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Making Childhood Sacred

Making Childhood Sacred

Is not about filling up children's schedules with every type of fabulous activity.

Is not about permissiveness ... or authoritarianism.

Is not about being a so-called perfect parent.

Is not about always putting our children's needs above our own.

Making childhood sacred is about ...

CONNECTION AND LOVE

Humans are built for connection.

By loving ourselves, our children and the Earth unconditionally, we model reverent and mutually nourishing connectedness with All Beings - with our own self-love as the foundation.

childhood

Art by Elisabeta Hermann

Making childhood sacred is about ...

COMMUNITY

Parents are not meant to go it alone. Children are meant to be surrounded by a wide caring adults, each with their own wisdom to share, skills to teach and beingness to model.

community

Art by Molly Costello

Making childhood sacred is about ...

FREEDOM

Children who are free to experiment, to take risks, to master skills, and to follow their interests and passions are children who discover the strengths of their minds and bodies.

free range children

Photo by by Jean-Paul Loyer

Making childhood sacred is about ...

DAYDREAMING & PLAY

Solitary reflective time.
Positive constructive daydreaming.
Hapless mind-wandering.
Unstructured free play

Teaching children to be constantly productive and filling their schedules with endless activities is the antithesis of a sacred childhood.  

Children need unscheduled alone time. Time when their cognitive functioning can rest. Time to tap into their deeper selves. Time for imaginative play and exploration.

daydreaming

Art by Laimonas Šmergelis

Making childhood sacred is about ...

A PATH TO PURPOSE

Children who are held accountable - non-judgmentally - for their actions discover their own power to create a life worth living rather than one focused on shame, blame, and external standards and expectations.

Children whose gifts and contributions are acknowledged naturally assume a purposeful role in their family and community.

Children who are offered mentorship and an adolescent rite of passage have the best chance of finding their authentic selves in service to community, the world and the Holy.​

rites of passage

Photo by Ly Huong Long

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Share the magic of menstruation with your child

Magic of Menstruation: Discover It

Our cycles are more than blood leaving our bodes.

Yes, it's very important for menstruating youth and adults to understand the biology of menstruation, and overall, the structure and function of our entire reproductive system.

magic of menstruation

Art by Alberto Seveso

But our moon cycle is more than biology. It's magic. It's an alive, responsive, ever-changing magic that is there for us every day.

Our moon cycle a constant reminder of the cycle nature of life and of our cyclic nature as women. Our moon cycle is a barometer of our health and overall well-being. Our moon cycle, if we're open to it, brings us deep insight.

It's the nudge to be present with our entire body-mind - our Whole Sacred Self.

Our cycle begs us to be curious and tender with ourselves

Each day, let us ask ourselves:   
... What's real for me now?
... What am I receiving?
... What am I giving?
... What am I ready to release?
... What seeds shall I plant?
... Which seedlings need tending in order to ripen?

Art by Ronnie Biccard

If this sounds good - but is new to you - try this:

Simply tune into your cycle.  Each day, pause, breathe and tune into your body for 3 to 5 minutes. Gently, with devotion, patience and love. Simply be present and curious about what you're experiencing in your body, physically and emotionally. What would your body like more or or less of?

Over time, notice what happens. How does your body respond? Does it appreciate the attention? What are its needs?

You may find that the shift in you is flat out amazing. Joy and empowerment and insight and health and, well, a book of poetry's worth of goodness.

Magic of Menstruation: Share it with Girls

Another lovely tuning-in practice is to chart your cycle, noting how your emotions, intuition, and activities change through your cycle. This is a lovely mother-child activity.

Mom and her young menstruator may each have her own chart. Or if the child has not begun to bleed yet or does not yet have a regular cycle, the child can help with their mother's chart.

If you begin charting your cycle, your daughter will inevitably become interested. You and she together can discover the magic of menstruation.

magic of menstruation

Art by Anne Dewailly

​There are plenty of apps for cycle tracking, but all you need is a piece of paper. I prefer paper because one's spirit shines through - and one can pick up shifts over time visually.

