Some parents come to me concerned about their children being obsessed with Poekies. However, Poekies can give a wonderful opportunity to develop all kinds of skills.
This text is a work in progress.
The physical benefits of hand-sewing are obvious, it improves manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination. But the children also learn patience and the value of precision. Comparing a perfectly sewn Poekie and a not-so-perfect one, is like looking at "pretty and sweet" versus "scruffy and sweet." Both are adorable but every child sees the difference and eagerly takes the challenge to reach that perfection. Children also learn to think in three dimensions. Through their hands and their eyes they experience how a few two-dimensional pieces become a three dimensional sculpture.
Psychological and Social Aspects
The Poekies represent that innermost innocence in all of us. It is the two or three year old that is still just concerned with the immediate environment and naturally knows what is right and wrong. It is the most sensitive place that lives somewhere in all of us. It is the part that connects us to God or the Spirit, Source or Tao.
My wish is that we try to prolong that innocent stage in children as long as possible. As a Waldorf teacher, I know that nothing is lost by letting them take their time to 'grow up.' There is no need for young children to learn early about the big world, as it is too abstract. Their world is still mostly in the immediate environment, but for many of my 6 to 11 year old students it is a return to that innocence. It seems as if they lost it when they entered Kindergarten and learned about letters and numbers. I believe that at this age these abstract concepts do not yet relate to their intangible Spiritual self, instead they take them away from it.
The Poekie world awakens this inborn sensitivity again by addressing problems through a perspective of simplicity. It is all about what is going on right around us. If we nourish this innocent sensitivity throughout childhood, the person may have a greater chance to stay connected with it later in life. And when you become aware of it later in life, it can sustain you through the worst storms.
The Poekies are a great opportunity to help develop social skills. A Poekie, like most three-year-olds, is pure goodness and very sensitive. You need to be on your best behavior with them. Often a Poekie will come to me and reveal the real issue that is living right now in the owner. Poekies are the perfect tool for taking away any inhibition or embarrassment the children may have. Social problems are solved clearly and sensibly, and with heart, through the Poekies. Children feel free to express their real thoughts and feelings because they can 'hide' behind their Poekies. In this way the Poekies allow grown-ups a peak into the sensitive parts of the child, and through the child's Poekie, they can respond with a wholesome, kind and constructive answer.
Here are some stories from the beadroom while in Poekie world:
• A 9 year-old boy comes to me with tears in his eyes and holding his Poekie he squeaks, 'Peter's Poekie says I am being mean. But I wasn't, I just told him that his Poekie was chubby.' It is not nice for a Poekie to call another Poekie chubby, however innocent it was meant, it doesn't sound very nice and the issue is not very important. Apologies are made and the problem is solved.
• At a Christmas party I wanted to sing songs, but these days most of the children are afraid to sing, possibly because they rarely sing in school anymore. However, when I had my Poekie sing in her squeaky voice, then the children happily joined in, singing for their Poekies.
• Once a Poekie came to me and said, 'My mommie's parents are separating.'
The world needs people who still remember their innocence and who can go back to that most sensitive place. Everyone wants a sustainable society with all the latest gadgets, and corporations too are not just looking for people who can type, they are looking for people with innovative and creative ideas. Letting the children linger in their childhood and teaching them what they need when they are interested, will raise a generation that can help change our old ways.
P.S. My long term English language editor is currently too busy to look at Poekie musings, and as English is my second language, I don't have the hours I need to edit it myself. So I apologize for the rambling nature of this text.