Outside kids are out and about the neighborhood of Atlantic beach. Bicycling, hiking, beaching, turtle watching, and swimming are some of the adventures we have every day. We keep our energy up for the all the physical activity by staying snacked and hydrated. Important components of our daily rhythm include snack preparation and making herbal sun tea. Each morning our helpers of the day pack up the reusable snack packs with nutritious goodies and choose the flavor of the day for our sun tea. Cynthia and I have noticed that the children happily gobble up the snacks when it’s their job to prepare them.
In my previous blog/newsletter I described the flowing aspects of rhythm, and how it is held by the anchors of the day: The Anchors of the Day are those activities that take place no matter what, no matter where we are and no matter how old our children are. Eating, sleeping, playing and bringing it all together with love and warmth. Now that summer has passed, and autumn is here, it’s a good time to strengthen and fortify your school year rhythms A predictable rhythm and routine can bring a sense of order, predictability and peace to a child’s life. This in turn brings peace and order to the day to day family life. “This is what we do today, and this is how we do it.”
Let’s take a deeper look at meal times. Meal times and food are an important part of every culture. We can wrap a rhythm and ritual around meal times to bring reverence and a respect for family customs to the table. A simple way is by candle lighting. After the children have helped set the table, the food is placed in serving bowls, and all are seated, it’s time to begin the candle lighting ceremony. The candle can be placed in the center of the table, or next to the child whose turn it is to light it. All must be very quiet, so the fire fairies will help bring the spark. A match is stuck and held to the candle while a song is sung. It could be any sweet little song that is meaningful to you.
This Little Light of Mine and Here is the spark of father Sun’s light, see how it keeps us warm and bright are 2 of our regulars.
Next comes the meal time gratitude blessing. Again, give it a KISS. Keep It Short and Simple. Then, if you wish, your child can snuff out the fire, or you my want to let it shine throughout the meal time, to encourage good table manners.
Concluding meal time can also be wrapped up in a little ritual. When your child is finished eating, utensils and napkins can be placed on top of their plate or bowl” Please may I be excused?” “Yes, you may”, or “No you may not”, depends on what you want to happen next. Do you want all to wait until everybody is done eating, or have the children carry their dirty dishes to the kitchen sink and begin simple clean up tasks? (You will have prepared this ahead of time, and have it all set up for success, according to the ages and abilities of your children. Again, what would you like them to do? Scrape their plates, put them in the sink or dishwasher, wipe up their place at the table? Have everything set up so that they are able to complete the task all by themselves, or with as little direction as possible. At first, you will do the tasks with them, so they can see how it’s done.
You and your child can make or decorate your own candle. Here are some resources for bees’ wax: https://www.waldorfsupplies.com/product-category/beeswax-modeling/
Lighting the candle is an honor. It means that the child is big enough. When you wrap a simple task with significance, it elevates the task into a meaningful ritual. This is what makes your family meal time special.
At Outside Kids, we have a little wooden flame friend named named Spark. Spark initiates each meal time and brings a mood of reverence and joy to our “table”. And… Brother Wind can’t snuff Spark’s light! Here’s to you, and all that you do, to let your little light shine! Our world needs a little more light. Thank you. With joy, Miss Lynn