Simplicity, Waldorf and A Changed Perspective

Let me start by saying, this is not what I had planned for my day today. I had a list of things to do, none of which included writing a post. But, here I am.

Our son is 14, our daughter is almost 4. We recently tore out old carpeting from our daughter’s room and installed wood flooring. We still need to put trim back in her room and then we can put “everything back”. Except for one thing: I don’t want to put everything back.

A while back I picked up a book called Simplicity Parenting – Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne, M.ED., with Lisa M. Ross. Even though I loved the book when I started it, I got about a quarter of the way through and then set it down, to be left until now. I didn’t recall much of what I’d read before, so I started it again last night. Before we put things back in our daughter’s room, I wanted some guidance on how to sort all of her toys. I need to clarify, I have nothing against toys and I have no intention of leaving her with nothing, but I would just like to pare down to a few favorites that she can really play with.

Our kids are fortunate, they have everything they need and more. What I’ve been realizing though, is that the “more” part causes a lot of problems. She spends so much time looking for the toys she wants to play with rather than actually playing with them. All of the extras create clutter because we just don’t have the storage space for everything our house.

So, back to the book. I got a few pages in when I read that the many of the concepts of the book have their roots in the principles of Waldorf education. (Insert “love” here). Ahhhhh, Waldorf. This concept keeps popping up for me, maybe because I’ve been on a mission to simplify our home and our life, maybe because I’m constantly digging for ways to spend quality time with our kids, maybe because I miss the “simple” times of my childhood vs how things are now. In any case, Waldorf is popping up again. So last night I started looking up all of the Waldorf principles again and how I can apply them to our life, or at the very least that of our almost 4 year old’s.

This morning I even looked up “Waldorf bedroom”, just to see what was out there… (Yes, I was looking for the magic plan to make the sorting and clearing easier.) What I found in that search was even better. I found a picture of a little girls room. It was beautiful, simple, inviting. To be honest, I wanted her room! I followed the photo to a blog post written in 2013 about the bedroom. Turns out the author’s daughter was 4 at the time. I smiled. And then I searched the archives for more. I wanted to know what the rest of their house was like.

Instead, I found this post. It was beautiful. I could identify with the author so much about the rustiness of writing, but I also loved her perspective on working in her yard and on the home they just moved to. She has such a loving perspective on this work that it has completely shifted mine. I love to garden and I don’t even mind weeding so much, but I usually do it as more of a mission to improve rather than “a way of showing gratitude for all the beauty and life Mother Earth gives” as she put it. And to rake ruts from their driveway? I would feel defeat and frustration if a storm washed out our driveway, but she “felt purpose caring for their homestead created by other’s hands and hearts”. Wow! That perspective is beautiful.

I’ve heard others refer to cleaning their house as “blessing your home” and while it sort of made sense to me, it still felt like a task that needed to be done. But this perspective truly changes things for me. I love our home, I love the history of our home and am always searching for more information on who lived here, searching for old photos, wanting to learn more about life when our house was built (1940), why the rooms were laid out the way they were, but that blog post made a huge impact on me. I suddenly felt connected to our home without needing to know all of the answers. It makes me feel connected to the previous owners and want to care for our home and gardens in a different way, in more of a nurturing way.

So I set out to get help sorting my daughter’s toys and ended up with a beautiful, new perspective on caring for our home. I’d say this is starting off to be a pretty good day.

As for the book, it’s great! I’m going to keep reading. It covers simplification and why it’s good for children, soul fever, (home) environment, rhythm (of the family)and rituals, schedules (cutting out the “busy” and building in breaks) and filtering out the adult world. In a nutshell it’s about taking the reigns back and creating a more simple, better life for our kids. Who wouldn’t want that, right?

‘Til next time,

Kate

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