A couple more thoughts....To make this even more annoying within a month of this session I found myself with a ten-year-old asking me why, if you put a seashell against your ear, you hear the sea. Now I could have said that it is because it remembers the sea, where it comes from. And the funny thing is that I actually kind of believe that. But I don't think that's what she was asking for, I think she wanted to know how it works. I tried giving her the imaginative version... but I realised I would feel fake doing it. So I just said I think it's the air as it goes in and out, and she went away. (Mind you, it was a handwork lesson and she shouldn't have been wondering around and asking me things in the first place, so leaving was good.)
I found this quite poignant (running out of words for interesting, illuminating, clarifying, etc - I chose poignant as it had an effect on me)
ANYWAY, I found myself relating to this with a bit of a laugh and a little nod. Yes, I would find it incomprehensibly annoying to have to avoid giving raw fact, particularly if that is what is being asked for. I have no idea what mental gymnastics my teachers had to go through (or my parents for that matter), but I do not remember feeling like my important questions did not get answers - as a small child that is!!!
I might be opening a horrible can of worms here, but I have a memory of the sister of a friend telling me that babys come from heaven or angels or something like that. I was about 8-9 and already knew that was not right. Growing up on a farm I had seen cows and bulls mating and knew this has something to do with little calves being born. Being a gentle child I guess I didn't want to spoil her image, but in my heart I knew she had it very wrong. Fast forward to me being a new mum and I think that there is the possibility we were both right. Obviously the facts of life are the facts of life and immaculate conception is not something possible (depends who you ask - I know). But, I find myself wondering if there is some sort of mystery there beyond my child having only a physical body...
How does this link with Waldorf? I think again it boils down to being sensitive to a child's question and trying to give the answer fitting to what the child is asking. Giving the child the raw facts on sex is not necessarily going to answer their questions when they want to know where their sibling has come from.... again, to my way of thinking... but not being anywhere near having to deal with that particular issue, this is all hypothetical.
Thinking some more about giving ones authority away. I had a mini falling in love with Attachment Parenting.... but was warned by my needing some sort of reassurance outside of myself and my situation. As soon as I felt the need to apply the principles and worry about whether I am applying them correctly or not - I found myself thinking AP has much to offer, but cannot be followed to the letter. So, I feel comfortable with having DS in a sling, being Exclusively breast fed, in bed most of the time with us.... all sorts of things that would be associated with AP - but I draw the line at feeling like I need to do it just right. (after some soul searching and posts here on MDC asking for advice and chats with friends asking for advice etc)...
One last bit. I find it fascinating orangewallflower that we keep coming back to the religious elements in Waldorf. And I think these are fantastic questions, for me anyway. I am enjoying trying to figure out some of the more challenging aspects about anthroposophy, without relying on anthroposophy to do that
I just wanted to add some definitions to the words you used to describe religion. I have never studied religion and found the words a bit confusing.Anthroposophy has a theology, a cosmology and an ontology along with a set of ritualized practices with spiritual underpinningstheology
: Theology is a term first used by Plato in The Republic (book ii, chap 18). The term is compounded from two Greek words theos (god) and logos (rational utterance). It has been defined as reasoned discourse about God or the gods, or more generally about religion or spiritualityhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theologycosmology
: The study of the origin and evolution of the universe as a whole.www.tifr.res.in/~sachi/glossaryC.htmlontology:
In philosophy, ontology (from the Greek ὄν, genitive ὄντος: of being (part. of εἶναι: to be) and -λογία: science, study, theory) is the most fundamental branch of metaphysics. Ontology is the study of being or existence and its basic categories and relationships. It seeks to determine what entities can be said to "exist", and how these entities can be grouped according to similarities and differences. Ontology is distinguished from epistemology, the study of knowledge and what can be known.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontology
and just for good measure so that we are all talking the same language:religion:http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/religion
1. A system of beliefs, including belief in the existence of at least one of the following: a human soul or spirit, a deity or higher being, or self after the death of one’s body.
* He couldn’t abide by any religion that didn’t allow for wrongdoers to be punished after death.
2. A number of customs and rituals associated with such beliefs.
* When it comes to religion, she doesn’t believe, but she loves to attend the ceremonies.
3. Anything that involves the association of people in a manner resembling a religious institution or cult.
* At this point, Star Trek has really become a religion.
4. Any system or institution which one engages with in order to foster a sense of meaning or relevance in relation to something greater than oneself.
So... as I copy and paste all of the above I am wondering if this is a debate for this thread.... I am happy to go ahead if no one else objects.
Also I am happy for us to change definitions if there are more concise ones out there that everyone is comfortable using.
and for last measure,anthroposophy
Anthroposophy is a spiritual philosophy based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner (25 February 1861 – 30 March 1925) which postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world accessible to direct experience through inner development - more specifically through cultivating conscientiously a form of thinking independent of sensory experience. In its investigations of the spiritual world, anthroposophy aims to attain the precision and clarity of natural science's investigations of the physical world. Whether this is a sufficient basis for anthroposophy to be considered a spiritual science has been a matter of controversy.
“ Anthroposophy is a path of knowledge, to guide the spiritual in the human being to the spiritual in the universe…. Anthroposophists are those who experience, as an essential need of life, certain questions on the nature of the human being and the universe, just as one experiences hunger and thirst. ”
Anthroposophical ideas have been applied practically in areas including Steiner/Waldorf education, special education (most prominently the Camphill movement), biodynamic agriculture, anthroposophical medicine, and the arts. The Anthroposophical Society has its international center at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthroposophy
I haven't read through all of this, but will be. This has the potential to be a very interesting discussion and I hope that people will add to the discussion in the clearest possible way using their own thoughts and contemplations...
As an aside, I am happy to go with this off shoot on the thread because a) I find it interesting, b) it could help clarify issues for people who are not anthroposophists. I think that this thread also has the potential to address these issues without all the emotive scary stuff that can be found and I would like this thread to keeps that integrity. And, I also think that it IS impossible to keep Anthroposophy out of the discussion. But, I also know that this will not be central to every families decision about whether to send their child to a Waldorf school or not.
ETA: orangewallflower, if we are agreed on definitions of what it is we are talking about, perhaps you can share your thoughts on what specifically fits where, ie what did you find in anthroposophy that made you think of theology, ontology and cosmology, as well as ritualised practices. Just my suggestion. Anyone is of course free to jump in (not to be too anal here - but of course the invitation stands for a reasonable discussion)