A Magical Evening: To Be Children Again
--Valeri Shah
3 minute read
Nov 6, 2012

In a circle, we swung arms, sang with our hearts, and joyfully danced one magical evening at the home of Anna Rainville and Betty Peck, a mother-daughter duo who has been focusing on educating the spirit of children in addition to their minds . Anna, the daughter of a 92-year-old kindergarten teacher Betty Peck, had opened her family home to the ServiceSpace Cubs Community for one evening where we would share their experiences – most of us parents, who constantly want to do the “right” thing for our kids to cultivate all of the good stuff that keep us thriving in the ServiceSpace community.  For those who missed the evening, you can have a listen to the audio recording from the gathering at this link here.

For many of us, having children has been such a blessing, but undoubtedly has tested and pushed us to limits we never thought we would encounter. This night was amazing in reminding us that our best gifts to our children is to simply be children again, and enjoy the wonder of play.

Our evening together started off with a self-guided tour of the home. Words can do no justice in describing their  home. I can only say it was a playground, with a train track circling the forest like abode. An enchanted tree house for day dreaming and reading storybooks, lush greenery with a creek below that created a fairytale setting. We all felt like we stepped out of the Silicon Valley and entered the wardrobe in the storybook: A Lion, Witch and a Wardrobe.  There was definitely magic in that place!  As tough as it was to leave the outside gardens, Anna called us to join arms and play! It was like reliving kindergarten. I can only wish my son is having as much fun in kindergarten as I was that night.

After our time singing and dancing outside, we all sat down in the beautiful room, ornate with hand-made laterns by Mary Roscoe, another Waldorfian inspired educator. The setting created inside was as beautiful as outside, with so much care and thought put in by Anna, Mary, and Betty. After our moment of silence, we engaged in a circle of sharing of retelling our favorite childhood play memories. It brought smiles to all of us. For me, just thinking of my childhood tree house….made me realize how special nature is. Personally, I didn’t realize how much my connection to nature today was rooted in so much outdoor play and literally hanging from trees that I did while I was a child.

Anna’s wisdom on how our senses are the foundation of higher level thought made so much sense that it made me question many of the conventions we see in modern day classrooms. She did say, play needs to be kept alive at home, and not just with kids, but as adults….how true that is!

One of the most touching things I felt that night, and maybe because I am a cheesy mom :), was Anna’s deep reverence to her mother. I felt that everything she said came back to her mother, as her role model, teacher, and now truly the other half of her heart. I could feel that the generational foundation they had, from simply living together as a joint family, to having been in the art of educating children, had created this amazing space we were all experiencing. It seemed as sacred as going to a temple, but this time, I think it was more like we had all stepped out of our adult bodies, and become children again.  In that process, our play helped us to find our sacred moments again.   


Posted by Valeri Shah on Nov 6, 2012

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