We all fall down

We like to think of our children as coming to us from the starry heavens. This means we are extremely blessed to be in the presence of little beings so much nearer to this heavenly realm than we are. What a blessing children are to their teachers and caregivers. But journeying from the heavens down to this earthly life (what I call incarnation) is not without trials! Not the least of which is gravity! As we turn our daze to the ground, I am reminded of the forces of the earth and physical existence. (And not just gravity; there are many other physical forces we are subject to such as motion, flow, applied force, friction, tension and spring force.) As I watched my 2-year-old grandson play, I thought,

little children begin their lives as budding physicists.

His play was an on-going testing of gravity, motion, rebounding, levity, density and force as he poked, prodded, threw, fell, ran, bumped, jumped, tripped, fell again, and then got up again and again and again. Is it any wonder that children’s all time favorite circle game ends in “we all fall down!” sang to peels of laughter as they roll around on the floor?

Today I offer an invitation to awaken to the wonders of gravity and the connection to the earth it presents us with. Look for ways to let your child “fall down” or in other ways, play with gravity. Build a ramp in the sandbox for wheeled vehicles. Make a ball shoot (a course for balls). Build slides of all kinds from things in the house. Go down the stairs on a sled (okay, only if it’s safe!) Find places for throwing (over a fence or into the water). Explore all kinds of ball play. Swing from a limb and drop down. Or overcome gravity by climbing a tree. Pour water from a watering can. Roll down a hill. And don’t forget that very small children need to fall. The more children fall from very low, safe heights, the safer they become in their bodies. Assisting them in standing, walking or jumping is not actually helping them at all.

I’ve gotten so I don’t even hold children’s hands anymore because it disrupts their own sensitive sense of balance.

After hours and hours of observing unassisted children carefully navigating the forces required to stand, walk and run over uneven ground, I’ve become more careful, and I move more safely, fluidly and gracefully. And so I end where I began: the children brought gifts from the heavens when they arrived. We have only to notice.

About the Author

Kimberley Lewis

Kimberley is a birth-to-three teacher, consultant and writer. She received her master's degree in Waldorf Early Childhood Education from Antioch University New England in Keene, NH. She is a RIE® Associate and avid Pikler student. She has been teaching nursery, preschool, kindergarten and parent-child classes in Waldorf schools since 2007.

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