The Work of The Biography

 

One of the most important things Waldorf teachers do in their teacher training is to look at their own biographies.  It is a vital step, because children respond to not just WHAT we teach, but WHO we are.  This is true in parenting as well.

 

I am in my second year of Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy and the Arts, and we are doing some biography work.  It is very interesting, and I wanted to share some of the resources and exercises as we go along for those of you who are interested in this kind of work for your own personal development in teaching and parenting.

 

Many of you know that Rudolf Steiner looked at the human lifespan on earth as working in seven year cycles ( although he was not the only one who looked at the human lifespan through seven year cycles).  He saw the human being as a threefold human being, so when we look at biography we must consider the physical body, the soul (Bernard Lievegoed refers to this as the psyche in his book, “Phases:  The Spiritual Rhythms of Adult Life”  http://www.amazon.com/Phases-Spiritual-Rhythms-Adult-Life/dp/1855840561/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1346523969&sr=8-1&keywords=phases+by+bernard+lievegoed) and the spirit (which, again Bernard Lievegoed refers to as the “biographical skeleton” in his book).

 

One of the first exercises we did in class was to take an index card and write one word or phrase that describes our physical body in the upper left hand corner and in the right hand corner we were to write down several “themes” that one could see at work in our life.  In the center of the index card, we had to make a list of important events in our life.  We had about five minutes to do this, so you could not sit and think for too long… (If you are going to do this, please grab an index card and do it before you read the next SPOILER part!!)

 

It was interesting to see how some people wrote down lots and lots from their childhood, and how some wrote almost nothing from their childhood but a lot from their adult life.  Some people put things in their biography like when they learned to ride a bike without training wheels and some put in their college degrees….

 

One of the major resources I like for understanding the human life span is Betty Staley’s, “Tapestries” – I went through this book chapter by chapter and you can see those posts here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/category/book-reviews/tapestries/

 

In our course we are referring to Bernard Lievegoed’s work, which I like, and also this book, which is out of print: “The Human Life” by George and Gisela O’Neil:  http://www.amazon.com/Human-Life-George-ONeil/dp/092997901X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1346524057&sr=1-1&keywords=the+human+life+george+oneil

 

Food for thought this Labor Day weekend,

Carrie