I am a Child!
by Michelle Shirley
So you’re fed up with the frustrations of the Winter and if you haven’t already been out in the beautiful sunshine we have been blessed with, then perhaps now is a good time to do it. Being Spring and a time of rebirth and rejuvenation, it is time for each of us to find our Inner Child and let that Child play in the Gardens we have been blessed with. There is much symbolism and synchronicity in life with each moment and in this instance I refer to the gardens of our lives. Each moment is an opportunity to play – to play BIG or play SMALL. The important part is to PLAY.
At this celebration of Ostara, we thank the Goddess Eostre for the rebirth and rejuvenation of the earth and her children; which by the way is ALL of us, not just the literal children. I was asked to write this article with the message that “it would be really nice to do something with the children”, which got me thinking. I am a Pagan and celebrate Spring with all my family and friends who are mostly Non-Pagan. This has always been a festive time with much love and sharing and after seeing how my Pagan friends celebrate with their Pagan children I realized that there is no difference! My son is 17 years old and although he is not a Pagan, we celebrate the same way each year and Ostara (or the Spring Equinox) can be and should be a celebration with all children, irrespective of religious belief.
I take the time each year to have a spring picnic out in Nature and go for a walk or hike, come rain or shine, where we can experience the true beauty and blessings of Nature. Some of you may not like to take a walk out in the rain or get a little wind-blown, but however you do it, asking your children what it is that they would like to do out in Nature for a spring celebration is always the best place to start.
Some suggestions they may have could include a day outing like a hike or walking the dogs at the park, planting things in the garden, going fishing, crafting or spending some boy time or girl time, perhaps lying on a blanket on the back lawn looking at the sky and soaking up the sunshine, or for the less faint-hearted – perhaps an afternoon baking mud-cakes in the back yard; all of which will bring sheer delight. Just make a decision to choose to do something they want to do. The message is not so much about what you do with your children but more that you do something with your children. Although being outdoors and pointing out the brightness of things and the new growth of the shoots on the trees, the scent of the flowers and the butterflies flitting about will always bring joy to a child, the idea is to get them away from the television, Play Station, cellphone and other gadgets, and into nature where their lungs can expand and they can take in the fresh air and appreciate the beauty. Too much time is spent indoors, cooped up with distractions and sniffles of the cold season just past and is surely not positive.
If need be, grab your children by the hand, carry them if they’re small or coax those testy teens with bribes of a surprise. Lead them outside and release the pent up frustrations of the cold winter by shouting to the sky or into the wind, “I am a child!” (Or something of the sort!) Whatever you do, make it fun or funny and spend a little bit of time outside in the sunshine talking and sharing about your dreams and desires for the coming year. Now I can already hear some of you groan “but I have teenage boys/girls who are hormonal, moody, angry, depressed” etc. I have a few suggestions for that too.
For those of you with moody teenage boys or girls syndrome looming about, here’s a suggestion on changing the energy. Lack of time or money is often something that holds us back from taking on our teenagers moodiness, so if you’re in that boat right now, consider taking an hour to go for a walk with your child, even if it’s down the road to the park or river and find a few small stones for them to throw. Explain that each throw represents something negative that has caused the anger or sadness (whichever emotion is prevalent/dominant) and then throw a stone into the river or across the park. Please ensure that there is no-one else in the line of fire, safety first!
This is a great way to break down that barbed wire topped brick wall our teens hide behind. Even if they don’t want to shout out loud or even say a word, let your children know that it’s okay to just throw the negative into the river or across the park and let It go. It doesn’t serve them to hold on to it. Not all of us are counselors or therapists; we are parents and at this time of year it is important to clear that old energy and then focus on fresh new ideas for the coming season. Once they have cleared and are feeling better, ask them to find something positive, like a flower or a pretty stone or an odd shaped stick, anything they are attracted to will do, and let them share something positive they aspire to do or would like – a dream or goal (and if you get an “I don’t know” or shoulder shrug, then tell them it’s okay to do it quietly for themselves) but allow them to BE with it. Suggest that they take that stone, stick or flower (and press the flower between some tissue paper in a book so it lasts), or place the stick or stone next to their bed where they can see it and feel it and remember their goal, dream or desire as a positive. Stones work well as Gratitude Rocks (See http://xnfluence.com/how-to-use-a-gratitude-rock.html for steps on how to make your own gratitude rock).
You may be surprised at how turning that morning household shouting match over the breakfast table before you rush to school or work into a release to the Universe (remember the shouting “I am a child” exercise?) can change your whole life and family dynamic. The most important thing to remember is that it all starts with you. Make your children the priority for this celebration. They learn from how you act and behave so whatever you portray, ask yourself how you want your children to experience life, and make it that way. Do it with love. Have fun and celebrate life.