Dear Lisa, I heard you talk about rhythm and remember that you said something like... "no need for making charts, you have it within you ...and if you don't... cultivate it, one step at a time." Can you explain what you meant by that? What are your thoughts on making charts for children to learn the rhythm of our home?
We are enveloped by rhythm.
The cosmos has a rhythm. The moon has a rhythm.
Our bodies have rhythm: of breath, pulse, blood flow, menstrual rhythm and the seasons of life.
Our lives have a rhythm of day and night.
The moon has a 29.5 day cycle of waxing and waning, becoming full and new again.
Our weeks are based on a seven day rhythm.
Life is steeped in rhythms. Rhythm of the day. Rhythm of the Week. Rhythm of the Year. The rhythm of early childhood, of the early grades, of the middle grades, of high school. The rhythm of life.
Yet we live in a world that is so very focused on what is "out there." How do we return to our own inner rhythm, our own center? How do we live rhythmically and authentically "from the inside out?"
Each morning, we awaken from our sleep to "right here" to what is inside, what is before us, in this moment. An inner life. An inner world. The ability to hear own own breathing. And that of our children.
Right now I invite you to contemplate the value of inner rhythm. Knowing from deep within that there is a predictable and reliable order to life. Not from a chart or a picture, but from an inner wisdom, an inner knowing that just feels right, that now we have been active and of course, it must be our rest time. I feel it from within.
With the Children's Garden children I did not wear a watch, because I knew when it was time for Morning Tea, I knew when it was time for lunch, I knew when it was nap time, because I had internalized the rhythm of our days. As had the children.
This ability to have an inner experience of time and activity that arises from within is a gift we can give to our children. It strengthens them, reduces anxiety, and builds confidence within, that the world is good, that this life is dependable and trustworthy because there is a natural order to life. That the parent is bring form to the day through rhythm as an example for the child to imitate, to absorb. The rhythm becomes habit, from within.
We adults can create this natural order to our child's world by being present in the moment. Sure we may make notes and plans and tweak them, and have lists or charts of our own, but ultimately any lasting rhythm rhythm will emerge from within.
Children learn by our example. They learn through doing. Children imitate our doing. It is what we do that they absorb. When we find our stride with rhythm, the children come along.
If you are making charts and signs and pictures for your child, I encourage you to go within and look to see if you are living the rhythm first, if you are carrying it. Let our doing create the steady points in our children's days. Let us be the ones who carry the burden of finding the rhythm and holding its form around our children, like a container that provides protection from the chaos and overstimulation of the outer world. This is a gift, this experience of rhythm from within. Once it is established, it tends to flow with ease.
It is easy to be tempted by what is "out there" yet I know that any changes in rhythm in my household must begin with me, for I am the model, the example my child imitates.
When I am living my rhythm from within, it is freeing and energizing. The child absorbs the inner mood that is created, almost as if by osmosis, and comes along into the rhythm, from an inner experience.
At times, I fall off the rhythm wagon, we get into jags of staying up too late or going out too often, or trying to do too many errands in one trip. When that happens, I know within. My body tells me.
I know when we are doing too much. I am the one who needs to make the changes.
As for the activities we do only now and then, like the eye doctor or a visit to the museum, these are not part of our daily rhythm, they go on the calendar.
It is when I come home to myself, to the stillness of the moment, that once again, I notice my breathing, I see my children, I begin to live again into our daily and weekly rhythms.
If you are striving to bring rhythm to your home, start small with one simple change and slowly over time build on that so that your child experiences rhythm as something that envelopes him or her each day and not as a sign or a chart hanging on the wall, but as an inner knowing upon waking that it is a home day or a school day, bun day or soup day. The child knows from a living experience, from living education what to anticipate. This is the gift of inner rhythm.
Q&A with Lisa is my way of responding to your questions that I cannot answer individually. Send me your questions at lisaboisvert(at)yahoo(dot)com with Question in the subject line.