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Spirit of Childhood

Aldous Huxley once said “The secret of Genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, never losing your enthusiasm”.

I do so love being around children.

My own children tonight, engaged in a “salad bar”. Of their own initiative and desire… making delicious salads. Enthusiastically!

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Is that not a delicious looking salad? I think it tasted even better because it had so much love in it.

Since opening my own paediatric occupational therapy practice 2 years ago, I have rarely been asked to elaborate on what I do.

I do so love being with children.

Even, and perhaps especially, children with difficulties.

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Here is an example of a “plan” I might make to help structure a child’s session and ensure their success with playing in my therapy gym.

Are children enthusiastic by nature – you bet!

Do children have challenges than prevent them from being enthusiastic in all settings, with all people, at all times – you bet!

Do some children hardly ever have the experience of being enthusiastically engaged – you bet!

And even more is this the case, each day I believe, in our current culture.

I do so enjoy being around children.

Difficult children.

Sullen children.

Children with not a lot to be enthusiastic about, given their day to day experiences.

I often wish I could walk a mile in their shoes…

And then I’d even mores appreciate their enthusiasm at walking through my doors.

So, in short, as my kids say “I play for work”. But its a whole lot more than that. I’d love to chat more with you about it one day.

Is it easy? NO!

Is it always fun? Heck, no!

Do I get to see the spirit of each child? Certainly yes.

Do I get to see that spirit in a different way than many other people in these “difficult” children’s lives? Amazing, another resounding, yes! Sometimes surprises me that in 1 hour a week, added up over a year or more, I can see a child in a light so different than their teachers, EAs, parents, etc.

There is no easy explanation for this. No formula. It is an art form that takes shape each time I meet a child.

And, I must say in 2 weeks holiday from work I have realized something strange…

Do I get to see the spirit of each adult in my day to day life? Certainly no.

Even ones I have spent countless hours with. Do I really “know” them? There is so much we can keep unseen.

Children do not have such walls.

Even difficult children.

I am very fortunate that a handful of passionate adult souls choose to be vulnerable, open, welcoming and enthusiastic with me…

But, I must say I agree with Aldous Huxley.

I realize what is more tiring than work – (even working with 5-6 “difficult” children each day!),

Is spending time with adults who have lost enthusiasm.

I am acutely aware that I only have so much time.

And the time I have, I will choose to spend wisely.

So, in many years, I will not feel I have wasted and squandered away this limited amount of time I had.

I will be doing less in 2016.

I will be loving more.

I will be present more with my people.

And I will be deliberately choosing to spend more time with passionate, loving people.

People who love me as I am. Those from whom I consistently come away feeling more loved, more loving, and more enthusiastic.

As Joanna Cann has so amazingly written her first book about, I am free!

As Neufeld says – it is not the “role” someone has in a child’s life that is important (teacher, father, doctor, aunt, etc.) but the relationship that matters.

And so it is with me.

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How will you choose to spend your time in 2016?

What salad bar will you open…? with enthusiasm!

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Christmas 2015

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I feel blessed to have spent this Christmas with my entire family.

Our children, now 4, 6, and 8 were able to truly breathe into the magic of the season. Without undue overstimulation. With some much appreciated flexibility and adaptation – the fruit of maturation! Yay, we made it through the young years (barely…).

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We had many firsts.

Our first trip to Butchart Gardens, with my parents for their “12 Days of Christmas”. And ran into new friends there! Serendipitous.

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The first season with our “kindness mice” who moved around our house through Advent to thank each child for their demonstration of loving kindness, the true spirit of the season. An idea we picked up here.

The first year we brought each pair of children to shop for the other child – so each child received a gift chosen specially by their siblings. Siblings home, creating many new lively and loving memories together.

The first year we all celebrated Christmas together in my parents’ new house. As they said, it has shown them “change is possible”.

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We also had many annual traditions, including the advent spiral, the 3rd annual gingerbread house making, the Christmas skate at Kerry Park arena, and the Live Nativity in Shawnigan Lake complete with REAL animals and a REAL baby which is such an enriching and soulful experience.

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I must say the best part of the season has been to slow down.

As Christmas is done, we now prepare for the 12 Holy Nights I am ever inspired and turning inwards.

I will set up the table now for our first of 12 watercolour paintings as a family. With each painting, keeping in mind one of the 12 months coming towards us. When each new month begins, to return and have a look at the painting for that month. To feel the interconnectedness of the seasons, and the hope that comes with each New Year.

So enjoying my time and home. My slowing down. Even going backwards. No meals to fuss over, no lunches to pack. Lots of board games to play, songs to sing, and our new lyre to make a melody on.

No plans, no expectations, no thinking. Room for emotion. Art. Music. Creating (a doll for Stefan is one of my projects… one arm down!).

Maybe it will be the year of music?

The year of sisters?

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Or, the year of connecting and hanging out with amazing women?

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I am so looking forward to the unfolding of 2016. Life is such a gift.

Live it, love it…

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Back to the Blog

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I was inspired by a friend to revisit my blog… having moved to the world of Apple I have been quite late in accessing my blog…

In any case thank you for checking in!

We are so enjoying the Advent Season.

Touching moments too many to share.

Today blessed with some of our favourite people coming to our home to create.

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We realize there are SO many ways to build a gingerbread house. Having friends around has been a MUST for our family every year!

We use this tried and trusted recipe and cut outs… Maybe you want to make a house this year too? Its a great way to invite neighbours into your home. And its not so hard to set up, I recommend making the dough one day, rolling it out and baking the next, and hosting the 3rd day. Very reasonable.

And then to share an incredible raindrop free evening wandering the Butchart Gardens with my parents… a place we’ve never been (unless you count my mom going in 1967!). A very fulfilling, outdoor, family Christmasy experience.

Oh to be 8 and ride Rudolf in the Carousel!! Or to be 4 and hope on the sleigh with your Dad.

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Pretty precious moments on this heart warming day as we remember to “Live it, Love it, Let it go”.