I absolutely love the book, “Connecting With Young Children: Educating The Will”, by Master Waldorf Kindergarten teacher Stephen Spitalny. (If you have not read this book, I really think you should. Here is the link for it: http://www.amazon.com/Connecting-With-Young-Children-Educating/dp/1105320820/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351371198&sr=8-1&keywords=connecting+with+young+children+educating+the+will. It is chock full of wonderful thoughts for the self development of the adult, how to guide small children, and yes, how to work with and shape the will forces of the young child.)
Mr. Spitalny begins his book with this paragraph: “The most fundamental human activity is that of relating and connecting. The human being relates herself to the world, to other human beings, to spiritual beings and to herself – to all aspects of experience.” He goes on to write: “To be social means to relate to the other. Relating is the realm of give and take; it is interactive. In our modern world human beings more and more experience isolation from each other, from the world of nature around them, and from the spiritual world. And most of all, human beings are disconnected from themselves.”
We have to know ourselves first, before we can bring ourselves to others in a productive manner. I volunteer in many capacities – at the national level in an international breastfeeding organization, in a homeschooling group, in helping other mothers with the unique aspects of creating family culture and in guiding their children, and at my place of worship. In all of these places, when things “go wrong” it is often, at the root, an individual’s difficulty in knowing themselves and how to bring this in a productive way to other people, a difficulty in compromise and living in community, an experience of living in the desert of spiritual and religious isolation and not knowing how to grow past that.
If we wish to know ourselves, we must understand our own biography. I wrote a little about that here:http://theparentingpassageway.com/2012/09/01/the-work-of-the-biography/. I will be posting more about biography this week!
If we wish to know ourselves fully, we must engage with others within community in an empathetic way, in a way of compassionate consciousness.
If we wish to bring a true spirituality to our children in an increasingly materialistic world, we must find a spiritual community with others in which to learn and grow. Spirituality is not an isolated endeavor. I have talked to many mothers who have told me their experience with Waldorf Education has brought to a place of worship or back to a place of worship. It is in full community that we learn and grow and yes, learn to look at ourselves and change.
If we wish to bring relating and connecting to our children, we must be worthy of our children’s imitation as we interact with others, and we must be able to function within community so we can model that to our children. Warmth is an important part of this communicative and societal process; warmth is the gateway to the upper of the twelve senses.
Help your children engage in life in an empathetic way, in a way that helps them be fully human as they grow and develop. That is the ultimate goal of education, and of parenting.
Be the best teacher you can be,