August Mama Message
“Receive the children in reverence, educate them in love, and send them forth in freedom."
- Rudolf Steiner
In these waning summer days as a mother and a teacher, my thoughts always turn towards education! For over twenty-five years I would try to hold on to summer with my children, while at the same time I’d try to get organized, plan curriculum, and send out communication to the families that I would be working with in the fall. This rhythm is in my body, for even as a child I would yearn for summer to go on forever, yet be excited about the start of a new school year.
Now I can make my own schedule and plan my days around a variety of activities. I no longer set the alarm every day, or think about curriculum or school newsletters that need to be sent out by August 15th. Yet I find myself engaged in conversation with mothers who are trying to make decisions about education for their children. My own children are making decisions about their school age children. There are questions about public vs. private… traditional school vs. homeschooling… methods of education that suit the individual child…
Each family must address these questions with thoughtfulness and care. Rudolf Steiner’s words are so wise… and he would advise each teacher to observe the children in their charge closely and adapt their methods to meet the needs of the children. Whether we are educating our children at home, or sending them off to a classroom (or finding a blend that works for us), we need to look at the individual child and make choices based on their unique characteristics.
Another Steiner quote speaks to the needs of our society that is so relevant today:
“Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility—these three forces are the very nerve of education.”
We live in a country that is deeply divided philosophically, yet there are still so many more things that unite us as a people than divide us. Education is the key to helping our children understand the complexities and the beauty of our world. We must strive to help them develop compassion and tolerance, along with problem solving and adaptability. We cannot even imagine what their world will be like in twenty or thirty years, so we have to help them to be creative and open thinkers, and to be able to work closely with many different personalities and styles of learning.
I re-read my post from last August (http://www.soquelessentials.com/musings/2018/8/15/august-mama-message) and found it to be as relevant today as it was a year ago. I encourage you to read it and give me your feedback. The older I get the more I realize that there are so many valuable opinions that need to be heard. Hopefully my voice is a springboard for each of you to deepen your own thoughts about issues that face us all as teachers, parents, and grandparents. I want this to be a vibrant conversation about education, health, parenting, family life, and so much more…
Wishing you all the best as you head into this time of transition!