Apr 192015

Plant Healer Parents Group Forming

A commitment to teaching the craft, ethos, and values of folk herbalism to kids and teens is one of the most important things we can do for our species, our planet, and our future.  Asa, Lauren, and the Plant Healer Parents group are doing all they can to move this vision forward… not only by creating a program for your kids at the upcoming Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference, but all year long through parent networking, sharing, and alliance.  Kiva and I recommend this google group as a resource to any parent or teacher of young’ns, whether you are planning to attend TWHC or not.  And we hope you enjoy our friend Asa Henderson’s beautiful piece that follows, excerpted from the latest issue of Plant Healer’s free Herbaria Newsletter releasing Apr 21st.  –Wolf & Kiva

Plant Healer Parents Group poster72dpi

Join in Encouraging a New Generation of Wild Herbalists

by Asa Henderson

The beauty and the frustration of raising kids is that they are full of wild energy. What I mean by energy is that thing that wells up in us and spills out into the world.  My son’s energy comes out as beautiful artistic creations, and (when he was a bit younger) as the impulse to tackle anyone he either liked or didn’t like.

Asa Lauren Athil at TWHC 72dpi

There’s a delicate balance that we have to strike as parents between letting our kids’ energies run completely wild, and squashing them or making them wrong and bad.  My son is learning not to throw things behind his head inside the house.  He’s learning to look where he’s going to land before he summersaults.  He’s (mostly) learned not to wrestle in school.  He’s also learning to play the drums, to practice a beat over and over again until it flows out of him without a thought.  He’s learned to write letters, and then some words, and now he spontaneously writes love notes to friends and relatives.

Irish woman and kids72dpi

There’s a finesse (which I have far from mastered) to directing our kids’ energies in life-promoting directions without repressing or condemning the energies themselves.  We have to strike this balance because those energies come from the place where we are one with Creation.  Those energies that well up inside us and impel us to act, they come from our basic life force, our basic vitality, our anima. And as a parent, my primary job is to guide this vital force, this little ball of energy that is my son, to express in ways that serve Creation.  Which is why one of my favorite things to do for him is to bring him somewhere where his vital force can interact freely with that of other creatures—plants, animals, sticks and rocks.  There’s a freedom a kid can have in a forest or open field that it’s a lot harder to give him in our very cozy 700-square-foot trailer.  Kids need time and space to throw, dig, pick stuff up at random and see what can be done with it, run, roll, hike, explore.  They need time being part of a system that reflects their vitality back to them rather than trying to control it.

26402 Arbor Day Foundation Nature ExploreThe Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference has been such a place for my son, every year since it (and he) was born.  That’s why I and my wife volunteered to coordinate a kids’ camp for TWHC 2015.  We already have an amazing group of parent volunteers (and other herbalists who love kids), who have come up with some wonderful classes and activities.  There will be nature-based arts and crafts such as printing with plants, coloring with plant pigments, and connecting with plants through song and movement.  There will be experiential explorations of herbs through taste, smell, touch, and medicine making.  There will be hikes, herb walks, imaginative adventure story quests, fairy houses, and lots of free play in nature.  We will have separate activities and childcare for young kids (under 3 or 4) and older kids, so the young ones will be safe while the older ones can explore more adventurously.

If you’re as excited as I am about this and would like to help make it happen or have an idea for an activity you’d like to guide, contact me at asahenderson@gmail.com to volunteer.

But the most important ingredient in this awesome kids’ camp is the kids, so the most important thing you can do is bring them!  They’ll get to enjoy the freedom of being in nature and the kind of knowledge that only comes from direct experience with plants and wild places.  You’ll get to enjoy the classes while someone else plays with your kids.  Most importantly, the conference will benefit from the vitality of your kids, and the movement toward a humanity more attuned to nature will get a new generation of ambassadors!

Caroline with kids72dpi

For more information or to join the growing Plant Healer Parents Group, email Asa at:  asahenderson@gmail.com

To register you and your children for the TWH Conference & Kid’s Camp, click on the:TWHC Website

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