Living Arts Weekly: Getting Real

May 19, 2019

I have often called attention to the fact that walking through the streets in the Middle Ages was a different experience from nowadays. Right and left, there were house facades that were built out of what the soul felt and thought. Every key, every lock, carried the imprint of the person who had made it. – Rudolf Steiner

This week, I am simply going to share some glimpses of life at our little farm education program in Wisconsin. You see, in the past few weeks, we’ve added three sheep, two goats, 30 chickens, a cat, and about 10,000 bees (give or take). We’ve got farm programs almost daily, and in-between, plenty of gardening. We’ve waited all winter for this, and now there don’t seem to be enough hours in the day to fit it all in.

Why, in this day and age, when we can simply run to the grocery store for a cellophane-wrapped package of the meat of our choice and a dozen eggs whenever we want, would we want to take on the responsibility for all these living things?  Our little farm education program provides a place for humans like me (and maybe you?) who long to experience deep, rich, satisfaction in the age of having everything accessible at the push of a button; in a time when we have eliminated many of the things that once helped us to feel grounded, connected, and whole. We have filled our lives with cheap, easy food and experiences that provide little sustenance. And we long for something real.

And so do our children. Building a strong and healthy will starts with making a real impact on the world around us; something the virtual world can’t offer.

So here’s to “real “!

Mary O’Connell, Your Living Arts Weekly blog editor

Practical Activity

Our friend and colleague, Bente Goldstein, has written a wonderful book about this very topic — how to provide the experiences and environment your child needs to develop a strong and healthy will. I highly recommend it! You can order it on our website.

Creative Exploration

This spring, visitors to Paradise Farm are painting rocks as part of the “Kindness Rocks” project.

Social Awareness

A rousing game of Red Rover, led by junior teacher helpers Nirav and Rowan. Having the opportunity to mentor younger children in a mixed age setting builds skills and self-confidence.
Caring for animals helps children develop self-regulation and compassion.

Nurturing Care

Grinding wheat. Using one’s own muscle power to transform matter strengthens will forces.
Enjoying a snack of homemade rolls in the barn nourishes the body and the soul.
Homemade biscuits and freshly churned butter. Here is a great tutorial from Sarah Baldwin about churning butter with children.