What does it mean to follow your heart? Let’s look from an anthroposophical perspective. One of the things we love best about Waldorf education is its simultaneous cultivation of “head, heart, and hands” — or mind, heart, and body. This organic triad leads us directly to the concept of “heart-centered thinking.” Through studying this idea, we learn that humans are evolving to think more from our hearts than our heads, and that evolution is necessary for the salvation of the planet. Did you know that our hearts even have neurons? It’s actually highly connected to the working of our brains.
In many ways, heart-centered thinking means learning to trust yourself — to trust that soft inner voice we can hear when we get still. In a world often defined by conflict and contradiction, this isn’t always easy. And it's never too early to start teaching kids that it's safe to listen to our hearts. Not only that, the practice is deeply healing!
Sometimes it may seem that the ability to connect with that still, small, centered voice is a lost art form. So what can we do to help our children connect with it today? The power of story can help us to lay the path! We’ve specially selected these six stories to help children tap into heart-centered thinking.
Fairy Whispers: Trusting your abilities
It's not always easy to follow your heart. Children and adults alike sometimes face a similar roadblock: the ability to trust yourself. This can be especially difficult when we feel (or fear!) that others don't believe in us. It is absolutely essential as parents that we provide safe, supportive, and encouraging environments for our children. All the same, nothing can replace the security, groundedness, and safety that comes from truly trusting yourself. In fact, creating safety during early childhood development helps instill self-confidence. And it's never too early to start cultivating those seeds! This story is about a timid turkey who taps into self-confidence — and consequently finds the courage and confidence to lead his flock. Children who are considered "highly sensitive people" (or HSPs) will recognize themselves in this turkey.
Being Yourself: Perfect in your own way
In this story from The Willowbee Tree collection, Clancy sometimes feels outside of some groups at school. He marvels at how his older sister Piper seems to make friends. A group of unusual animals with unique skills teach Clancy an important lesson. He learns that everyone is not only different, but perfect in their own way. Clancy learns the value of being himself.
Sometimes we all need a little reminder of the value of who we are. Whether you call it a “mantra” or “choosing a word” to focus on, it's always nice to have a reminder of what makes you unique when life gets difficult.
The Navigator: Believing in yourself https://www.sparklestories.com/story/by-thistle-by-thimble-the-navigator/
In this story, a village builds a ship according to the instructions from their leader, The Captain. Through the process, they stray from their original promise to follow The Captain on the course he has charted for them.
A little girl (with a big voice) reminds the village of their commitment and in the process becomes a true leader: the navigator. When we think of “many hands” on a ship we sometimes don’t realize that the power of every adventure and mission is in the hands of the navigator. There are tools and devices that help every navigator, but the heart is ultimately the most accurate, and love is the most potent fuel. This story is not only about trusting yourself, but trusting others — and allowing them to trust you too!
The Power of Affection: Listen with your heart
In this story, brother and sister undertake the next lesson in their quest to learn about superpowers — this time with instruction from the town’s antique shop owner on a very special way of listening. Listening with affection is a superpower that many people don’t realize is actually a skill: to notice how we are “moved.” This superpower gives us subtle guidance toward what is real, true, and beautiful — and connects us to our delight. What a powerful skill to have! You can explore this playlist for more stories about learning to listen.
Seamus O’Conner, Dry Gables School Teacher (and Dreamer): Open your heart
“Those who wander are not lost” is a phrase this generation needs to hear. When we encourage our children to “follow their heart,” let us always remember that wandering is a part of that guidance. Discovery, surprise, and openness are just as important as intuition and confidence. In this story, we meet elementary school teacher Seamus O'Conner — a unique and remarkable person. He dreams big as a youth in Limerick, Ireland, and when he finally begins his life quest, he finds out how hard it is to be your true self. This story is for the sensitive, intuitive, self-aware, expressive, and imaginative children who find that being themselves can be difficult — but well worth the effort!
Maurice the St. Bernard - The power of sensitivity
There are children who listen to this story over and over — and the reason is that many children (sadly) hear the identifier “sensitive” as a kind of fault. In this story, however, that sensitivity saves a life and positions Maurice as a hero. Children know, deep down, that this is the truth about sensitivity. It is actually an advantage — and trusting yourself to harness it supports self confidence and acceptance. Maurice is a young St. Bernard pup that lives with his family at the base of a mountain. His sisters are both strong and hard working St. Bernards, but what makes Maurice unique is his very particular sense of his own body. When a hiker gets stuck on the mountain, this sense of self is precisely what brings Maurice to the rescue.
About the Author
Jessica is a content creator, writer, strategist, and vintage pyrex collector. She has a passion for facilitating authentic connection, whether that's through her work at Sparkle Stories or her songwriting.