Our three. Lost in being little. Just as it should be…
How much do our kids need to know? A Waldorf mother’s group I am a part of was recently given an article to read on and discuss about this very topic, and it has started a louder conversation within myself as a mom, broadening and shifting some of my way of thinking. Does more information help our kids garner more empathy as they make their way towards adulthood? Does knowledge equal power, for a five year old? How much it too much information for kids to have? These are big questions. I am not saying there’s a right or wrong answer here, as each of our families are considerably different, but I think it’s worth asking no matter your parenting style.
How much do our kids need to know?
Andrew and I personally encourage our kid’s curiosities while fostering transparent relationship with our kids, but we are both realizing more and more (probably because we have an almost seven year old!) that these early years are wildly precious, and the only times in their existence that they will live with this amount of innocence, imagination, and wonder. I mean once you know, you can’t unknow, ya know?
But it’s so hard today, especially when staying home with them and wanting to keep informed with all that continues to go on all over the world. When as parents do we talk about all these important grown up things, when they are in bed? At the dinner table? In the car? Never? When they are on our hips and near our side, following us around like little goslings, how do we safeguard them against a never-ending message from media and others that the world is downright a bad and scary place? I do not want that for them right now, nor ever. I want to celebrate their dream-like way of thinking and preserve innocent selves, and so does that make me privileged? These are things I think about and just want to tap into here with y’all.
I guess what it boils down to, is that Andrew and I want our kids to know and believe that the world and the people in it ARE GOOD. That kindness, honesty, and vulnerability are traits of a strong, open-hearted person, and that acting out of a place of fear with a scarce mentality does not breed compassion, but just more fear. As a mother I want to instill in them a deep and curious love for their one beautiful life, not not inadvertently cover them with a cloak of fear well before they have the tools or mature age of discernment to navigate such tension in the world. Goodness, it’s hard enough for me! I’d love to hear how your family is going about all of this right now? How much do our kids need to know?
Here is the full article for those who are interested, and I would love to hear more about how your family is navigating these important parenting dilemmas and questions? As if being a mom couldn’t be any harder!
*Note: I did not author this article nor do I agree with everything in it. I do however feel it raises several interesting points worth discussing, especially given that we have chosen a Waldorf curriculum for our family. Anyway, there’s more about this discussion on Instagram if you feel like reading some various response to this from other mothers. I don’t have the answers, but I do love and appreciate that we can share our experiences in a way that lifts one another up and encourages thoughtful discussion!
Tes - Wow, I just said that to my husband only a few days ago – “once you know, you can’t unknow”. I feel very vulnerable as a young mother in today’s world simply because – other then Jesus – who do we turn to?! We are facing unprecedented struggles and unique circumstances – environmental, political, spiritual etc – and it seems that older generations – who I would typically turn to for every bit of advice I receive – don’t seem to apply. In our home we enjoy a media free existence. (Speaking of – I loved the rest retreat – my husband joined me and we loved getting to bounce off of one another’s comments – it made for some really powerful discussion and fun date nights!) This really helps us par down on what the kids hear and what they are exposed to. But it also has a lot to do with how we talk when we are around them. Our tone of voice, topics of discussion and heart behind it all – reflect a world that has good in it and a God who is powerful. My husband and I share our fears and talk politics when the kids are tucked away. And that’s not to say that topics of a certain nature are taboo – I think we are just more mindful of HOW we are talking. One last thing – we use the dinner table as our ‘safe place’, a place to ask questions and have discussion at THEIR level. So we don’t rant about the workplace or things gone wrong – but if the kids ask “What did that man mean when he said ____” we explain in a way they can hear. Its a tricky field to navigate but I take a lot of comfort knowing that there are so many mothers who face these same questions and struggles.
Gabrielle - I agree with a lot of what you’ve said, Tes. There are few and far between we can turn to nowadays, and we really need to be careful as to whom we turn to. Still, even in our day and age, we should look and turn to older generations of godly men and women. That is what God instructs us to do, he also commands older women to teach the younger. God still provides us with older godly women, there just aren’t many of them, but they are still out there. Instead of being left to ourselves, wondering where to turn to, other than Jesus Himself as you’ve pointed out, we must ask the Lord to lead us to these older women. My husband and I seek godly counsel from a few old couples we know, when needed. We have learned so much from them. Also, as a homeschooling family, I have done a lot of research and have found a few godly older women who do this teaching online. I am thinking of Nancy Campbell of Above Rubies Magazine, Susan Zakula of Keepers of the Faith, Marilyn Boyer of Character Concepts, and Lori Alexander of The Transformed Wife. I also love the blog Blessed Homemaking. There are many young women out there trying to do what God clearly commands the older women to do (Titus 2) and it’s dangerous. We need to avoid them.
Amal - Hi Amanda, I’ve learned about Waldorf curriculum from your blog and it really resonates with me. Waldorf schools in our area are so expensive! Our boys are 1 and three, I try to incorporate some things at home, but I work so I find it hard to implement certain things while my mom watches them. Any suggestions to help us become more Waldorf oriented? Thank for all the info you share!
Kate - Thank you for brining this up! I spend a LOT of time thinking about this topic and as I live outside of the states sometimes I find that my opinions are very different from that of the society in general where I live (Spain). Here education is very literal and children are placed in school at 3 years old and immersed in far to much “adult life” than I believe necessary.
One of the points in the article that really got my attention is this part:
Stop any back and forth bantering you do with your child. Just. Stop. It. These verbal games are not appropriate to play with a small child.
I find this to be the hardest part to apply, I have a two and half year old and I often have to stop myself from “arguing” with him all the time when he rebels. Or remember that he is a small child and probably just doesn’t understand that what he is doing is “naughty” in the eyes of an adult. Do you have any suggestions or tricks for this part?
I think that it is very important to preserve our children´s childhood in a world where it is increasingly difficult to do so, and it is such a conscious effort to try to maintain the outside world “out” sometimes.
Best wishes from Spain!