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Karen Brennan
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The gift of boredom, balancing calm and active days and creating sabbath moments

Monday, March 31, 2014

Happy spring!  Welcome to our new parent child families and welcome back to our returning families.  I am so glad that you have decided to join us.

One of the topics in the chapter on “Schedules” is the gift of boredom.  In Waldorf schools, we think of that feeling of being bored as a developmental marker for the kindergarten age child.  When a 6 year old tells her teacher that she is bored, the teacher will keep her close and give her some work to do with the teacher.  Her sense of imagination and play is becoming more inward and sometimes that transition is a tender time for the child.  It usually doesn’t take long for her to be ready to play with her friends again.  But boredom is also a gift.  When my daughters told me that they were bored, I would suggest that they clean their room or some such task.  I don’t remember them telling me that they were bored too often.  My other response was, “That’s great!”  Kim says that we often take our children’s boredom as a personal failure, but boredom is often the “precursor to creativity.”

This chapter also discusses bring a balance between arousing and calming activities.  If there is an active day, you can balance it out with a quiet day at home.  If there is a very active day—Kim gives the example of monster truck rallies—they can even be balanced by a calm day or days before and after.  You know your child.  Some children can handle more activity than others.  Observe your child on a very active day and for a day or two afterwards.  Does it affect their behavior?  Then it might be good to plan for a calm day before and/or after the next busy day. 

Another one of my favorite sections of this chapter is “Sabbath Moments.”  The moments Kim is referring to are not religious or spiritual, but rather a special family time that had a q; and now with emails, pagers, and every possible phone gadget imaginable we quiet peacefulness to it.  Do you remember the days before portable gadgets, especially cell phones?  “The evolution from fixed to portable phones was a big change; and now with emails, pagers and every possible phone gadget imaginable we are each a walking communication field, ever reachable, distractible and available.  However, given how reachable and distractible we are, you might question how “available” we really are at any moment.  Surely if you’re fully available to the person on the phone, you can’t be to those you’re with, and vice versa.”  Kim suggests having some gadget free, distraction free zones.  This could be turning off your phone during dinner, taking a hike every weekend with the family or having a day at home.  It can be a small thing, too—one dad turned down the answering machine when he came home and a mom stopped checking her email after dinner, finding that her child’s transition from dinner to bedtime was much easier when she was fully present.  Do you have times in the day when your phones, etc. are turned off or ignored?  When?  Is it helpful?  Difficult?  Would you like to do more?

Next week we will look at the sections on “Anticipation”—I’m looking forward to that!—“Seeds of addiction” and “ordinary days.”

Spring Break begins on Friday, April 18 and goes through Saturday, April 26.  There will be no Parent Child classes during that time.