The Imitation Principle and Dads- finding ways to modify real work

Posted under Construction

In my Waldorf community, there are only women teachers.  I have one ever seen one male working consistently in the early years area, and he left many years ago, never to be seen again.

And as much as us women try to provide balanced experiences for the children in our communities, by engaging the children in woodworking, heavy lifting, setting up of pulley and rig systems in cubby houses, and working with tools, there is something to be said in having a male person working this way and providing a real role model for imitative play.  Without being stereotypical, there are things that a man does and ways that a man moves and communicates, that cannot be replicated by a woman.  (Same goes for the other way too!)

So, it is a big delight for me to watch Ned spending time with his father doing ‘boy’ stuff. And Chris is great (like many dads) at adjusting his tasks slightly so Ned can join in too!

This past fortnight, Chris has been working to finish concreting our long rural driveway. Of course, Ned wants to join in so he cut off a section of the handle of  a big shovel for him.  Because, of course, no other tool- not a replica or child size version- would have been good enough. Ned wants to do the ‘real’ job with the real tool, just like his daddy.

And then there was the job of moving concrete to pave a mowing strip next to the trampoline.
Chris’s work wheelbarrow was way too heavy, so Ned and Daddy went into the shed to fashion one just right for him!  Abracadabra- a baby bath, an old wheel and a few timber scraps and there you have it!

Chris was busying carving concrete rocks- one of his favourite past-times- something you can tell by looking around our garden.   This is a skill he learned from my dad, a bit of a legend rock carver who worked on the Polar Bear shores and Shark Bay rock enclosures at our local Seaworld, and on tourist attractions all around Australia and overseas.  Rock carving is a long, time-consuming and delicate process.  Ned loves it, but sometimes ends up doing more harm than good!
So, imaginative daddy Chris backed up his ute onto the grassy strip next to the sculpture .  Luckily, we live in a rural lane with only 3 neighbours so car traffic is a rarity.  Chris added two of Ned’s big trucks and a few shovels to the sand and Ned played happily next to Dad, carving his own rocks in his makeshift portable sandpit.

This made Chris one very happy daddy, able to work in peace.

Our new letterbox in progress.

I love wonderful male role models that can show little boys and girls what it means to work heartily and happily on a project.  We need more of these guys in the world.
Are you lucky enough to know one??

2 Responses to “The Imitation Principle and Dads- finding ways to modify real work”

  1. Bending Birches

    hi amber!!!
    so glad we have found each other, and yes, please feel free to link to the pictures on my blog!!!
    This is a great post- I agree, I haven’t seen many male figures in the Waldorf School itself, but I am happy to say that they are certainly involved in the waldorf community! It IS so important for males to have a role model and male figure to model themselves after- someone hard working, handy, creative, kind, and knowledgeable. Boys truly need this! It is so very important….I come from a broken home and I witness how badly my 2 younger brothers needed this in childhood…and even now in adulthood!
    I am so thankful for men such as my husband (and yours!) who make such a fantastic effort to model craftsmanship, patience, and persistence. Let’s hear it for our boys!!!
    warm wishes to you and yours…talk to you soon!

  2. Old Mill Organics

    Yes!!! My hubby has been really committed to building a super cubby for our children. It is a real family affair and it is so sweet to watch the little children copy him with his tools and do their ‘work’. It is also very touching to see Wade (10) connecting with his Dad during the building process. Love it!! Father and Son stuff is beautiful to watch. Yes, lets be ever grateful for the gorgeous men in the world who take the time to give of themselves and share their skills with our children. hmmm…got me thinking about Father’s Day now!! Love Angel x

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