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!
Hello, Sparklers! If you are anything like Jane Mayer, you hardly have a moment to quiet yourself to read this! As you know, when we are like Jane, we can hardly sit still, there's so much to do and so much to explore, and we have all of the reserves of enthusiasm to do it all! That is, until we can't do it all, and we become so scattered and dispersed that we can even exhaust ourselves trying.
Janes have physical energy and spunk, and they will look to have many activities. They want to try everything! They are looking for fun and joy, but perhaps even more importantly, they want options! Our Janes are busy, entertaining, enthusiastic, and they delight in the world. They typically can do many things well, and they do!
Jane is saying: “I want EVERYTHING!”
In our story we hear:
Jane Meyer was probably the most enthusiastic, adventurous and energetic person ever to live in Dry Gables. She was always up for trying something new, for traveling great distances to meet interesting people or to experience something she had never experienced.
Because children are naturally adventure seeking, optimistic, high spirited and curious, there’s no doubt that you find Jane in your child. But all of this exploring and doing can also mean that our Janes are undisciplined or distracted. They can seek over stimulation, always planning activities. They love to be in motion! Their minds can be restless, and they are tend to do too much as they are often searching for new experiences.
Difficult as it is for our Janes to come to a quiet still point to focus, it is also important that they can do so. This is why we need our Maxes. Max helps to bring Jane’s dispersed enthusiasm to a single point of focus as she comes to dive more deeply into an experience that is of great interest to her. In our story, Jane wants to explore so widely, that she even wants the future right now!! Max tries to explain to her that, as exciting as that is, you cannot bring the notion of the future to others without deeper understanding:
“I just saw the future!"
“Jane” said Max who’s face suddenly transformed into one of a kind but very serious teacher, “When one needs to convince a group of people that you know what you are talking about … it is best – to know what you are talking about. And that means going deep – going into the details – understanding the little things. Searching far and wide is what you are good at and what you love – I know this Jane. But for this … ‘wide’ is not enough – you need to go deep.”
“The future” she said in a new tone – a calm tone – with a confidence that, I suppose … came from really knowing what she was talking about.
“Well..” she answered while looking gratefully over at her friend Max Denken, “Its really not that hard – you just pick what is important to you … and go deep. And if you stick with it … you’ll learn all you need to know”
The gift that Max brings to Jane, is the ability to focus. He models for her the importance of being able to go deeper to explore a topic that we feel passionate about without having to disperse our energies wanting to have it all for ourselves. This helps Jane to shift the focus from herself in terms of wanting more gratification and satiation, now to turn her understanding toward the world. This helps her to become involved with things with more depth and helps her to address purposes other than her own.
Max says to Jane, “Focus.”
Max helps Jane to realize that she can still experience the world, but instead of doing so for the benefits that it offers her, by deepening her understanding, she can communicate that enthusiasm in ways that better serve those around her.
The best thing you can do to bring a little Max to your Jane when she needs it, is simple:
In the midst of her distractibility and scattered attention, bring something to her awareness that is truly interesting to her. Then explore or study or observe it. Stay right there. Go deeper, not wider.
Refer to the above.
What we hope for Jane is to be able to experience the joy and enthusiasm that she has for life without losing herself in in.
We want her to relax, knowing that the experience she is having in the moment is the right one, and that she is not missing out..
And thanks to Max, she can. She can experience the fullness of the world from within and not just from without!
Our Janes need our Maxes! Hands Together!
Max helps Jane to focus.
He helps her to know that the big wide world is also the deep and meaningful world!
About the Author
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.