Thursday, January 6, 2011

Developing the will

The holiday season officially ended for us when Riki got his first day off in two weeks after a string of doubles, woo hoo! I played being single mom there for awhile so it was refreshing to actually have the whole family together. I never knew that having a husband working in the restaurant industry could make me so miserable about the holidays. Every single holiday event in town meant that he had to work so that everybody else could enjoy their family time out doing those things while ours was split apart. No doubt about it, being a server is a humbling position to say the least. I'm no scrooge. I just would have liked our family to go do some of the things around town that everybody else could or at the very least spend the time together at home.

So here we are, back to regular work schedule (thank goodness) with enthusiasm about the new year. I am diving headfirst into fiber dyeing experimentation as I had planned. I have to keep reminding myself that this is a slow learning process. I will try not to curse every time I realized I ruined a perfectly good skein of yarn I paid for....and other fiber artists will remind me that I can always dye it again (ugh). I do love the alchemy of it all....the surprise of not quite knowing how the colors will turn out in the end. I know that patience is important here and I'm reminding myself that it is okay if it takes a year to get really confident with this...maybe even some more workshops at the wool festival. It is okay if I don't burst into the new year selling handmade goods. If I am working on it, that is the most important thing and a great will developing skill.

Those who are in the waldorf community hear a lot about the developing the will. I am a firm believer in this, especially for children. When we haven't tamed our wills anything goes. We flit from one project to the next without finishing, give up easily, abandon any sort of routine to our lives, and forget to uphold ourselves to any sort of moral standards. I start to see patterns of this with Ellery and remember on my own childhood education. I had no will development whatsoever. We hardly had art or music anyway but when we did I gave up on projects very quickly when they didn't meet my high standards and of course no teacher taught me anything different. It is no surprise that as an adult I had no real talents or hobbies or skills because I couldn't follow through with anything. It has taken years...even into my thirties to remedy that.

So I know that I don't want this for my child. I want him to take pride in finishing something, even if he struggles with it. There is nothing admirable about growing up and never having to finish something or persevere with things that are challenging. Whether applying that sort of unruly will to careers or personal artistic endeavors it doesn't have positive results.

Fiber arts are a perfect way of developing the will. That is why waldorf schools usually start first graders with knitting. It requires patience to see it through to completion and it can also be very calming for children. Ellery decided to my dismay of course that he absolutely detests knitting. Since he has been doing it for several years at school and finished a couple of projects I decided to let it go so he could delve into other handwork related will developing skills.

So we are working on both of our wills....all the time through my own fiber arts goals and his learning through school. In fact, I am proud to say that he has been able to see the process through from sheep's wool to spinning it into yarn, dyeing it, and now he can choose what he wants to make it into (although I am told very specifically that he is NOT knitting it, lol). I look forward to seeing both of us carry more projects into completion as we discover who we are and what our life purposes can hold.

Camera very soon so I can take pictures!


Mouse said...

I can't wait to see your yarn! My son (9) just learned how to knit the other night (I'm working on a blog post.. lol) and he loves it. I really wanted him to be able to go to a Waldorf school during his early years because I think it would have suited his temperament perfectly. We're thinking of homeschooling next year and I'm looking into study styles that are similar in style to this. Georgia wants lots of documentation & stuff otherwise we'd be unschoolers.

Little House On The Mesa said...

Hey, send me an email if you have any questions about the homeschooling stuff. I can try to help. We use a mostly pure waldorf curriculum since Ellery was in a waldorf school for a couple of years. It is a lot different than unschooling though. I know a lot of families who unschool but I'm not sold on it for a variety of reasons I won't get into here;)