The Positive Side of Lockdown!
Well bless my boots–I’m actually going to write about the positive side of the lockdown situation we are in (and not about whether it contributes to containing COVID).
What I’m interested in is the fact that a number of folks whom I’ve consulted with–homeschoolers–have reported that because they have been forced to be home so much, because they have not been able to go here, there and everywhere, their children have benefited! Parents have been able to simplify, do less and let their children just be at home.
Let me quickly say here that the folks I am talking about are willing homeschoolers–those who have chosen this path and who already had a homeschool culture at home. I am not talking about those parents who have been forced into homeschooling, who have undertaken it unwillingly and who are suffering greatly from a situation they are unprepared for.
What I am seeing is that lockdown is helping homeschoolers recommit to why they are homeschooling in the first place–helping them remember that they chose Waldorf homeschooling because of its emphasis on the health and well being of the child and the developmental needs that can be met by homeschooling. And one of those needs is to allow a child the space to actually be a child.
Childhood as a legitimate stage in human development, with its own needs, lawfulness and expression, is severely under threat. I cannot even begin to articulate the grave damage to children of having to wear masks, of seeing those around them wear masks, of having to stay 6 feet from their friends and from loving adults, to be surrounded by a culture of fear . Suffice to say, if the danger is that great, then they should not be in school or in situations where the authorities make such requirements. And if the danger is not great–if children actually are not dying in their thousands from this disease, then one needs to ask oneself what exactly is going on. Let us not slip into making this the ‘new normal’ just as we have slid into unthinkingly continuing to line up like cattle, shoes off, arms up, jackets off, each time we fly, normalizing behavior that makes no sense at all.
Back to homeschooling–less is indeed more. Again and again I am hearing how much better it is for families and for children to spend more time at home and not be rushing off to this lesson or playdate or enrichment activity–let your child be a child. Let her day dream. Let her be bored and be forced to go within for answers and not develop a more, more, more attitude. Let us live more simply, consciously and slowly. Let us gift children with the greatest gift of all–the gift of time, of time to be a child. Human beings come to this earth with needs–and the need to have a childhood that is as nurturing as possible should be on the top of our agenda as a culture. Though there are many paths to becoming a strong and compassionate adult, having one’s needs met as a child certainly is an obvious one. And if those needs are coupled with a family culture that emphasizes ‘less is more’, then the shortfalls of the future might just be easier to bear and creative solutions more possible.
If you click here you will go to a page full of free videos and talks I have made including one entitled ‘Less is More’–that and some of the others will hopefully give support to parents during this time of uncertainty. While it might be helpful to transform outer circumstances into positive experiences, it is, of course, better for one to choose to create an inner life and homeschool culture that is peaceful and home based. Nevertheless, one sometimes can get help in the least expected situation!