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Adult children of Anthroposophists?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

So, I was born into a family who practied Anthroposophy. I went to a Waldorf school and the Anthroposophical church (Christian Community) etc etc. 

 

And I was pretty much planning on doing the whole Waldorf thing (although Jewish) for my kids, minus the weaning at 6 months and rigid rule of never ever allowing your baby or child into your bed under any circumstances whatsoever.

 

Only the more I looked into Anthroposophy, the more I was disturbed and disenchanted. 

Basically, I do not like the dogma. And I do not look the magical thinking.

And yet, I do want the music, the festivals, the handwork, the wholefoods, the connection to nature etc etc etc. And for now I have found a solution that is mostly working. Only I feel very lonely as I just am not religious or spiritual. I get rather upset listening to magical reasoning. I find it very ahrd to not point out how wrong something is when someone is telling me something that I know is nonsense. And I know that is mostly because I was just so relieved to put that behind me..... The people around me who want what I want, think very differently from me. Blah! :(

Are there other adult children who grew up in Anthroposophical homes and have rejected the philosophy, but not the practice?

A part of me also longs for the Waldorf community with music and celebration as a group being so central. I miss that. I just can't handle the adherence to that specific dogma, or the magical thinking.

post #2 of 17

I am not an adult child of an Anthroposophist, but I wanted to chime in that we don't subscribe to those ideas.  I think it is possible to have the celebrations, handwork and lifestyle without the underlying philosophy.  Much of our lives matched well with Waldorf before I even knew what it was--I'd learned to needle felt, knit and sew, we took part in seasonal celebrations, we spent lots of time in nature, we desired simple sturdy toys for our children.  Those are simply good things to aspire to.  Take what works and leave the rest.  smile.gif
 

post #3 of 17

We, too are taking the smorgasbord approach to Waldorf. I was raised with no religion and DH in a strict Jehovah's Witness home he completely broke ties with just before his HS graduation. We are agnostic/atheist and are happy to allow our children to find their own deeper self on their own terms. We want the world to be presented to them as it is and have things make sense to them with all the information presented in a beautiful manner with no expectations other than respect for all. We have the same conflict with the underpinnings of Waldorf and Anthroposophy but feel fairly comfortable at our Waldorf inspired charter school. My DH and I once hoped to enroll all of our children in a private Waldorf but have since changed our minds--the public school dynamics nicely carve out the religious themes and presents the parts of Waldorf that are desirable to us. While the school is not perfect, we are happy to have an option that nearly matches our values and fosters a love of learning. 

post #4 of 17

Additionally, I would love to know more about the weaning and anti-bed sharing. This is a Anthroposophical belief? Any references I might be able to see? Links? I find this to be a bit alarming.

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

NM, I am being petulant.


Edited by ema-adama - 11/4/12 at 11:53am
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

Oh, the books that promote weaning at 6 months and are extremely anti bedsharing are A Guide to Child Health and Conception, Birth and Early Childhood. I understand that this is not the  norm in Northern America today.

 

Basically I am really quite comfortable with taking what I like and leaving the rest in my own home. I know what I like, why I like it and what I will not accept, and why.

 

My problem is that while I get along with most of the people drawn to Waldorf education, we cannot talk about religion, science, child development etc etc etc. I have heard all the anthroposophy. BTDT. It does not do anything for me other than ignite an anxiety attack.

