Book Club: Sanctuaries of Childhood Chapter Four


Today I will be summarizing and discussing the fourth chapter of Shea Darian’s book, Sanctuaries of Childhood: Nurturing a Child’s Spiritual Life. The book is written for parents or caregivers who are looking for inspirational ideas on how to nurture spirituality (non-denominational and all-encompassing) within themselves and their children. I will share a chapter summary every few weeks and would love you to join in with your reflections in the comments section.

Chapter Four: Songs of Angels – The Sanctuary of Music

Entering the Sanctuary of Music

  • Singing can heal and create sense of Divine joy
  • Music makes us “bold when we are fearful”
  • Music is used to make rituals sacred (eg. birthday, holidays, the departing of the dying)
  • Music isn’t just made by us, but streams through us from a higher place
  • Steiner said if more people would sing the world would have less crime
  • Music harmonises and balances

Nurturing Children in the Sanctuary of Music

  • Have courage to sing for your children even if you do not consider yourself musical- your voice is a gift for them
  • Sing your children songs from your own childhood
  • “We are all instruments upon which the musical tones of the universe beg to play”

Seeking Wisdom in Music

  • There is a difference between “true music” and music as an escape from the present world
  • Real music create connection and community while someone wearing headphones on a bus, for example creates withdrawal from community
  • The overuse and abuse of recorded music may dull our ability to experience and create music firsthand
  • Do our children experience live song daily?
  • Do our children have opportunities to create their own music rather than passively listening to electronic sounds?
  • Sometimes embracing silence can create the space needed to allow music to flow

The Unfolding Journey

  • “Music is the language of the cosmos”
  • Explore singing with your child by singing gently, singing in a higher register, breathing naturally and relaxing
  • Choose simple and developmentally appropriate songs for young children
  • Learn the basics of notation or perhaps even pick up a simple instrument such as the Choroi flute or a KinderHarp

Simple Blessings to Create a Sanctuary of Music

  • Sing through the day- use music to aid in everyday transitions
  • Darian recommends for some simple songs to sing with your children
  • Music helps to create a soulful communion- sing before mealtimes or before family meetings
  • Create musical gatherings within your community where people can come together in song
  • Listen to the natural songs of the earth together- birds singing, winds flowing, streams running

Personal Renewal: For Adults Only

  • Singing makes us feel vulnerable
  • Some adults were labelled poor singers when we were young and carry that identity with them for too long
  • Give yourself permission to sing
  • Set aside time each day for singing and musical expression

This chapter made a lot of intuitive sense to me. Being a singer I don’t relate to the awkwardness that so many feel when they use their voice, however, I can empathize and like Darian, encourage everyone to embrace their unique voice and find a daily connect with their musical self. Music creates magic, flow and cooperation in our days with young. Only a couple days ago I heard my husband having a small battle of the wills with our 3-year-old about putting her coat on. I called downstairs, “Try singing!” And sure enough, as soon as he had sing-songed his way through “This is the way we put on our coats, put on our coats, put on our coats. This is the way we put on our coats so we can go outside” I heard a shift in energy and a happy little compliance from our daughter. I also use music to sing the younger children to sleep. When our middle child stopped using her pacifier to go to sleep I used nursery rhymes to help us with this transition and to this day she still loves me to sing her to sleep with Little Bo Peep, Sing a Song of Sixpence and Mary had a Little Lamb. My eldest son is an avid guitar player and a big Beatles fan. He received an iPod nano for his 7th birthday from Grandparents and we established a set of rules that worked with our family values and tried to strike a balance between his desire to explore and listen to different musical styles while also keeping him actively involved in the musical creation process himself.

How does music shape your days together as a family? Do you have any musical family traditions you’d like share?

DISCLOSURE: This journal entry contains a link to Meagan from Whole Family Rhythms is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to and Thank you for your support.

“Quotes from Sanctuaries of Childhood by Shea Darian used by permission. Copyright 2011 by Charlene DeShea Bagbey Darian. Revised 2nd Edition.”

Meagan Wilson is a parent educator and author of the now-retired seasonal series of Whole Family Rhythms. After finishing a BA, she went on to complete her Foundations in Steiner Education and Anthroposophy at Sydney Steiner College, as well as her Waldorf Early Childhood Certification at the Rudolf Steiner Centre in Toronto. She has received her certification as a Simplicity Parenting Family Life Coach and has supported hundreds of parents to create a strong family rhythm unique to their own values and culture. She has four young children. Meagan provides resources, support and information to parents who are looking for a bridge to cross between their unique family life and their children’s (often but not always) Waldorf schools.

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