Living Arts Weekly: Warming

October 7, 2018

Warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child. – Carl Jung


When I think of the gifts that LifeWays North America brings to families and early childhood programs, I believe one of the greatest is Warmth.  Not only the attention to the physical warmth of the child (see Dr. Susan Johnson’s article below), but also the warmth of relationship-based care. In a world that often feels cold and disconnected, LifeWays’ principles and care practices provide a warm and nurturing hearth for the growing child. Not surprisingly, our LifeWays trainings, online courses, workshops and gatherings provide this same element of warmth for our adult students. If you haven’t yet tried a LifeWays course or training, please consider doing so. A warm welcome is waiting for you!

Blessings on your week,

Mary O’Connell, Your Living Arts Weekly editor

Creative Exploration

Autumn Tale – Puk and Pat to the Rescue!

 of Juniper Tree Puppets

Down in the dell beyond Ashwood Forest, in a teeny tiny birchbark cottage lived Puk and Pat.  They were known far and wide as the Apple Pixie brothers because they loved everything about apples.  They loved growing the trees, picking the apples, baking apple tarts, and making apple stars to decorate their house.

What they did not love, or even like a smidgeon, was old grumpy Farmer John.  He watched his apple trees like a hawk during harvest time.  He did not like to share his apples, not one little bit.

One night Puk and Pat tiptoed to Farmer John’s orchard hoping to pick an apple or two, when sure enough, they saw the old farmer under a tree watching for apple robbers!  Puk and Pat did not think of themselves as apple robbers, only friends of the Apple Trees.  Oh dear, what were they to do?

As they pondered, Farmer John got up to stretch his legs.  He was tired from staying up all night guarding his apples.  He took a few steps, but in the dark of night he did not see a stone sticking up on the path, and he tripped and fell.  He started rolling and rolling and rolling down the hill by the orchard.

‘OH!  EEK! NO! OUCH!, HELP!’ he called out, for surely he had hurt himself.  Puk and Pat, being kind pixies, ran as fast as they could to be of service.

It was hard to see where the farmer landed in the dark, so they followed his calls for help.  Puk found him first and said, ‘Farmer John, we heard your calls and are here to help!’  Pat ran up too and added, ‘Yes, indeed, tell us what you need!’

Farmer John looked at them through his teary eyes and the dark of night and roared, ‘Oh no! you are the apple robbers!’  He then started to wave his arms up and down and all around shouting at them.  But he could not stand up because he had badly hurt his ankle when he fell down the hill.

Puk and Pat took a few steps back, thinking of running away.  But they looked at each other and said, ‘Dear Farmer John, we are here only to help you.  No one will hear your calls, or see you down at the bottom of the hill.  You need us and might want to try to be thankful we are here!’

The old grumpy farmer then saw clearly how much he needed their help and realized how very cranky he had been with them.  ‘Now, now little Pixies, please don’t leave me here alone.  I see now how unfriendly I was and I do thank you for being willing to help me.  My ankle is hurting so much I don’t think I can walk.’

Puk and Pat knew just what to do.  Farmer John was much bigger than they were, and they remembered seeing an old blue wheelbarrow by the apple trees.  They ran to get it.  ‘We will be right back’, they called over their shoulders.  Between the two of them, they managed to push the wheelbarrow down the hill to Farmer John.

The little Pixies pushed and heaved, heaved and pushed to help Farmer John get into the wheelbarrow, then carefully propped up his sore ankle.  It was not so hard for the Pixies to push the wheelbarrow with the farmer on it down the lower path below the orchard.  All the way to Farmer John’s farm house Puk and Pat sang, and after a while Farmer John joined in.

‘Away we go, high ho, high ho,
We’re pushing the farmer to and fro,
A little bit slow,
But here we go!
High ho, high ho!’

By the time they reached the farm house they were all good friends and laughing!  Farmer John’s wife came out and saw quite a sight!  She helped her husband into the house and sat him in a chair.  ‘I will make a cup of tea for all of you and bring an ice pack for your ankle, John.’

Farmer John looked at Puk and Pat.  ‘I thank you with all my heart for helping me.  I have been too greedy worrying about my apples.  From this day on I will harvest the apples from the lower part of the trees, and leave the top-most apples for you dear Pixie friends.

