Relating with children, unselfishly, is the sacred work of teachers and parents. Opening our hearts and connecting authentically is their hunger. How do we sustain a posture of giving?

Yesterday the girls and I were at the mall, which is rare. We’re not really big ‘shoppers.’ But, what happened was adorable. We bought tea and bath bombs and essential oils. Those three things. That’s it. We spent a ton of time with aroma therapy in several different stores. It was hysterical! Needless to say, I slept great! And, I realized what our hearts are craving: gentle care.

Thriving is a theme of Learn Forward and I offer ideas throughout the book. When we are working from a place of abundance we can focus on what matters most:  faith, worthiness, selfhood, belonging, and changemaking. The pathway to thriving for children are adults who know how to care for themselves and another. Self-care is essential.

Even at our school, I am asking the teachers and team to consider self-care plans and hold to the basics with vigilance (i.e. eating and sleeping). We are trying to create a community, full of parents and teachers, who are in a position to take care of our children with abundant hearts.

Courage looks like believing in “love your neighbour as yourself.”

Last June, I hosted an EdCamp with the teachers at Willowstone Academy. We circled our chairs to listen and share our professional growth experiences and enduring understandings. The resonance of the teachers’ personal growth aligning with their professional growth sounded like a gong in the misty hills of Tibet. The vibrations reminded us that we need to grow as individuals; we need to take care of ourselves.

It’s true for all of us, teachers and parents. We can only give to children what we have! Let’s pursue flourishing!

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At Learn Forward we call it thriving. Of course, there are a few different practical considerations for parents for fall.

Additionally, I thought it might be helpful to share some of the self-care plan I am working towards as a professional educator and mother. I hope you know I am iterating on this plan. It takes courage because I know I will be saying “No” to some things.

Here are seven ideas on flourishing I am considering with The Builder and the team at Willowstone Academy:

Unplug – Our family is wondering if we can unplug for a whole day each week, including television.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Practice Contemplation – Yoga, meditation, journaling, and retreats are all on my schedule this fall.

Ask for help – I laughed this week with a colleague admitting, “I can’t do it all!”  We’re combining forces, delegating, and hiring things out.

Build Routines – Ensuring we have ways of being to help us find ease in our worlds is a priority.  As an example, there’s artwork on our refrigerator.  The little one knows that we’re taking pictures today and disposing of her artwork.  It’s our routine.  It helps eliminate the drama, saving our energy for what matters most.

Focus Energy – We want our energy to go towards the most constructive, creative, and life-giving aspects of our lives.  So, we choose to focus.  We work to limit the energy we give to relationships, issues, or challenges that sap us. The Builder and I particularly work on managing that within our conversation. In other words, we try not to spend a ton of time discussing the stuff that is hard; we spend a ton more time discussing how to make things terrific!

Take Refreshment – We get away, sit with a cup of tea, join our worship community, enjoy visits with family, go for a run, or drink in nature.  We relish in the refreshment of our souls.

Laugh – We find it easy to laugh at ourselves and I delight in the humour the children bring!

As we enter into the new school year, I hope you will join me in building your own self-care plan!  What principles of life help you flourish? When did you notice yourself enjoying life most this past week?

For the sake of the children,

Karine