Saturday, 30 November 2013

Seasons in learning

(Ideas from Oliver and Rachel DeMille's book Leadership Education)

We have four seasons in our natural world.  In the past, almost everyone was tied to the agrarian cycle of the seasons.  Spring meant planting, summer meant tending, fall meant harvesting, winter meant resting.  While my family is not involved in planting and harvesting, there is something to be said to adhering to the long-standing tradition of seasonal shifts.

Winter

"Winters are for stories."  Temperatures plummet, making long hours outside uncomfortable.  Daylight hours are shortened, lessening the working hours of our natural circadian rhythm.  Instead of feeling cooped up and tripping over family members, embrace the idea of togetherness.  "Winter is the time to tell the old stories, sing the old songs, and for the younger generation to learn the wisdom of the elder....Winters are for stories.  Not just any stories - but mainly the stories of family, ancestor, founder and pioneer past.  In short, winters are when we pass on that which is classic.  Winter is a time of family closeness."


Spring

Spring is for renewal.  After a season spent trapped indoors, it is time to embark on adventures.  Spring naturally lends itself to the study of science, nature, experiments, and the world around.  Goals, plans, and dreams that formed over long winter nights have the chance to take wings.  Try something new, take a risk, stretch yourself physically, mentally and spiritually.  Shake off any winter blahs and boredom and renew yourself.


Summer

Summers are for family, especially work projects, evening work, and family activities.  In our modern return to nomadism, there is a real need for summer connections with extended family."  We no longer live in multi-generational homes, with grandparents and cousins part of the fabric of every day life.  Summers is a time when we can reclaim that closeness.  Travelling, vacations, sleepovers, extended stays, cottage weeks - any opportunity to knit the extended family closer.

Summers are good for work - real work, done together in families.  Hard work, sweat work.  Work that means something, that contributes in a real way to the family or community.  Equally, summers are for languishing with good books, when temperatures soar and the air grows thick with heat.

Fall

"Fall is for Beginnings."  I've never bought into the idea that the new year begins in January.  The dark days of winter don't lend much excitement to starting new things.  Instead, the advent of the crisp air of fall cleanses the body and soul and invigorates the mind.  Out with the old, in with the new.  Find the structure and schedule that has been missed over the summer.  Make inventories, purge the house, organize. "Set goals, raise the bar to a new level of study, make plans for the months ahead."

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