The early years of my children's lives cannot be described as "peaceful." I had three children less than four years apart, while my husband and I worked opposite shifts. We wanted to be the ones who cared for our children - not strangers - that came with a price as all sacrifices do.
I have never been the most organized person and have a tendency to run "right to the minute." With three children, this can be quite stressful. I drove 40 miles away (which equated to 1 to 1 1/2 hour commute with traffic) with two small children while our baby stayed home with my husband - he worked nights. I would have to rush around in the morning, dress them while they nodded in and out of consciousness on the potty), and pack their breakfast in baggies so we could get to school by 7:00am.
I loved the Montessori method. I loved the works. I loved teaching at the school. I loved the freedom to explore interesting ideas, research them and share them with the class. Everything was important from the atomic theory to learning how to call a store and ask for product information. Every life skill was celebrated with equal importance.
The drive, the commute, the having to rush in the mornings to get to school and the afternoons to get home so my husband could get to work was effecting the children. I could see it. My oldest rushed through everything - just as I did and have a tendency to do. He is more high strung and anxious...traits of not being peaceful. Like many people, I wish I could turn back time and change pieces of the past - but that is impossible.
What did I do? I resigned from the Montessori school and although it is not a perfect situation, I am using the Montessori materials I create on my website in my home. I had to forgive myself for not offering a peaceful environment those few years and know I did the best I could. I cannot change the past, but I can change my attitude now - today. I missed the mindfulness then, however, he is still young enough to accept the teachings with an open mind today. I am going to try not to miss my second chance.
Over the next few weeks, I am going to bring back some of the traditional Montessori methods of mindfulness to our home. Some of these are going to include:
- Walking the line
- Smelling Exercises
- Sound Exercises
- Lessons of Grace and Courtesy
- Tasting Exercises
- Entering a room without disturbing others
- And more (I have pulled out my Montessori books and training manuals and are going back through them - it is like Christmas again seeing all the wonderful lessons!
I have also found a yoga for kids website that I am going to start with my children. It is called Yoga in My School. I am going to start small, so I do not get overwhelmed and quit - which is what tends to happen cause I want to do it all perfectly from the get-go and then get in over my head. I have to view it as a journey, not a race. I just keep repeating the quote from Maria Montessori: "Of All Things Love is the Most Potent." I may not have provided the perfect peaceful environment during their early years - but I provided love.
If you have any mindfulness activities that you do with your children at school or in your home, please feel free to link up to this post!