Monday, January 23, 2012

On Waldorf and Rhythm

     I like rhythms.  Doing the same basic things every day, knowing what comes next, a routine.  As a small child, I remember having a pretty set routine, but as my older sibling entered adolescence, any kind of structure went out the widow.  Supper was... sometime, usually, and very rarely eaten sitting down as a family.  Bedtime was whenever you went to bed, and school, well school kind of went out the window too; at least for me.  For a routine loving person, this was very troubling, and I always felt a little behind and out of touch.  As I got older, I created my own routine, more or less, but I think this caused me to be much more self reliant and closed than I would have been.  This has a lot to do with why I've always tried to place extra emphasis on routine with the kids. 
      I really like the Waldorf idea of rhythms, and the importance in not just having a fairly predictable schedule, but using those repetitive points in your day as an opportunity to slow down and reconnect.  I've been trying to slowly get our schedule more rhythmic.  Lately my focus has been meal times, supper in particular.
     Due to Dave's work schedule, he only gets to eat supper with us durring the weekend.  It's hard to put a lot of effort into supper when it's only me and the kids, and generally they don't care what we eat, as long as it's not what we're having right now.   I never feel more out numbered than at the end of the day when I'm tired, they're tired, and after having worked to make them a good nutritious meal, all I hear is, "Ewww, what's this? I don't like it."  Then the echos chime in, "Ewww, I no like dis."   Sigh...  Is it bed time yet?
     So, back to rhythms.  I've had to let go of the feeling of, "It's just the kids and me, so who cares?"  The kids do, I do, and supper still needs to be a special time of the day even if it's not sprinkled with stimulating adult conversation.  So now, as I am wrapping up supper, Anna and I get the dining room clean and looking nice.  Then the table is set with real plates, (not paper or plastic) cloth napkins and candles.  The twins are able to help set the table, and they like participating in the supper rush.  We then serve up the food and pray.  The lights are dim, we're sitting down, and it's relaxing.  Does this mean that supper goes off beautifully every evening? No, of course not.  I have little children, and there is just one me to try to keep order, but it does help a lot.  I think it helps me more than anyone. Supper is special, and I can feel myself unwind, and just enjoy the moment.  I also hear a lot fewer complaints about the food.  Candlelight must make the food taste better.

     I think that practicing Waldorf principles in your home and in your parenting is very hard, but totally worth it.  It requires a tremendous amount of self discipline, which is the hard part, (Let's face it, mac and cheese every night would be easier) but it pays off in the kids behavior, and in me, not always feeling like I'm fighting them, but guiding them instead.

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