Sparkle Schoolhouse
Exploring the Dry Gables Series - "Get Your Ducks in a Row"

Exploring the Dry Gables Series - "Get Your Ducks in a Row"

The stories from the two Dry Gables Series include an accompanying post from the Sparkle Schoolhouse Educator, Meredith Markow. Each post offers insights into the characters and dynamics of the stories, along with suggestions for how to use the stories as parenting or teaching tools!

Clang! Clang! Clang! The school bell is ringing, and we don’t want to be late for our Dry Gables’ school teacher, Mr. Seamus O’Conner, in the story "Get Your Ducks in a Row" from the Dry Gables: Hands Together collection.

And as Liesl’s husband, Seamus is a member of the Herz family, but by marriage. He is not only the town people’s esteemed school teacher, but also he is Dry Gables’ only citizen to find his way to Dry Gables from Ireland. This makes him special and unique in our community. Our Seamuses like be recognized as significant in a way that marks their individuality. They need opportunities to bring their views to others, as well as to share the depth of learning , pearls of wisdom and the gifts of beauty to their students. They are sensitive, oh so sensitive, to the needs and plight of others, and they want to do what they can to move beyond the superficial to bring the depths of soul that lies beneath the surface of humanity.

Seamus is saying: “I want to feel my emotions!”

Because our Seamuses feel very deeply, sometimes they can get lost in their emotions and require some clarity and assistance in sorting through them. Seamuses can be very hard on themselves, not in that they reuire perfection from themselves, but rather that they question their significance if they are not making a contribution or if they feel that they don’t belong. Seamus can be emotionally turbulent and even melancholic if is circumstances are not the ideal that he imagines.

“You see Seamus’s imagination was wide and contained multitudes, as the poet says. That imagination had rich feelings, had colorful adventures, had pictures of how things could be and indeed contained things that probably would never be. It invited him into some truly unique experiences and – it was not uncommon for him to feel a great deal of disappointment if his imagination did not match up with reality.”

Sometimes Seamus needs the depth of his deep stirrings to have sunlight illuminated on them. It’s important for Seamus to be able to bring his emotions and thoughts to the surface, and in bringing them to light, they can be far easier to navigate.

What we hope for our Seamuses is they can move beyond self-absorption and into right action. We want to help them to navigate their emotions and imaginations by focusing upon something objective.

We want them to know that, “Being special does not mean that I am alone. Maybe others do you understand me and can help me.”

So, when your little Seamus seems to be wrapped up in feelings of melancholy or loneliness, or if he is showing you signs that he doesn’t feel that he belongs, remind him that he is not alone, that you understand, and that there is a solution to his woes. Be Wilhelm! He wants to know that he is important and that there is room for his feelings, but also that the world is filled with hope and goodness. This is the clarity that he needs.

Here’s what you can do to bring a little Wilhelm to your Seamus:

  • Interview your Seamus! Have an interview with your Seamus to help him to get to the bottom of what’s going on by asking clarifying questions. Ask your questions in a light-hearted but not flippant manner. After he’s had a time to share his feelings, ask him to describe the events that were upsetting to him. Sometimes the ‘just right’ question can help Seamus to move past his stuck place, and this can be very liberating for your Seamus.

  • Fact or Feeling? When your Seamus is not in a moment of upset, play a game that helps to identify statements that are facts or feelings. Make a list of statements that are examples of both, and place them into a properly basket. This can be a useful skill to practice, so that in the moment when Seamus most needs to be able to be more objective, he has some practice.

  • Whatcha Gonna Do? Role play or make a puppet show of putting a plan into action. Your Seamus may be scared to be authentic, so help him to practice what he may need to do, so that he can feel more confident before the ‘real deal’.

  • Singing Whatcha Gonna Do? Put your plan of action into song! Sing it, Seamus!

  • Me, too! Share with your Seamus about a time that you felt exactly the same way that he is describing. Normalize the experience, so he doesn’t feel alone.

  • Order of Operations: Take what seems like a complicated task, and break it down step by step by step. Then marvel at what you did! Little by little wins the race!

Our Seamuses need our Wilhelms! Hands Together!

Wilhelm brings clarity and objectivity to our emotional deep-sea divers, our Seamus, by reminding him that there is always a clear path to help him to find the light of day!

About the Author

Meredith Markow

Sparkle Schoolhouse Head of School

Meredith has been working with adults and children of all ages for the past 25 years as a Waldorf Teacher and Educational Consultant. She received a B.A. with a focus on child development and child psychology from the University of Michigan, in 1984, an M.A. Ed from Washington University in 1987, and her Waldorf Teaching Certificate from the Lehrerausbildung (Teacher Training) in Nurnberg, Germany in 1989. She was certified as a Living Inquiries Facilitator in 2014, and she completed her formal teaching certification with The Enneagram Institute in 2014. Her work in the classroom and with individuals and groups is designed to help people of all ages to drop self-limiting beliefs to live a more joyful and compassionate life.

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