Magic of Menstruation: Chart Cycles on Paper

On a large sheet of paper, write a series of well-spaced numbers in on the left. These are the days of your cycle, Day 1 being the day you begin to bleed. Across the top, label what you'd like to track, such as Physical and Emotional (for what you're experiencing physically and emotionally).  You may also like to track food, activities, and the phase of the moon.

Then each day, record how you're doing. Post this on the fridge if you're feeling revolutionary - if you're tired of hiding menstruation and would like the people in your life to know how you're doing. 

Here is a chart with the cycle days listed across the top and emotions, physicality and activities listed down the lefthand side.

Cycle Chart courtesy of Leslie Carol Botha of Holy Hormones Honey

This teen is fascinated by menstrual-lunar synchrony, so her chart is organized by the lunar cycle and explores how her body, moods and activities respond to both lunar and menstrual cycles.

menstrual chart

Lunar Menstrual Cycle Chart from a JOYW Mother-Daughter Circle

How do you talk about menstruation with your children? 

Cycle Literacy and Body Literacy for Youth

cycle literacy

JOYW Mentor students and graduates meet in a Facebook group to support one another in developing ways to share Cycle Literacy and Body Literacy with children of all genders and their parents.

Our current project is creating a detailed chart of conversations and activities that will nourish children ages 2 to 16.

Join us!

Learn to mentor girls & lead Girls' Circles

Do you feel called to mentor girls?
Learn about JOYW's
 Mentoring Girls Certificate Training.  

You'll enjoy new content, new resources and new collaborative opportunities in addition to an extensive interactive resource platform offering post-graduate support.  Our aim is to stand with all our current and former students as they plan, launch and lead their Girls' Circles. 

JOYW Girls' Circle by JOYW artist Karen MacKenzie

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Empower Girls to Be Who They Are

positive body image for girls

Be who you are. That's what we want for our collective sons and daughters, right? Being rooted in one's own being-ness - rather than defining oneself according to external standards and expectations - is essential for self-esteem and empowerment, for tuning into one's passions and purpose, and for all the things we want for ourselves and for young people.

Here are 15 doable ways to empower girls to Be Who They Are. And as it happens, these apply to all genders.​

We all have a role in supporting children and youth. Since my primary personal mission is to empower girls through mentorship and parent education, I'm often speaking to parents of daughters - or more generally, women who are called to girls' mentorship.

But the differences between what girls need and what boys need are limited.  What I'm often talking about is what all humans need.  And in fact, once we undo the culture's restrictive gender stereotyping, there will be fewer differences - especially as we move past the gender-as-binary model altogether.  

So here's a girl-languaged list of positive, doable ways to help everyone Be Who They Are.  Some are primarily for parents, but most of them could be offered by any role model.  

Many of these call for some inner work on your part, to bring more consciousness and light to a feeling, belief or story that is not in alignment with the message you want to bring.  Are you up for that? That's what we're here for, right?

As you read this, notice how you respond in your body.  Which of these resonate, which puzzle, which repel? 

empower girls

Art by Tammy Wyatt

15 Ways to Empower Girls to Be Who They Are

  1. Tell your daughters, "I believe in you" - and mean it. If you find yourself unsure of that inside, work with that, perhaps starting with believing in yourself. 
  2. Teach and model from birth that her body belongs to her. She chooses who gets close to her, who touches, hugs, tickles, or kisses her .. or throws snowballs at her.  She will learn to stand up for her body's sovereignty, and to offer that same respect to others.
  3. Name all the parts of her body including genitalia.
  4. Teach her that pleasure is her birthright.
  5. Talk to her about the changes of puberty and sexuality in accurate, relaxed and positive ways.
  6. Teach her to understand, revere and respect menstruation.
  7. Encourage her to listen to her intuition, her inner knowing.
  8. Encourage girls to explore whatever activities and learning call to them. Consciously set aside genderized limitations or expectations; if they persist, work with that. 
  9. Cultivate non-gender-binary, non-heteronormative, non-cis-gender-exclusive language and worldview. Don't let labels, stories or expectations impede you from being curious, respectful and awed by who your child actually is, right now.
  10. Tune into and respond to her ideas, passions, and skills. Limit your vocal and energetic response to her appearance.
  11. Limit praise - or more broadly, evaluation - so she develops intrinsic motivation and a connection to her Inner Compass, rather than relying on outside approval for self-esteem and and external expectations for direction.
  12. Encourage mistakes. Remove shame/judgment from mistakes. Without mistakes, there is no learning. Teach and model that failing magnificently is awesome.  If you don't feel the truth of this in your body, work with what you do feel in a tender way. 
  13. Allow her to seek her own answers and solutions. Humans - especially children - are natural explorers and seekers of mastery. Allow that to unfold.
  14. Teach and model media literacy from an early age. Help her to understand and filter the various sorts of toxic messages in advertising and popular culture.
  15. Show her how to be assertive - to ask for what she wants, to decline what she does not want, and to express her opinions and feelings.
empower girls

