My eldest just turned 10 this weekend and that’s old. He has two digits in his age. He has just created another “place” in his value. What this looks like is yet another move away from the etheric bond with Mom and Dad and a move toward individuality – toward freedom.
This is not a void, this place of freedom – he is just creating other tethers, other constellations beyond his first two stars.
So we had 10 other ten year old boys over to play a rowdy game of Capture the Flag – Dwarves verses Elves (Elves won again and again – I think it is an elf sort of game. If it had more hand to hand combat in it then the dwarves would have been a little more in it).
We started a little free form – thinking that this age needs to have less form, less predictability. Though I think that is in part true, it became very clear that they did not want an absence of form – just a calibrated one. 10 year olds need form and rhythm just as much as 3 year olds. We all do. Its not about removing form and rhythm, its about having more say in what the form and rhythm is.
So that was a good lesson for me with the big holidays coming up. Hold the form. Hold the Rhythm. The children may bang up against it from time to time, but that is how they know it is still there. When I forget, inevitably they ask for it. And again, its not that they don’t want the form and rhythm – its that they might want more say or at least interaction with what the form and rhythm is.
We have employed a “Knight’s” chart that tabulates service and bravery “points”. Our boys, 10yrs and 7 yrs, like the medieval imagery and the code of advancement that is integral to Knighthood. You start with being a Page, then after achieving enough points, you advance to being a Squire, then an Accolade and then a Knight. Each stage has its own privileges: the ability to use certain tools, a class in a particularly challenging subject, some input in travel arrangements and stuff like that.
It works for us. I wish we had something like that in place when they were younger – a form and rhythm system and chart for littler kids. One of our subscribers turned me on to a website called A Kid’s Day (a simple way to a simpler day) which has these kind of charts. This would have been perfect in our house – they have images as well as words and they are really pretty. Especially the lady bug one. We have a lot of ladybugs where we live.
I have used Google calendar for my own rhythm and it doesn’t work. I bet if I got an smart phone with chimes and whistles that might work better – but until then, I am a believer in the home-made chart. I color it with colored pencil and fuss over it so that it is lovely and well crafted. This makes it that much more precious and worthy of my daily attention. Then I follow the reminders to meditate, take vitamin D and fish oil, really focus on the cat for 10 minutes, do a load of laundry, 20 minutes of big league exercise and then do some of those fun will exercises inspired by Steiner. I make a slightly papal blessing gesture every time I walk through my front door (do the 6 exercises and this will make sense).
This works. A simple chart, lovingly made with an attention to beauty. Good mantra for just about anything.