Even as it brings unprecedented joy and wonder into our lives, parenting can be challenging, frustrating, and humbling. As we hold a newborn in our arms we may feel complete inadequacy for the task of caring for such a helpless bundle of endless demands. And yet, as the days and weeks go by, we find unknown capacities within ourselves. The rapidly growing and changing child becomes the impetus for us to grow and change as well.
Unlike the child, though, we adults do not develop unless we ourselves exert a conscious effort. We must consciously choose to master a short temper, take on unwanted household tasks, or give up an unhealthy habit, all for the benefit of another being.
By working with anthroposophy, the far-reaching view of the human being that underlies Waldorf education, we can come to understand such challenges in a larger context. By seeking to honor the imperishable spiritual essence within each human being, we can experience daily life as a school, a school whose goal is to develop separate, individual beings who can freely choose to unite with the world and act out of love and insight.
Such a task can seem daunting, but we should not be discouraged. Nancy Foster, a longtime Waldorf teacher and mentor, shared an insight of Rudolf Steiner’s in her own words: “In living and working with children, it is not perfection we need. Rather, it is our striving to become better, to develop our capacities, that really nourishes those in our care.”
Help from the spiritual world is ever present for our task, but again, we must make a free and conscious step to connect with it. The purpose of anthroposophy is to indicate a path toward this goal, which can foster our personal development in service of our children and the future.
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