Starting Out Again…

Last week saw the birth of my first son, who I intend to be my fourth and final child. At the time of writing, my daughters are aged 15, 11 and 2, witnessing this significant part of their early lives has been an honour and a blessing.  The spread of their ages means that I’ve been able to see the trajectory of their development, noticing the consequences of my actions and how they have impacted my older children. Coupled with my work in Arts and Education for more than twenty-five years, I’ve been granted a unique opportunity to observe young people at home and at school, in the playground and on the streets.  Having run a bilingual nursery, a community education centre and worked as a mentor for young men, as well as a mediator for couples and families, I have seen the full spectrum of childcare, its triumphs, its successes and its heart breaking catastrophes.

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Really Playing for Real

really playing

Really playing is something parents in this modern world find hard to do. It requires us to be completely undistracted, entirely present to what’s happening in the room at that moment, aware of the communication that’s occurring between us and our children at that moment.

This is one of the small blessings wrapped up in the current Corona panic. What a gift to see parents and children really playing together in a way we rarely see.

Walking through the park we can see mothers and fathers looking at their children with eyes of awe and wonder, taking time to really appreciate their children’s sparkle and their beauty.

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Stop Asking Questions!

stop asking questions! picture of a wall of question marks.

Asking questions sounds like such a reasonable thing to do with our children. If we imagine an adult saying “Stop asking questions!” to a child, it would be easy to picture the stressed out, overloaded parent, probably in a supermarket, who simply didn’t have the patience for yet another infuriating, abstract question from the youngster. However, the title of this piece is a reminder to self, a reminder that I need to stop asking my children questions all the time, they find it just as disconcerting as I would. This is a lesson I have had to learn over and over again.

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Time for a cuddle…

A strange little moment occurred at a baby group today. My nearly two year old girl, whose independence is often noted, came a cropper when a little boy decided he wanted the tricycle she was sitting on.

She was launched sideways and her head made a fairly decent thud on the floor as she went down. Although I normally suppress reactions and ignore any trips or falls completely, this one definitely merited a cuddle. She started crying in a manner not disproportionate to the bang her head made on the floor. Holding her tight in my arms, the sobbing slowly calmed to an uncharacteristic whine/cry. Squatting uncomfortably and wanting to shift position without breaking the embrace, I lay back gently and held her to my chest. That was how I found myself conspicuously lying on the floor in the middle of a busy playgroup in a large church hall, wondering what the other parents might have been thinking. We were there for a good 5-10 minutes.

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Landing… out of this world

Picture of space capsule landing at sea

This entry intends to record last week’s big news, our family’s latest arrival.

We often talk about bringing babies ‘into this world’, while Alan Watts used to talk about being born ‘out of this world’… like a fruit blossoming from a tree. My wife has often used the term landing… which I love, partly because it fits with a family mythology we have. The Bus-Stop at the Edge of the Universe is where all the souls waiting to incarnate are lining up, waiting for the right bus to bring them to earth. Each bus passing this queue of souls displays the parents’ names as well as the child’s future name and their time and date of birth. The souls wait for the bus which provides them with the right opportunity for growth… and then climb aboard to begin spiralling through our galaxy… all set to land at just the right moment.

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One-Straw Education

Masanobu Fukuoka was the godfather of modern permaculture… he developed the idea of natural farming and demonstrated that it was possible to live an abundant, satisfying life with a minimum of effort.  His ideas can easily be transposed into education.

masanobu-fukuoka-1728x800_c

In his deeply inspiring “The One-Straw Revolution”, we find a One-Straw Revolution which is not so much about food or farming but the attitude by which he came to his realisations… Fukuoka manages to show the full potential of agriculture when we allow nature to do what it does best.  Continue reading “One-Straw Education”