The Living Arts: Social

The Process of Becoming by Mary O'Connell

Mary writes: I am kneading dough and lost in thought. It is our last supper.  Our youngest child is leaving for college in the morning and has requested homemade pizza for her last dinner at home. As she heads upstairs to pack up the final boxes, I work the dough, wondering whether she has learned everything she needs to know before she heads out into the world, hoping she’ll meet people who are kind to her and who appreciate her for the unique and spirited person she is.

It’s funny, I remember as I add a little more flour to the dough, I was worried about these same things eighteen years ago when we sent our first child off to kindergarten. Was he ready? Would the world outside our home receive him with kindness? Some things never change, I guess. At each transition for all three of my children, I have fretted over the same things.

Presence in the Digital Age by Jaimmie Stugard

Our phones are now indelibly bound up with our aesthetic souls.

 And today, both are always on.” Robert Capps, WIRED

             A couple of years ago, my husband asked me what I wanted for Mother's Day.  I told him that all I wanted was to wake up in a tidy house and go to bed at night in a tidy house and that I did not want to clean on that particular Sunday.  He looked at me and said, “Can't I just get you a smart phone?” “No thanks,” I laughed,  “I don't need a distraction in my pocket.” Honestly, I was never really attracted to the device.  I learned to like my simple, small flip phone that made calls and received calls and not much more.   

Sharing Christmas with Children by Laura Cassidy

Laura writes:

“The notes I handle no better than many pianists.

But the pauses between the notes—

Ah, that is where the art resides.”

-Artur Schnabel, legendary classical pianist

Thanksgivakkuh by Serenity Gordon

Serenity writes: This year Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving for the first time since 1888. It won't happen again until 70,000 + years from now. So this Thanksgivakkuh is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Hanukkah is a minor Jewish holiday.  Although it is often compared to Christmas, the meaning is actually much more  complementary to the meaning of Thanksgiving.  Hanukkah commemorates the Maccabees who fought for religious freedom, and the miracle of the oil that burned in the temple for eight nights, when there was only oil enough for one.  Thanksgiving commemorating the pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower in pursuit of religious freedom and the gratitude for that first bountiful harvest.

A New Mom Balancing Fundamentalism with the Fundamentals of LifeWays, by Kerry Madrid

Kerry writes:  I grew up on the East Coast, lived for eleven years in a tiny ski town in Colorado and five years ago moved to the North Bay area of California.  My westward migration opened my mind more and more, the closer I got to the Pacific.  We settled in a small progressive town about an hour north of San Francisco in Sonoma County.  The weather, beautiful coast, foods, and free-spirited lifestyle still feel like I'm on a long vacation.  The biggest change is that all of the things in my life that were once considered "different" or "alternative," were very much the norm here.  There are three Waldorf schools in town and, for a Waldorf teacher, this is really nice.  Yes, for the job opportunities and to send my own child to one of these fine schools--but also because I was tired of being asked, "A Waldorf teacher? Like the salad?"  Yes, like the salad.

Transforming No into Yes! by Faith Collins

If I had to choose one point—and only one point—to share with people about my keynote address at the conference, it would be the idea that many times when children say “No” to us, what they’re really trying to say is, “I don’t feel as connected to you right now as I wish I did.” 

When we can hear a request for connection, we can respond much differently than we would if we were translating that “No” as, “I’m separate from you and don’t want to do what you want,” or, “I’m testing your boundaries and resolve and seeing if you really mean what you say.”  What a profound difference, and what a profoundly different response we can give.

Materialism, by Jaimmie Stugard

Jaimmie writes:  Recently, a plumber came to LifeWays to repair the garbage disposal.  At the time, we were getting dressed to go outdoors.  As soon as they caught sight of the plumber with his toolbox, a group of little boys in hastily-assembled outdoor gear were in the kitchen doorway watching the “worker guy.”   One by one, I coaxed the intent observers back to their hooks to finish dressing. We fixed backwards snow pants and adjusted an upside-down jacket, put on a missing boot and a discarded mitten.  Throughout the entire process, the little fellas kept inching toward the kitchen and stealing glances at the plumber (all the girls were in preschool on this particular day). 

Men, Women, and the Physical World, by Rahima Baldwin Dancy

Rahima writes:

For a number of years I’ve been completely in awe of how willing men are to “lean into” physical challenges. Not just football players and soccer stars, but skinny guys and computer geeks as well, as I witnessed a few years ago at a Ropes Course. Our group had to get everyone over a 12-foot-high, smooth wooden wall.

May Day and Maypole Dancing, by Mara Spiropoulos, Sarah Baldwin and Max Alexander

Editor's Note: To kick off May, albeit a bit late, I asked members of the LifeWays community to share how they celebrate festivals with chidlren. Sarah Baldwin, owner of Bella Luna Toys and author of Moonchild Blog, and Sarah's husband, Max Alexander, were kind enough to contribute pictures.

May Day and Maypole Dancing

We celebrate May Day to commemorate the beginning of spring, a renewal of energy and life, and a rejuvenation of our spirits.  A popular way to celebrate is through creating and dancing around a Maypole. The Maypole is a tall pole decorated with flowers and greenery and festooned with ribbons that the dancers will then weave as they dance. This dance has been performed to celebrate spring and ensure the fertility that comes with the season.

Setting the Tone for Festivals

advent spiral

Have you ever wanted to do something special for a festival and then thought, "No, I could never get all of the parents to keep their voices down/sit still/wear appropriate clothing/sing the same song"?  See how Susan Siverio helps the parents at Spindlewood Waldorf Kindergarten and LifeWays Center, to prepare for their Advent Spiral in early December.  She sets the scene, shares the adult symolism of the event, and asks that parents allow their children to have their own experiences, without the adult interpretations.  How lovely.

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