Sunday, December 16, 2007

Seasonal Gift to All

This conscious parenting, no matter the path we choose, is hard work. It is impossible to have it all figured out before our children are well onto their next steps in development. There is such a plethora of information out there that we cannot possibly know or even get our hands on. There are also so many "shoulds" in life: we should exercise daily; we should meditate daily; we should do a good deed daily; we should write three morning pages daily; we should spend quality time with our spouse and children; we should research the ways of educating, parenting and caring for the health of our families; etc.

We can look around and easily think that others really know so much better how to do all this. It is easy to get caught up in the quagmire of choices, questions, and doubts. Should we immunize our child or use steroids to clear up that eczema? Should we force daily math even though we want to allow our children the freedom to follow their interests? Heck, are we even doing circle right?

It is easy to feel guilty about what we do as well as what we do not do. We want to offer this developmentally appropriate main lesson daily right after a lovely circle and then flow to wet-on-wet painting or handwork before doing some recorder or violin practice. And, still have a neat and tidy house, person, children. And, be ready with all the accouterments of whatever season to be building traditions. And, serve nutritious meals with home-grown or at least organic foods. Not to mention keeping up with all the alternative health approaches when life throws us a curve ball.

Don’t we all feel guilty because we aren’t the Martha Stewart of Waldorf homeschooling?!

I come to a quote I carry in my journal by Barbara Ann Kipfer coined in The Wish List: "It is easier to keep searching - pretending I do not know my authentic self - because if I acknowledged I knew my authentic self, I would have to start acting on that and that is much harder than searching."

Maybe it is not what we do in our lives or our parenting so much as how we do it: with grace rather than kicking and screaming; with passion rather than apathy. No matter what we do we will sometimes come to know that we "should" have done it differently because we ourselves grow and develop, because new knowledge comes to light, because in hindsight it is often easier to know what we should have done.

There is always going to be that elusive better poem to include in circle. There is always going to be that elusive book that will have all the answers. There is always going to be that elusive butterfly of promise: of that perfect way to parent, the perfect community, the perfect Waldorf homeschooling plan. What we have to come to know and believe is that WE are that elusive butterfly of promise for ourselves and our children. We have to emerge from our chrysalis of fear, of indecision, of guilt. We must take wing and stretch our wings a bit more daily.

My wish for us all this season of searching for the inner light:
That our hearts be filled with peace on our path;
That we wake up daily and choose to live out of joy and not drudgery;
That we be gentle with ourselves and those we love
when we blow it as well as when we ace it;
That we all believe in ourselves enough
to let our beautiful butterfly wings fully expand so we can soar.

Originally posted to WE_HS December 2000
Revised December 2007