I love a good blog series, and I haven’t done one in a bit. Recently I came across an old Gateways article called¬†Six Gestures for the Waldorf Early Childhood Educator. After reading the article, I realized that while the author is correct in stating this predispositions (or gestures as she calls them; I am choosing to call them gifts) in teaching are closely aligned with the child from zero to eight, they also are helpful to give our elementary , middle school, high school, and even college-age children. Why do I choose to call them gifts? Because I believe that these six ways of being do not always come naturally. To be blunt and honest, in this COVID-era when we’re often all stuck together in close quarters, sometimes my inclination is not to follow these six parenting guidelines at all, but rather to do the opposite. There have been times I have wanted to yell, to disappear, to hide away. There have been times my own life has not been worthy of imitation, but rather, a stunning example of what NOT to do.

I’ve always found so many opportunities for new beginning throughout the year– the first day of each new season, New Year’s Day, of course, Advent, which is traditionally seen as the beginning of the church year, every new month, every new week– so many chances to start again!

There have been lots of new beginnings for us over the past few weeks. My birthday was a week ago. I turned 46, and it hit me hard. I spent 5 days in New York City, wandering about, thinking about life, and seeing lots and lots of shows. I saw The Saintliness of Margery Kempe, Mean Girls, School of Rock, Anastasia, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

One tradition that we did half-heartedly last year and (hopefully) whole-heartedly this year was to choose a patron saint and guiding Scripture verse for each family member as well as for the family overall.¬† We used the saint’s name generator and the random Bible verse generator (just press reload).

Without further ado, here are our saints and verses for 2012.

Saint: St. Catherine of Sweden
Verse: Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:36)

Saint: St. Edwin of Northumbria
Verse: But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. (2 Thes.3:3)

from the archives

I have seen many sources that recommend having a family night or
family hour, and would encourage you today to be intentional in
planning this. Make it part of your weekly rhythm and keep it sacred
to the whole family spending time together. Take the time to plan this
hour- play games, work on a special family craft project (I will
include a link at the bottom for some great projects from Family
Fun!), talking together, holding family meetings, gardening, or story
telling. Story telling alone has endless possibilities- create a
puppet play, act out a drama, tell family stories “from your heart” as
my son would say, read aloud from a chapter book, listen to a book on
tape while eating a snack you made together. Do something you all
enjoy, something you’ve been meaning to get around to but haven’t
found the time.
Enjoy your family hour!

My internet roots are found in two yahoogroups I used to run– Everyday Waldorf and Feasts and Festivals. One of my goals this year is to bring a good bit of that content to this blog.

In the excellent book “Teaching Children Joy” (a book which takes as its
basic premise the concept that children should spend less of their early
childhood years learning the ABC’s and 123’s and more time joyfully
exploring the world around them) the suggestion is made that when the
New Year comes you, as a family, chose a “major.” Much like a college
major, your family major will be an area you focus on throughout the
year. Here are some of my ideas for family majors…