Living Arts Weekly: Honoring Fathers

June 16, 2019

When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.  ― Mark Twain

Happy Father’s Day!

It’s funny the little things you remember about your loved ones.  For example, my dad, who passed away twenty years ago, was a big, burly guy (six feet six inches tall, or as he used to say, “five-foot-eighteen”) and yet the skin on the back of his hands was especially tender.  He worked with his hands a lot, and he always had all manner of scrapes and gashes on the back of his hands. He rarely put a band-aid on a new wound, just grabbed a tissue and kept on working.  The traces of blood he left behind on whatever project he was doing were his calling card.

My husband and I have been preparing for our son’s wedding to his lovely fiancé at our farm next weekend.  As I spend time gardening, painting, sanding, refinishing, and moving things around in anticipation of the many guests, I look down at my hands and they are all skinned up — a scrape here, dirt under the fingernails there, a burn mark over here. “Good grief,” I think, what kind of mother-of-the-groom has hands that look like this?  And then I remember my dad, the gentle giant, and I am grateful for the reminder of him through these hard-working hands.  He may be gone from us twenty years, but he’ll be with us that day — all I have to do is look down at my hands to remember.

Blessings on your Father’s Day, and may you build happy memories for years to come,

Mary O’Connell, Your Living Arts Weekly blog editor

Creative Exploration

A Stormy Day in Mother Earth’s Garden
Mother Earth lives in a beautiful green garden. In the back of her house is a lovely blue pond, as round as the moon and as blue as the sky on a bright sunny day. When Father Sun shines his warm sun rays down to Mother Earth’s garden, they dance around on the surface of the pond behind her house, and then the golden fishes living there jump up high to catch them.
At one edge of the pond is a great old willow tree, whose branches float over the edge of the water. Under the willow tree, at the edge of the pond, is a patch of soft green lily pads, where all the frogs that live in the pond like to sit. The great big frogs sit on the great big lily pads and the little frogs sit on the little lily pads, and they all sit there and sing together when Father Sun wakes up and again when he goes to sleep. Their song is very loud, so even Father Sun can hear it!
The little frogs like to swim in the pond all day long and they are friends with the golden fishes that live there. Sometimes they swim together with the golden fishes down to a world of rocks at the very bottom of the center of the pond. This is their very own castle and they love to play there, for there are many rooms to play in!
Brother Wind comes visiting Mother Earth’s garden some days and blows his gentle breath across the land. Then the branches of the old willow tree dance on top of the pond and tickle the great big frogs that are sitting on the lily pads there. Brother Wind sends his gentle breath across the surface of the pond and the golden fishes are rocked ever so gently down below. Sister Rain sometimes comes visiting Mother Earth’s garden and sprinkles her drops all around. The little frogs love to swim on the surface of the pond when she comes to visit and to feel the pit-a-pat, pit-a-pat of her fingers tapping on their backs.
One day, Brother Wind came visiting Mother Earth’s garden and brought two new friends with him: Terrible Thunder and Crackling Lightning. Even Brother Wind didn’t know how much trouble they could make! Into Mother Earth’s garden they came to play. At first nothing seemed unusual. But then Terrible Thunder began to clap and shout so loudly that all the little frogs went dashing down to the bottom of the pond to their castle of rocks to get away from the terrible sound. Then Crackling Lightning began to shriek and pounce, and all the golden fishes went dashing down to the bottom of the pond to get away from him. Brother Wind was so upset that he began to whirl and dash here and there, round and about, great waves began to crash on the edge of the pond and the great old willow tree’s branches got tied into a terrible knot.
Mother Earth heard all the noise in her garden, and saw how frightened everyone was. She went outside and called to Father Sun for help. Together they shooed Terrible Thunder and Crackling Lightning on their way. Only then did Mother Earth see what a terrible mess they had made! Then she called to the flower fairies and garden elves, and together they worked to make the garden beautiful again. The flower fairies untied the great old willow’s terrible knot and her branches hung gently over the edge of the pond again. But the little frogs and the golden fishes were nowhere to be found! They stayed hidden in their underwater castle until Mother Earth called her water fairies to swim down and tell them all was safe again.
That night the great big frogs and the little frogs sang to Father Sun as he got ready to go to bed, and they were as loud as ever could be. They wanted Father Sun to know how glad they were to see him again! That night Lady Moon brought all her star children to shine and sparkle in the dark night sky and they sang lullabies over Mother Earth’s garden all night long.
Cindy Brooks is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Santa Cruz, CA, who specializes in working with children and adults. A graduate of the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training (2003), Cindy is integrating Anthroposophy and Depth Psychology in her work as a parent educator and therapist. These stories are part of a book she has co-authored with Joya Birns, Waldorf Teacher, called Parenting with Spirit. For more information, contact

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Social Awareness

Hurray for Father’s Day — where did it come from?

Some express cynicism around holidays like Father’s Day, claiming these are just “Hallmark Holidays,” designed to sell cards and extra gifts. Few understand that the first Father’s Day occurred following a mining accident in Monongah, Virginia, in 1907, that killed 361 men. The Sunday sermon dedicated to these men and their families became the first Father’s Day event in the United States. Click here to learn more about the origin of Father’s Day from Waldorf Publications.

Practical Activity


Fun Bug Snacks for Father’s Day or any day

These cute little bugs are a fun and easy recipe for kids. This recipe is gluten free, vegan and low-sodium.

Click here to make these fun snacks!