Wednesday, November 2, 2011

On Waldorf and Warmth

     About a year ago I started reading a lot of Waldorf mom blogs. (homeschooling and otherwise) There is a wonderful homemade crunchy feel about them, and the effort that these women put into their homes is inspiring.  I have since found my self drawn into a lot of Waldorf type things, mostly in the form of early childhood development and general family environment; not so much educational.  There is a lot of things in Anthroposophy that I do not agree with at all, but there is a lot that makes sense, and I have started to implement into my parenting. 
     One of the things, is the large emphasis placed on the need for physical warmth.  At first I thought it was a little bit silly, but after reading on the reason behind it, there seems to be a lot of sense in it.  The reason, as I see it is; when you are cold, most of your energy is spent in just trying to keep warm. You are not able to fully live.  Since children are not mature enough to make sure they are dressed appropriately, or frequently do not seem to be aware that they are too cold,  we as parents need to make sure that they are dressed warmly.  (I think this would also apply to keeping children from getting overheated in the hot summer months, but Steiner, being German didn't seem to address this.)
     I grew up in an old drafty farm house, with a wood stove and a kerosene heater as it's only source of heat.  My main memory of winter, every winter, was being cold.  Bone aching, shivering cold- all the time.  I know how crippling being cold can be.  I also remember (when I was about four) rushing to get ready to play with my siblings in the snow.  I couldn't find my mittens, so I went without them.  After about an hour of sledding, my hands had passed the raw stage and were completely numb, but I still didn't even think about going inside.  After a while my father came out to check on us, and was horrified when he saw my hands.  He asked why on earth I went outside without any mittens on.  The reason is that a four year old doesn't have mature judgement, and is willing to put up with the pain of frozen fingers, in order to not miss out on some fun. 
     I find my self being much more aware of how the kids are dressed this year, as the weather is getting colder, and making sure they stop and put on a coat or shoes before running outside.  I am also more aware of other children.  (Yes, I probably need to mind my own business) I often see little children out in a T-shirt on days that I'm wearing a coat and hat, and where as I've always hated to see little bald headed babies out on cold days with no hat on, now I am almost tempted to say something. 

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