I've been mulling over the Christian concept of Work over the past many weeks, not least because we do so much of it around here, but more really because of our Sunday School program, Catechesis of the Good Sheperd.
My own children have all come through Catechesis, Elphine, as in everything, paving the way. Way back then, I didn't have any expectations and didn't have time for anything either and was just really grateful for her to meet Jesus, the Good Shepherd, in a special and beautiful space and to 'work' with so many materials made particularly for her and the other children. I count her current love of Jesus as the fruit of that time in the 3 to 6 year old Atrium and I am so so grateful for it. So also with all who have followed her. The teachers and the space and the time have been such a huge gift to their spiritual lives.
And then at the beginning of this year by the strange and seemingly incomphensible organization of God, I landed in the 3-6 year or Atrium myself, not as student, you will be relieved to know, but as Catechist. And so I have over this past year, finally, seen the "work" of the youngest child, so often read about but never observed first hand (by me).
So, knowing academically what was supposed to happen, I rigorously followed the steps laid out, establishing a culture and method of common life in the space--walking quietly, talking quietly, rolling and unrolling mats, working on something and then returning it to its place before the next thing, watering the plant, carpet sweeping the floor, and so on.
Having Marigold, who was cumbered in her speech at the beginning if the year, flower in contentment and joy particularly through the Work has been so interesting. She is 'at home'. She is restful. She gets out her folder and her mat and pastes and colors and then she puts it away and pours beans and then she might arrange flowers and then she takes all the little switch on 'candles' and lines them up and turns them on.
That she is not this restful at 'home' is also very interesting to me. Here, she beats and shouts her way into doing things she wants to do, many of them destructive. It's a clutter and a jumble here and even when there is 'work' for her that she wants to do, usually someone else is coming in and trying to ruin it for her. I don't feel particularly bad or guilty about this. We are a lot of people doing all our own things and the little ones, as far as I am concerned, are welcome to beat their way into everyone's attention, as long as they don't literally beat each other. I'm making it sound worse than it is. Right now, for example, Marigold is industriously coloring in her school book while everyone else also works. But still, there's a definite edge to her chin as she goes about it.
Unfortunately for all of us, this is just going to have to be Part One because I myself also have actual work to do and I haven't completed my own thought. But do not despair, I'll probably back to this subject sometime again before we all die.