 

I am lonely and want someone who will exchange knowing glances over Anthroposophy with me, while singing songs around the fire and knitting. Perhaps not the right forum to be looking in.

post #7 of 17

I know what you mean.  I think that is part of the human condition--the desire to talk things over with like-minded people and feeling alone when it doesn't work out.  I feel closeted in many ways about numerous facets of my life.  I am coming to terms with that lately, learning what I can share and what I cannot.  I'd sing around the fire and knit with you.  I have looked long and hard for a Waldorf forum that fits what we do and haven't met up with it yet.
 

post #8 of 17

There is no anthroposophical dogma about weaning, bed-sharing, or anything else...just a bunch of people expressing their views. I've noticed that many anthroposophical doctors suggest weaning between 6mos. - 1 year, or a bit longer. It worked well for us, but every child and family are unique... Same with bed-sharing; some children need this longer than others, but some people see the step to sleeping alone as a foundation for independence in other ways. I don't know if this is so generally. I have noticed that the children of families I've known who've bed shared quite late (longer than 2-3 years, let's say) have indeed developed to be notably dependent upon their parents. I suspect that this was at least partially because of other characteristics in the families, however.
 

On the original question: There are lots of social Jews who celebrate the big festivals, and appreciate many aspects of the community life, but don't pray or go to synagogue. Why shouldn't there be social Waldorfians  -- knit up a storm, enjoy the festivals, the food, the holistic approach generally, but leave the spiritual background for those to whom this speaks? I'm all for the big tent approach, personally!

post #9 of 17

Hi,

I didn't grow up in a strict anthroposophical family, but I went to a waldorf school and did all the things that go with... And I will do the same with my children! I don't think you really need to follow everything, but there is no other school where there is such a community spirit, where children do so much by themselves, and where they can have the freedom to express themselves like that. I loved all the music, the drawings, sewing, knitting, everything we made, and I really think it helps children grow in a more balanced way.

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by ema-adama View Post


 

I am lonely and want someone who will exchange knowing glances over Anthroposophy with me, while singing songs around the fire and knitting. Perhaps not the right forum to be looking in.

That's me! smile.gif

 

I'm not an anthroposophist, wasn't raised one (was raised reform Jewish) and actually thought it was all a load of malarky until DS grew increasingly unhappy at his traditional school. You can read some of my posts from a few years ago when we were deciding whether to move him or not. He's now thriving at a Waldorf school but, to be fair, we're in N. Europe and the Waldorf school here works more like a Waldrof charter would in N. America. There are a range of people -- from hard-core anthroposophists to folks like my DH and me who think it's a better form of education for our individual children, like all the natural materials, incorporation of art and working with your hands, and the festivals, but who don't buy into the fairies and gnomes.

 

Anyway, I realize that a lot of this depends on the school and it can be hard to find like-minded people if the focus of the school/community is that traditional "old-school" anthroposophy.

post #11 of 17

Wow. Interesting question. I am not an anthroposophist nor did I grow up knowing anything about it. It seems to me that maybe you just need to get more involved in the things you like better in order to firmly reject/set boundaries around the things you don't like about anthroposophical settings? I've always felt very comfortable as a "fellow traveler" because I feel no compunctions about taking what makes sense...what I feel is good and valuable...and discarding the rest. Of course this is what I think "real" anthros should be doing anyway. I've got little patience for dogma and sectarian behavior no matter where it comes from. I wish I could offer more help other than to say that in my experience I have felt comfortable being a "fellow traveler," creating my own way, and still enjoying the company of others who have been attracted to the fruits of anthroposophy. 

post #12 of 17

Interesting. I didn't know there were anthroposophical doctors. I'm trying to wrap my head around how a religion goes along with evidence based medical practice. I think weaning at 6 months is not only uncommon in North America, it's uncommon worldwide.  I'm a scientist (a neuroscientist if we want to get particular) and so is my spouse and I think most of our parenting choices at least early on come for a place of what makes sense to us from a biological appropriate standpoint. We probably fall somewhere in between the extremes of AP and anthroposophical approaches, given that we did actively wean but did it gently and gradually and at 2 and a half years old, and our son sleeps in our bed with us at 3 but we have every intention of getting him to his own bed when it's appropriate for our family (and before he graduates from highschool...heh). We send him to a Waldorf preschool and use some of their approaches at home but don't feel like we even have to hide the fact that we don't buy in to the whole song and dance of extremisim of any sort. I don't think his teachers do either, from our conversations or all of the parents I interact with. Maybe with time you will find people to share glances with you at the fire? 

post #13 of 17

I didn't grow up in an Anthroposophical home but I quickly rejected the overall "face" of Anthroposophy, i.e. the ways of some people that make up its various expressions, that I encountered early on in my studies of it. 

