Despite the feeling that these last few weeks have been a bit disjointed overall, a lovely thread has woven its way through them.
It started as we revisited and acted out the story of St. Martin. The story tells of a soldier who pushes back against societal norms and splits his own cloak in two to share half of it with someone in need on a cold winter’s day. We read the story of the Lantern Prince who crosses class lines and reaches out to connect with his community, helping others, and bringing light into the darkness. We brought out our own paper lanterns, and talked about how we can be the light.
That same week, a friend and amazing local business owner shared about some packages she put together to keep in her car to share with folks who ask for change or food. Since the Halloween candy fairy had left the kids money in exchange for most of their candy – half was to spend how they wanted, and half to help others – we jumped on board with Tara’s plan and the kids used their giving funds to purchase items for their helping packs. These kits now live in our car and we all feel more equipped with a simple and – hopefully welcome – ray of light to share with others. They contain:
// ear warmer headband thingy (what are they called?)
// snack (we could only find bear paws where we were!)
// rain poncho
// we would have loved to also include a small flashlight and a notepad and pencil
Taking a cue from St. Martin’s split cloak, and the Martinmas tradition of sharing bread, we shared a batch of banana muffins (here’s a variation of the muffin recipe with calendula) at our learning co-op. Half of the group received a muffin and then each of those folks shared their muffin with their neighbour.
This all flowed right into Remembrance Day as we talked of war, Flanders Field, poppies and their symbolism. As we thought about what war is, and why it happens – in a way that makes sense to the kiddos – we were encouraged to remember to work for peace. We spent most of the day talking about peace and what it means to us and to others. A few bits of inspiration that wove into our day:
// Another great lead from a friend online was this series of songs – N’we Jinan Artists and this one particular.
// This great acts of kindness chain reaction video.
// A Sparkle Story called Pay it Forward.
// Todd Parr’s The Peace Book, a gift from an awesome aunt, was pulled off the shelf for a read and then the kids collaborated on their own version – The Peace Book 2. Some of their ideas about peace:
Peace is loving your neighbour.
Peace is resting in quiet.
Peace is making good choices.
Peace is being together.
Peace is God.
Peace is soothing music.
Peace is paying it forward.
So for a homeschooling, work-from-home mama of four who was feeling a bit overwhelmed with what to do for Martinmas, Remembrance Day and to feed the kids’ desire to help others in general, things really came together in just the way we needed. It truly fed our hearts and got us thinking – and we hope to pay it forward!
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