We began by discussing mood while we worked with a blue beeswax block crayon and a blank sheet of paper. As we shaded our pages with the “papa bear” and “mama bear” side of our crayon, we recalled that the mood of winter is quiet, and that in our modern world, quiet and slowing down must be cultivated with intention. Key to Waldorf education is that the stages of childhood- like a caterpillar, chrysalis and butterfly- are not to be rushed.
The conversation helped us to consider what rhythms and rituals are important to us and how we can access our power by creating and implementing these, even during a busy time of year! These questions were proposed:
- What is one tradition or one touchstone memory I want to create for my children?
- Are there family rituals such as bedtime that would benefit your children to keep?
- How much courage would it take to suggest to extended family that the time for a celebration be adjusted in order to keep the usual bedtime?
- Are there any traditions and expectations you can give your family and yourself permission to adjust or let go in order to slow the pace?
Many holiday rituals include gift-giving, so we also considered types of toys and how they align with the mood we desire and what behaviors they incite in our children (hyper or numbed out? imaginative or uncreative?). We thought about the opportunity we can give our children with just a few simple, open-ended playthings: the opportunity to create something from the inside out, a capacity upon which the future depends!
And because we all noticed how much our children are loving making their own beautiful toys, below is a pattern for a simple gnome and horse. Perhaps you will create a new, slow-paced family tradition! Enjoy your winter break!
May you hold the opposites- the push to rush and the pull to slow down- with ease and grace this season.