 

I wonder if anyone has tried to start an educational movement, including the teacher training portion, similar to Waldorf but without the spirituality.  If not, maybe lacking resources, time, or critical mass to get/keep it going?  Ideally, such a movement could adopt Waldorf methods without its associated spiritual components and become its own thing.  Because it would have no spiritual basis, it might even integrate successfully into the public domain through charter education or the private sector without concerns about religion, spirituality, sectarianism, etc.

 

Then Waldorf could flourish in the way it was intended (spirituality as a founding aspect) while the other movement could freely evolve into its own way.  This makes more sense to me than the age-old struggle of non-spiritual people hoping spirituality can be saddled within a spiritually-based movement, or spiritual people hoping spirituality can coexist in secular educational domains.

In any case, in the here and now, I think the sentiments in post #11 about taking what makes sense and leaving the rest is the most sensible way to go until there are better options to what people want.
 

post #14 of 17

Well, I am "an anthroposophist", and I believe in breastfeeding for 2 or 3 years or however long a mother is able and sees fit, and I co-slept with all my babies and still do. I do not "think magically"; I strive to base all of my thinking, on any subject or person, upon my experience of it and upon the solidness of my own skills of logic, reasoning, and understanding (and yes intuition, which my own experience has proved to me is quite real). I respectfully take offense of your characterization of anthroposophists in this way. What you described is not me and therefore not true.

 

I think your problem is your picture of anthroposophy. It is not a set of beliefs that you accept or reject. Please throw out that immature notion and stop promoting it.

 

Many people have used anthroposophy and its associated institutoins to promote themselves, their authority, their ideas based on "what Steiner said". Again, Rubbish! .These people have hoodwinked you as well. And your parents also?

 

Blah! Pasty-headed buffoons, they are! Do not give them more power, pleeeeeeeeeese. As so many people buy into this erroneous thinking, either pro or against it, it becomes self-perpetuating.

 

Anthroposophy is a practice. Like yoga. You DO yoga. You DO anthroposophy.

 

Nothing you read in a book or hear said to you determines where you or anybody is on the "anthroposophist spectrum" or rather, totem-pole. Again; rubbish! And yes, narrow-minded tomfoolery such as this does exist even in Dornach!

 

My opinion is, you can't really be a supporter of Waldorf and "reject anthroposophy". You certainly can reject any number of things that Steiner said, or that many others who read Steiner or work in Steiner-based fields said or say. Steiner himself abhored blind believers, saying always "test it out for yourselves; figure it out for yourself". Yes there is a lot of "the only way to understand" garbage in Steiner literature .... clearly even Steiner had the capacity to be a cad, at times. There you have it, the human condition. We all know there is never just "one way", don't we?

 

But if you are "doing Waldorf" then you are "doing anthroposophy", because they are enmeshed.

 

Like yoga, anthroposophy has a spiritual foundation. If you think you are "doing yoga", and you are not having a spiritual experience, then you are not doing yoga; it is by definition a meditation, a spiritual practice. Anthroposophy is the same.

 

Likewise if you are experiencing a Waldorf festival, or a biodynamic preparation, or what-have-you, and it meets something in your heart and in your soul -- you are doing anthroposophy, whether you want to call it that or not.

 

There is no "dogma" in anthroposphy, only in people pretending it, or practicing it badly. Oh I've met plenty of dogmatic anthroposophists, and plenty of dogmatic yoga practitioners .... it is all based in insecurity. Pity them, love them -- do not buy in to their illusions.

 

If you are working to achieve clear thinking, to love others, to be strong in body and spirit -- then I think you are doing anthroposophy, hun. Even if you never pick up a Steiner book in your whole life, and regardless of what you call yourself.

