How are we honoring our children?
Recently, many Firekeepers participated in conference calls on the topic of children at our fires, along with a special guest, Nicole Colvin, who deeply cares about this Community, and is passionate about us doing a better job of nurturing the children and supporting the parents at all our events.
Community by its very nature encompasses all age groups. Children are an integral, honored part of that richness. Many important issues were shared as Firekeepers explored how they and the local communities can better hold the space for children to be naturally woven into the fabric of our community fires. If this is an important issue to you, please talk about it with your local Firekeeper, bring it to your community fires, and help us continue this discussion of how we care for each other and deepen into the experience of real community.
Here’s a letter about how our talks are sparking a children’s program, with the match being lit in the UK!
Hi, Chris Holland here, one of the Firekeepers from England.
Various questions have been coming up around how we can see to children’s needs at and around SFC gatherings and events.
I am a Firekeeper in Southwest England, along with my wife Wizz. We have three kids, not all of whom are still children! Our youngest is almost 6, the oldest 20. I work with children and adults as a nature connection teacher. I use story, play, craft and games activities to facilitate this and I have written a nature connection guidebook, I love my World. In the last few years, I have also become more involved with the Art of Mentoring, a nature-based community regeneration and cultural repair model/practice sprouting in the US from the 8 Shields Institute.
Talking with Sherry Boatright (Georgia, USA) from Sacred Fire Community Lifeways and Nicole Colvin-Griffin (New Hampshire, USA) gave rise to the birth of this article in HotNews. We are planning Lifeways programming for children that will take place while their parents are at Reunion, in retreat, or involved in other community events.
During the chat, we talked about a more child-led, mixed aged group of children playing nature connection games, learning primitive living skills, tracking, cooking around a little camp fire, maybe going hunting, fishing, sneaking around, climbing trees, that kind of stuff, with a couple of playful adults joining in too for safety and facilitation purposes.
When I was asked to write something to start off the conversation, I immediately thought to share some teachings from the late Gilbert Walking Bull.
Gilbert Walking Bull grew up in the 1940s, away from Western culture and language. He was chosen early in life to receive the teachings of his tribe (Lakota Sioux). “The Seven Sacred Attributes of the Child” are qualities of being within us which we can protect and nurture.
1. The quiet mind, where you can hear the voice of spirit or instinct within you.
2. The purity, innocence, and happiness of a child.
3. Vitality and health, “the quickness of a coyote.” To be like a wild animal.
4. Connecting to all people with love.
5. Empathy, compassion and unconditional love for all living things.
6. Being truly helpful. A sense of your purpose, and bringing this gift to your people.
7. Being fully alive, giving yourself fully to all that you do. (Gray 2012).
In addition to being a Firekeeper for the Sacred Fire Community with his wife, Wizz, Chris Holland is a trained first-aider, a Forest School Leader, and has studied selfheal herbalism. He is father to two lovely girls and a handsome young lad, and lives in Otterton in Devon, UK.
Are you interested in helping the Sacred Fire Community create space for our children? We need a children’s editor for our HotNews e-newsletter! Find out more.
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