Submitted by Mara Spiropoulos on April 24, 2013 - 1:22pm
Written by Jaimmie Stugard: After nearly half a year of frigid Wisconsin winter, gradually the snow and the half-foot of ice buried beneath it began to melt away. Here and there we caught a few glimpses of sunshine with a warmish 50 degree breeze, only to have the temperature plummet again the next day. The last week has brought us constant rain, wind and thunder along with frigid temperatures. And yet, at LifeWays we go outside nearly every single day.
Get practical ideas for interacting with children when Faith speaks about 5 Ways to Transform No into Yes at the National LifeWays Conference on May 18th, 2013. She will also offer an afternoon workshop on Allowing Children to Help, looking at fostering competence in children.
Submitted by Mara Spiropoulos on February 3, 2013 - 9:06am
[Editor's Note: This article explores personal experiences with two of the attributes of "The L.O.V.E. Approach to Discipline" developed by LifeWays founder, Cynthia Aldinger. To learn more or to share your own experiences, see information at the end of this article.
L - laughter and listening O- order and objectivity V - versatility and vulnerability E - enthusiasm and energy]
Today as I lie next to my sleeping eldest child, watching her breathing calm and her sweet hands twitch from dreamy wonder, I whispered an apology. I had grown impatient with her just before she fell asleep. Ellia, four-and-a-quarter years old, is my deeply sensitive thinker of a child with a stubborn streak. More often than not, she resists napping.
Submitted by Mara Spiropoulos on September 1, 2012 - 7:16am
For me, providing a rhythmical day for the children at Rainbow Bridge (ages 1-5) felt like one of the most important and life-giving things I was doing with and for them. The Veiled Pulse of Time, a book on biographical cycles by William Bryant, increased that conviction through his consideration of the nature of time. It also provided interesting insights into various cycles of adult life. (He discusses the 7,12 and 30-year cycles in some detail.)
Submitted by Mara Spiropoulos on August 29, 2012 - 7:21pm
We tend to think of rhythm as a schedule or a sequence of activities that flows with the energy of the day, the energy of the week and the energy of the seasons. Yet there is another type of rhythm that surrounds us all the time, the rhythm of the familiar, the predictable, and the reliable. The rhythm and repetition in the spaces we inhabit.
Submitted by Mara Spiropoulos on August 25, 2012 - 12:56pm
One of the tasks of the growing child and one of the functions of parenting is to bring the child into rhythm. It may seem as if the life of a newborn completely lacks rhythm. Feeding and sleeping occur at irregular intervals and the baby's breathing is erratic. The first hours, days, and weeks of my son's life seemed timeless and otherworldly to me. Like most new parents, I was enamored, emotional and exhausted. Gradually a rhythm began to develop and it brought peace and purpose, calm and contentment.
Submitted by Mara Spiropoulos on August 22, 2012 - 1:20pm
Some days in my life with my young children, nothing works as I expect it to. If I have learned anything in my almost four years as a mother, it is that everything changes. Occasionally, I forget this lesson and need to relearn it. What worked yesterday to help a baby fall asleep or to encourage a toddler to clean up doesn’t work today. What made a child so happy this morning can cause anger later in the day. The toy that the child threw aside in the morning now has become his most prized possession after nap. It can be very frustrating, sometimes even maddening! It doesn’t have to be. If you start to think like a child does and internalize that all you have is this present moment and accept that it too can change, the moments that seemed so impossible can start to look doable, dare I say even enjoyable.
Submitted by Mara Spiropoulos on August 18, 2012 - 5:08pm
Anyone who spends time with children soon comes to recognize that the child’s most basic needs take precedence over everything else in the course of a day. The needs of children are very simple and very basic. When these basic needs are not met, they take over the child and instead of joyful play and the chatter and clamor of a happy engaged child, we see frustration and irritability that often manifest in explosive and impulsive behavior that we ordinarily do not see in the same child when that child has had opportunities for movement and play and is rested and fed.
Submitted by Mara Spiropoulos on August 15, 2012 - 1:18pm
The infant is born out of the powerful surrounding rhythms, warmth, and security of the maternal sea, into a jarring world of light, air and unprotected sensory input. She is now totally dependant upon the love, consciousness, and responsiveness of her caregivers. In the days, weeks and months that follow, the baby will have to adjust his bodily rhythms to external environmental conditions. In addition, he or she may be exposed to routines that vary from setting to setting: the variable scheduling of caregiving activities that may or may not coincide with the baby’s biological imperatives, such as the demands of hunger, the discomfort of wet and soiled diapers, or a need for a quiet place to sleep. This can cause the child considerable stress, as the infant does not yet have the capacity to accommodate the needs of a group; it is therefore incumbent upon the caregivers to respect and address each baby’s unique individuality.