Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Training Our Eye to Interior Growth

For Williamsburg to get snow is rare, but to get more snow than other parts of the state is very rare, but here we are, day four, my husband's base closed and the neighborhood roads barely drive able. We had snow for Epiphany! Ten inches! What a gift!

Oh yes...this could possibly be the ONE snow we get this winter, and oh was I ON TOP of this ONE snow in my mommy preparedness way...and I was procuring things more essential than milk and eggs as I watched the weather reports. I was making sure each child had proper snow gear. Ha! You laugh but one can be quite miserable if toes are so pinched in snow boots they are going numb or if coat sleeves don't fit "just so" under mittens...who wants snow on their wrists???

So Thursday morning was a mass effort of dragging out all of our gear and seeing what could be passed to who, who had hats, gloves, snow pants, boots. We have very GOOD snow gear as we needed it in Alaska, a lot of L.L.Bean as it holds up well as it is being passed down. I just can't get over how kids feet grow! Beautiful snow boots that have to wait for the next kiddo because they are just too small on the one they are meant for! So all I needed was a better coat for the boy (found it consigned for $10), three new snow boots (one of which was found consigned for $8) and a pair of snow pants. But we did it! This is the "night before" picture of how things were ready, my second eldest is so the type to even have socks and gloves easily accessible:

And they have been having a blast...


And I was thinking about my children as they grow, as the seasons pass, visible signs. Teeth fall out and new ones grow in. Appetites get bigger. Clothes become more snug. They grow and God blesses me.

I was thinking about this growing and as I was gearing up for homeschooling this month after the holidays (school efforts have been somewhat thwarted with the 27/7 snow play), I have been enjoying Sofia Cavalletti's book The Religious Potential of the Child (6 to 12 Years old). I had purchased this gem last spring anticipating that I might have the opportunity to take a Level II Catechesis of the Good Shepherd course in Washington D.C.  Oh, but it seems that, unless it was maybe a half hour away, instead of three hours, it was too much to ask in this time of my vocation, even once a month, though I know I would have benefited from the course.

So, as there is really no course in my near future, I have picked up the book, and I am seeing now what a wise decision it was. I once again feel so spiritually fed by Sofia's brilliant observations of the child. I am surrounded by my children, this is my work.

Sofia always seems to challenge me. Sofia always seems to help me see, and she is always so gentle yet writes with such authority.

I read last night her reflections on what Maria Montessori termed the "polarization of attention." She is really referring to when a child seems completely absorbed in her work.

Cavelletti writes "These phenomena are manifested when the external stimuli

correspond to the interior needs of the child.

When this match occurs, the recollected attitude one observes in the child 'springs from the needs of life itself,' and knowledge 'becomes the instrument of interior growth.'

Such moments are extremely important in the development of the person, for in them the spirit 'becomes strong and blossoms.'"

So, my eldest there, lying in the snow. Looking up into the sky. I took the picture from my kitchen window.

And I made myself coffee and breakfast and I was surprised when I went back to the window, at least ten minutes gone by, and she is lying there still...unmoved...from her spot.

I never asked her about this but I could sense that perhaps this was one of those moments where the external stimuli matched her internal needs. Do we ask people in Mass as they kneel what they are praying about?

I was thankful we had nowhere to go, nothing to do, but really be snowed in. There were no distractions. There was just play and wonder and joy.

She is growing on the outside and yet I want to give her the room and time she needs to grow on the inside. I want this for all my children, and I feel a lot of it has to do with my own awareness and observation of them.

Can I allow my children to get lost in things? Be it a book or craft or imaginary play? Instead of moving on with my agenda can I do some critical thinking of my own and see if the external stimuli is possibly meeting an internal need?

We really don't KNOW how children learn. What makes them really absorb something? I believe this "polarization of attention," and being thoughtful about our children's environment has much to do with it.

I will tell you in a decade or so if it worked on mine.

God Bless you and thank you for stopping by!

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