Puk and Pat smiled. They knew the apples at the top of the trees were kissed by the sun and were the sweetest on the tree!

They all had tea and cake together and when the Pixies said good bye and started down the path, Puk said, ‘What a wonderful surprise tonight was.’  They laughed and ran all the way home.  Tomorrow they would pick apples!

[Suzanne Down is the owner of Juniper Tree Puppets, offering Waldorf inspired children’s handmade toys, learning crafts, educational resource books, story blog, and online puppetry courses. Her Protection Story online course starts Oct. 20th.]

Practical Activity

Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal

Nothing warms you up in the morning like this deliciously spiced baked oatmeal, made with warming spices of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Starting the day with a wholesome, warm breakfast is a wonderful way to nurture yourself and your family. Click here for the recipe.

Nurturing Care

The importance of warmth

by Susan R. Johnson MD, F.A.A.P.

Published: Feb 11th, 2000, Updated: Sept 4th, 2017

As a pediatrician, I actually was taught that you could tell if a child was warm enough by touching his or her skin. If the skin felt warm then the child was wearing enough clothes, and if the child’s skin felt cool or was mottled (bluishpink), then the child needed more clothing. It was simple! So, I was the parent that had my 2-year-old child playing outside in the rain wearing only his diaper. I actually thought he was okay because his skin felt warm!

Warmth is probably one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. Not only the warmth of our love but also keeping their physical bodies warm. Children are developing their bodies especially during the first 7 years of their lives. An infant and a young child will always feel warm unless they are on the verge of hypothermia because they have an accelerated metabolic rate. If we don’t provide them with the layers of cotton, silk, and wool to insulate their bodies, then they must use some of their potential “growth” energy to heat their bodies. This same energy would be better utilized to further develop their brains, hearts, livers, lungs etc. In addition, being cold decreases immunity. We are all more susceptible to the germs and viruses that are always around us when we are wet and cold. When our body has to expend extra energy to keep warm then less energy is available to “fight” off infections.

So the question becomes, how do we get our children to wear jackets? One can develop the habit of always having children put on a hat and coat when they go outside during cool weather. One can also try telling children that they will actually run faster and have much more energy to play if they wear a coat. If they don’t wear coats then their bodies have to expend a lot of energy just warming them up, and they will have less energy to build muscles and less energy for play.

Finally, the type of clothing our children wear also makes a big difference. Polyester pajamas don’t breathe and children will often wake up sweating. Even polyester jackets will not insulate a child from the cold as well as layers of cotton, silk, or wool. When children sweat while wearing polyester that sweat is trapped against their bodies and they eventually become chilled.

So why do children rarely complain that they are cold? Children often are not connected with their bodies before 7 years of age to even acknowledge or communicate that they are cold. They live in the moment and are so excited and stimulated by all that they see that they don’t have the capacity to sense the coldness of their bodies. This is why children often will play in a swimming pool or ocean until they are literally “blue”, denying that they are cold or that they need to come out of the water. So as parents, we have to keep our child’s body warm so our child can develop this sense of warmth. By helping our young child to protect and develop this sense of warmth, we are actually strengthening our child’s immunity and laying the foundation for a healthy body and healthy organs as our child develops into an adult.

[Susan Johnson is a pediatrician with a wonderful website full of valuable resources for parents and educators, “You and Your Child’s Health”. This article on warmth is just one of many great articles available.]

Social Awareness

Are you longing to foster more warmth in your relationship with your children? The Inspired Parent Summit II may be just what you are looking for!

I invite you to meet certified Parent Coach, Mary Wheatley. In her quest to be a more effectual coach to parents who truly want to enjoy their parenting and overcome their struggles, she has created an interview series and I am a featured guest. Twenty-one parenting visionaries are sharing relevant and inspiring conversations about parenting for the greatest impact in today’s world.

This is a FREE audio event, and you can register by clicking here! 

The Inspired Parent Summit II is live starting October 10th! 

Naturally You Can Sing on Spotify!

Naturally You Can Sing Productions is dedicated to supporting parents and educators in bringing music and song to their young charges. We highly recommend their song books for the ease of learning new songs to sing with your children. Each song book includes an audio CD recorded by Mary Schunemann with her crystal clear, angelic voice. And now, you can hear the songs on Spotify! Click here to learn more.