Tag Archives: helping

Africa Alive

Let me tell you a story of two young mothers, a lot like yourselves.

Susanna and I met each other through our children, Shanti and Loren. We were looking for like-minded families with whom we could share the fun, the work, the frustrations, the baby sitters. Some little bit of magic sparked, and were suddenly close friends. We raised our babies together, and when it was time to send them to school, we worked with a group of dedicated parents to create the Charlottesville Waldorf School. Babies and brothers came to our families, and our children went to school, played baseball, swam at the pond together. My best memory is meeting at the pond, day after day, summer after summer: we splashed in the water, sat in the shade life guarding, we talked, and brought out the picnic lunches. We even made little nap spots in the shade for the kids afternoon snooze. Shanti and my son Noah went to Senior Prom together.

Life ensued, Susanna went back to school for an MBA, our lives became too full and we saw each other only for special occasions. A few moths ago, Susanna called. I knew her work had taken her into World Health, specifically to Africa, and heard through the grapevine she was at the Curry School at UVA completing a doctorate in Education. She surprised me by telling me one of her classmates had given her my name because I was a local educator interested in the brain development of babies and young children. Our interests had once again aligned! As Susanna described her project to me, I began to see threads of her work and mine weaving together to create something remarkable.

This where, if you choose, you enter the story. read more »

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is always loved by the children, but especially so this year.  I have been telling the children “table stories”, stories they ask for while we are all at the big snack table.  A few days before Valentine’s Day, I told them the story of making heart-shaped waffles for my boys, now grown men, on Saturday mornings.  I showed them the heart shaped waffle iron, and they of course responded, “And will you make them for us?”  Up until the wee hours the night before, making mountains of waffles, I was was tired but happy on Valentine’s morning.  The children arrived, and with their parents help, they delivered the lovely hand-made Valentines to their friends’ bright bags.  The great excitement was eating the heart shaped waffles with fresh strawberry syrup!

The table story I told the children today is this:  Each Valentine’s Day, I wait eagerly for my gift from Mother Earth.  Usually, within a day or two, I hear the first call of the mourning dove, who returns to my woods from her long migration.  Today we will listen carefully, as we play in the woods.

Rose Garden “Day of Service”

In the spirit of change that is sweeping the nation and our globe, and looking toward a brighter future, The Rose Garden children joined neighbors helping neighbors all across the country, in a day of service.  But what exactly can three, four and five year olds do to be helpful?  And how can this tie into our normal school life?  Each day every child participates in house keeping, each with a particular chore.  They cheerfully wash tables and chairs, wash cups and spoons, and sweep the floor.

Nearby The Rose Garden, in the heart of our tiny town is the Batesville Store.  The store is Batesville’s “front porch” where locals go for coffee, conversation and good food.  Many of the children and parents go to the store on their way home from school.  The Post Office is next door.   This seemed like the perfect place for our day of service.

We packed sponges, brooms, mops, wisk brooms and dustpans, along with crayons and paper.  Away we went bright and early in the morning.  At the store, the children were confident, engaged, industrious, and told people who came through the door “We are helping out our neighbors!”  With great cheer, they sponged the many tables and chairs, dusted and swept the floors, emptied dustpans, and enchanted all.  At the Post Office, the Postmistress was thrilled, telling the children she was so busy with the mail she never had time to clean.

When everything was sparkling clean, we sat down and colored bright pictures which we made into a book for Cid and Liza, the store owners.  The children were hungry, now, and happy to have our snack of bread and honey butter at the big shiny tables in the store.

It was a day of work and fun.  The lesson that helping friends and neighbors is its own reward was sweet and tangible!