I like to think of it as just trusting that he can figure it out on his own, he has to learn this lesson eventually so why not now. This means paying attention to when I need to let him be and when he REALLY needs me.

(The above photo is of my son telling on me because I took away a dangerous object. His yelling made her sad and they both started. I took a photo (horrible, right?) and then went back to gardening where they followed me and played happily not 1 minute later) :)

Preserving the Spiritual World for Our Children. (Part One)

429152_4683414595668_1713125482_nWhen our little ones come into the world they see the spiritual world as clear, or perhaps more clear, than they see this world. We live in a culture that all too often denies the possibility of a living, tangible spiritual world; it is my belief that we are all suffering from this. It’s a trend to tell children the ‘truth’ about the world and shut down their dreaminess; we think we are being helpful when we explain nature and spirituality to them…as if we would know a thing. We have lost this sense in our life, we are too educated and do not ponder anymore about what is possible beyond what we know. Often people who believe in God and the Afterlife are seen as delusional; those who let faith guide their lives are seen as naive.

I cannot possibly understand what living in a spiritual-rich world be, as I have long lost this. I can imagine though, about the wonders that my son sees. At night when we pray, he is so responsive and listens to my words to God; I imagine that he can feel the increasing warmth around us and see beautiful changes in the air as we work with the spiritual world. When we dig in the garden he points at the dirt and excitedly exclaims, “WOW!” over and over and I wonder if he sees the spiritual beings working with us as we tend to the earth. On walks he will stop and wave at the little buds of leaves blossoming on the branches or droplets of water on new grass and I wonder what delights he finds in them that would merit a wave. Sometimes he will stop what he is doing and just lay down and gaze at the ceiling, softly singing and babbling; I imagine that he is talking to Angels or God and think of how wonderful that must be. Of course these are all speculations based on my own limited adult imaginations; I bet he sees something far, far more magical.

I have lost this sense long, long ago; possibly in my adolescent years. I remember being dreamy and being severely scolded for this by my teachers. I have now spent the better part of ten years trying to grasp onto what’s left and bring back a semblance of what I had as a young child. Now I am also finding myself in the task of preserving this for my son. He now lives fully in this world but everyday takes one step further from it. When he leaves his early childhood behind, this will change and he will naturally WANT to enter the real world more fully, but I can do my best to keep the outside world from taking this from him before he is ready. The longer I can preserve his spiritual foundation, the better it will serve him in his adult life.

I am not suggesting that it is the job of teachers and parents to educate their children on religion and to offer prayer in schools because these are HUGE debates right now. I am also not suggesting that you ‘make believe’  that you see fairies, the easter bunny or santa; THAT is a lie because you don’t see them and it will be false to them. I am thinking of how we need to let children dream into this world while they still can; dream into nature, dream into the spiritual and dream into the imagination; places we can no longer see with our limited adult eyes. In school there would be little children that would play with ‘fairies’ or imaginary friends and older children would tell them that they are lying or that those things aren’t ‘real,’ no doubt heard from parents or teachers. My simple response would be that it was real for them even though we can’t see it and we must respect this. Some people have lost the sight for the magical and the spiritual and in a world full of pain and heartache, don’t you think we ought to protect these gifts that our children bring to us? We often think that we need to teach our children what is real and not real, true and false, right and wrong; but perhaps if we listen and watch, we will see that they know far more than us.

This is part one or a two-part post. In the next post I will go more into how to preserve this spiritual world.