 

I've seen a loota things I love be considered bad names: feminist, bisexual, liberal and so on. If anthroposophist joins that list, then well, I see that a lot of people are confused.

post #15 of 17
We are a Jewish/agnostic family who discovered Waldorf in time for our youngest to go to Kindergarten. I just quit my job of 8 years at a Jewish Day school to go back to school for Waldorf Early Childhood Education. I started a meetup in my area called zumgaliwaldorf, to create a community I feel comfortable in participating. We also believe in the supermarket phiposophy, take what you want , leave the rest. Next week, there might be something new to try...
Good Luck, take some solace in knowing that you are not alone, we are all looking-
post #16 of 17

Tiamat,

 

 

"Steiner himself abhored blind believers, saying always "test it out for yourselves; figure it out for yourself"." 
 
I've heard this many times within Anthroposophy but I haven't found tools/methods that Steiner gave for us to use to test specific ideas or teachings, only that we're supposed to broadly work on developing spiritual organs of perception.  Have you tested out anything in Anthroposophy and found that a teaching or idea didn't work for you?  If so, would you mind sharing how you went about testing and what the outcomes were?
 
"Likewise if you are experiencing a Waldorf festival, or a biodynamic preparation, or what-have-you, and it meets something in your heart and in your soul -- you are doing anthroposophy, whether you want to call it that or not."
 
So, your "knowing" is based on feeling or intuition.  Am I understanding you correctly?  
post #17 of 17

"And yet, I do want the music, the festivals, the handwork, the wholefoods, the connection to nature etc etc etc. And for now I have found a solution that is mostly working. Only I feel very lonely as I just am not religious or spiritual. I get rather upset listening to magical reasoning. I find it very ahrd to not point out how wrong something is when someone is telling me something that I know is nonsense. And I know that is mostly because I was just so relieved to put that behind me..... The people around me who want what I want, think very differently from me. Blah! :("

 

My god hello, yes, this is me! I was raised in an anthroposophical home also and now, as a science student (by which I mean chemistry. Not spiritual science) married to a mathematician, I struggle an awful lot sometimes. I KNOW there is this awesome community out there-my kids even went through the early years of a Waldorf kindergarten (which was excellent but ours was a but of a renegade kindergarten) but I can't deal with the fact I have to believe in fairies and gnomes and all the rest to access it. That I'm not meant to talk about stuff like gravity with my kids or "awaken" them by answering their questions. Not my scene. My parents are awesome and its never been a problem, they don't have any interest in making someone an anthroposophist if they are not, that's not part of the deal of anthroposphy. We have, uh, debates about how they interact with the kids at times but at the end of the day I see that as their call and their relationship to my kids.

 

I find a lot of Waldorf kid-rearing philosophy to be just highly manipulative and fundementally not about creating honest dialogue with your kids. I'm guessing if you've grown up in this you've also seen how nasty it can turn-while under the guise of gentle niceness. That always really startled me too and led me to want something more honest for my own kids.

 

Oh and just to say, not only will I happily sit round the fire with you and knit, I probably know most of those unusual Waldorf songs :-) . 

 

Anyway, awesome to meet you..

 

Oh just realised this is in schools. We home educate. Hope its ok to post here-really just wanted to say hi,

 

Oh ETA. My kids are a little older and I've found a compromise. I have friends who craft, some Waldorf, some not. I was also really lucky when my kids were in Waldorf in that I had several friends who agreed on how kooky it was (we used to have a lot of home educators using the kindy part time so they weren't buying into the whole Steiner thing). But I do also know that sense of wanting someone to just share the ludicruosnous of a lot of it with while not completely taking down something that was often a nice part of my childhood. I don't feel the need in the slightest to post in those Waldorf Survivor type forums. But a lot of what went on was really very funny.


Edited by Fillyjonk - 3/26/13 at 2:04am
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