An Exploration of Sacred Parenting and Education

Questions & Answers

In Questions & Answers on February 10, 2012 at 11:35 am

Dear Readers,

This blog is just over a month old. We have reached 3,000 hits today! Just for the record, at the time of writing, the post with the greatest hits (314) is ‘Mother Love of the Sufis’ by Shiekha Camille Helminski. Second place is the ‘about’ page (125). Our teachers are indeed generous with their blessings! We’ve had some brilliant contributions from Asma Shurfa, Patzia Gonzalez Baz, Rabia Saida Spiker and Casandra Gally. Others have contributed through their comments on the blog and facebook page. Thank you. Look forward to more.

Some have been kind enough to email me with questions. I don’t claim to be the expert here – far from it. I have as many questions as you may have if not more. Writing on this blog has helped me tremendously. I would like to use this space for us to ask questions we may want to sit with and explore in the coming days, weeks, months and years. Maybe, some will already have answers they may want to share with us. May be there is more than one answer to a question and having people share theirs will help us see things from a new perspective. Please feel free to write any questions & answers through the comments box below.

In friendship,

  1. Q: I normally give my daughter about an hour of television after school to let her hair down. Sometimes she ends up with more. I’m not convinced a complete removal of television is necessarily the right answer. Ideally, I would love for her to discover more joy in playful activities. We’ve tried painting, drawing, making a puppet etc.. She seems bored with all of that! I can’t find something that will engage her as her favorite tv channel cbeebies does. I live in London and the weather is unpredictable so daily outdoor activities are limited. Suggestions?

  2. When there is a lot of down time for my son, but am busy myself, he enjoys playing with his Legos while listening to audio books, such as Lewis’ Narnia series and various tales and stories on cd. He becomes more interested in play also, it seems, when I play music; there’s almost always music playing.

  3. Q: what’s the difference between the way girls and boys are raised?

    Q: How does home schooling work? what are its pros and cons?

  4. Thank Julie. How do you control television viewing? With audio books Lewis’ Narnia sounds good – recommend any more? Also, how old is your son? I’ve tried some audio books with my daughter- hasnt really caught on yet! She has a week of school holidays – so hopefully look to experiment!

    • Television viewing is a tricky one. Like you, I limit his viewing. There was a time when I just decided on no television at all and only movies on dvd or netflix because at least they had some sort of story line, but I have decided, in the end, that he can watch the more educational programs for a limited time. I have to say that I don’t like how he seems to blank out watching tv sometimes.
      Regarding the audio, when he was young (he’s now just turned 7), he liked listening to the Mother Goose rhymes and Winnie the Pooh. Now he mostly listens to Alice in Wonderland, The Snow Queen, and the Narnia series. I should mention also that particular books kept him busy for hours, even before he could read, such as I Spy and the Richard Scarry books.
      How old is your daughter?

  5. My son is still little (4 yrs old) but what I do is I try to keep the work I do around the home open for him to weave in and out as he pleases. Be it cutting the veggies, washing rice, whipping eggs for omelette, mopping the floor, or hanging out the laundry on a low clothesline. Maybe you can try making space for your daughter to be involved in your own work around the house. Make it fun and inviteful!

    I’ve been firm on regards to television watching. He knows there is no room for negotiation. It takes some discipline on our part to not give in to television…it’s hard but doable…in the end the question of TV has become a non-issue for us. Oh, except for times when mum’s grumpy then Thomas the Tank Engine dvd gets to come out!

    So normally after he’s had enough of work (and attention from me) he would go and run off to play. For that purpose I would keep open-ended toys such as blocks and toy trains in a basket for him to pull out of the shelves. In a book by Kim John Payne called Simplicity Parenting, the author suggests culling down the amount of toys and books you have. The less you have the more appreciative you are of the things you do have and I do find that to be true.

    It is good that a child gets familiar with boredom. It is from that void that creativity and imagination emerge!

  6. Thank you Julie. My daughter is 5 turning 6 soon. When you have the audio books on is it in the background with some other activities or as the main activity itself?

    That’s very smart of you Asma. – some wise words there too! Will reflect on them. Thanks!

    I once met a consultant, originally from the UK, relocated to Thailand. Apart from the food being cheap, he said his kids go out and play every day. I think he said he lived near the beach. Hardly any computer games or tv. Currently reading an interesting book called “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-deficit Disorder” Some interesting points made by the author!

    • Saqib, I have the audio books on in the background while he plays. It seems to lend a contemplative mood regarding days when you can’t get out of doors.

      Asma’s reply got me thinking about why I introduced television into my boy’s life when it had not been there, for the most part, in his first 4 years. Indeed, my experience was very similar in that we did everything together side by side every day. There was never any notion of his being bored. He was perfectly content in being, in exploring his world around him. I never felt the need to entertain him. It occurred to me that it was only when tv was introduced that he would become bored (at times, not very often – he is a boy after all). I should note that tv was introduced at the time when I had to go back to my publishing job, and I no longer had the priviledge to be by his side throughout his days. When not at school, he would be able to watch television suddenly (albeit limited). I do regret having introduced it.

      Saqib, you had mentioned Louv’s book of which I am a proponent. I feel I owe my own spirituality to the fact that I had the vast eastern woodlands at my back door as a child. My husband had the ocean and the desert. I take my boy hiking in the mountains quite a lot, and he loves it, but it is still just a small back yard that he plays in most of the time, which I believe is beneficial. In the Spring, Summer, and Fall, we plant and tend our small garden together. It is one of his favorite things, watching the plants grow and tending to them and then being able to eat them. He loves watching the cabbage moths, the ladybugs, and bees. Sometimes on summer mornings, he will wake and run out to just sit in the garden. And if one doesn’t have a small space outside, public parks are wonderful.

      • Julie, That sounds wonderful. I too am looking to cultivate a relationship for my children with Nature by taking them to the forest regularly. I’ve dont it only a few times with them and its taught me so much already. Otherwise we have parks which they really enjoy.

        May be on this blog we can have a theme of the month – and work that way? It all depends on how others wish to contribute too.

        I heard some Mary Oliver poems the other day for the first time. Amazing! I wonder where she would have written from had she not cultivated that relationship with Nature.

        Sleeping in the Forest

        I thought the earth remembered me,
        she took me back so tenderly,
        arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
        full of lichens and seeds.
        I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
        nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
        but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
        among the branches of the perfect trees.
        All night I heard the small kingdoms
        breathing around me, the insects,
        and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
        All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
        grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
        I had vanished at least a dozen times
        into something better.

  7. …such a beautiful poem.

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