Photo by Rebecca Droke

To empower girls and all genders, start simple

Don't let a long list intimidate you.

As intentional people, I'm guessing that most of you already bring many of these to the children and youth in your life. Notice that, celebrate that, and keep on!

Of those items that resonate for you, but you don't see as your strong points, pick one or two.  Talk about them with your adult allies to help you flesh out why it matters to you, what messages you received as a child and the impact of that,  and to reflect on skillful ways to incorporate those pieces of empowerment into your life and the lives of the young people you care about. 

Thanks in advance for engaging with this. Truly we rise together!


Without reflection, there is no learning.  

Learning doesn't "stick" without reflection. The best reflections include our bodies and emotions, not just our minds.  

So pause for a few moments to ask yourself: What's my response? Where was I inspired or discouraged? What was puzzling? Clear as a bell? What would I add, remove or change? What information or support would I love to receive? Which items on the list will I aim to include (more) in my life?

Would you share your reflections? Please leave a comment below or contact me.

Much love and many blessings, 

Learn to mentor girls & lead Girls' Circles

Do you feel called to mentor girls?
Learn about JOYW's
 Mentoring Girls Certificate Training.  

You'll enjoy new content, new resources and new collaborative opportunities in addition to an extensive interactive resource platform offering post-graduate support beginning in 2017.

Payment plans and partial scholarships are available.

Learn more here.

JOYW Girls' Circle by JOYW artist Karen MacKenzie

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Our Collective Daughters

Our Collective Daughters


Our collective daughters! The baby girls, the toddling girls, the pre-pubescent maids, the young women.  They are all our daughters.

We are all raising all of them.

collective daughters

We have the highest hopes for them. And we see that they are facing the most challenging odds.

And so it's time to step up and live the lives we hope they will live.  

Let us be role models, mentors, and teachers.

Girls and young women soak up everything we feel, think, say and do. How we walk, how we breathe, the stories we tell ourselves about our bodies, our bleeding, our sexuality, our birthing, our aging, our sense of worth.

So let's strut our gifts and dig into our stuck places.

Let's nourish our sense of worth and see the worth of others.

Let us tune into our bodies. And truly live in our amazing bodies.

Let us include self-care as an essential facet of our daily lives rather than an indulgence.

Let us embrace our emotions as allies with important messages.

Let us listen to our intuition and be guided by our inner knowing.

Let us invite our Dream-maker to send dreams that speak to us.

Let us include pleasure in our lives, but not allow our appetites to override our integrity or our purpose.

Let those of us who bleed, menstruate fabulously.

Always, always, always, let us uphold sexuality as sacred. One of the earliest ways girls come to believe that their bodies ares shameful is when they are discouraged from self-pleasuring.  Let us speak of self-pleasure to them, so they know it is healthy and good.  And let us teach them that their bodies are sovereign, so they know that it's their choice who gets close to them, and when, and how.

Let us age magnificently.  Let's speak of the arc of a woman's life as incredible every step of the way, leading to a wise and wild elderhood.

Let's all be Creatices, seeing and creating Beauty each day.

Let's do this, for our collective daughters.


...What would you add, my sisters?

mentor girls

Art by Emily C. McPhie (both)

Learn to mentor girls & lead Girls' Circles

Do you feel called to mentor girls?
Learn about JOYW's
 Mentoring Girls Certificate Training.  

You'll enjoy new content, new resources and new collaborative opportunities in addition to an extensive interactive resource platform offering post-graduate support beginning in 2017. 

Learn more here.

mentor girls

JOYW Girls' Circle by JOYW artist Karen MacKenzie