> Laying the groundwork with relatives...
Our little one is nearly 12 months, and we are starting Waldorf infant/parent classes. So far, so good, we're feeling like this approach is a really good fit for us. We may choose Waldorf education for the long-haul.
Does anyone have any advice on laying the groundwork with relatives to introduce them (and hopefully help them become supportive) about Waldorf? All the grandparents live far away, but on a recent visit to my MIL, I handed her the info packet we got at our school tour, which included lots of introductory stuff about Waldorf education. I know she read it, but she didn't comment. My goal was to begin getting her interested so that we could hopefully have some meaningful conversations about things like toys, food, natural products, etc. I am hoping that the more she knows, the more likely it is that she will be supportive. (And hopefully stop sending all those plastic toys!)
Has anyone tried this approach with any success? Any tools (books, movies, etc. to recommend?) Any ideas are appreciated!
I'd suggest creating a family blog. If I was to do it over again I would have started one right when we got started. You could make posts about what you learn and experience so that family members could read about your life, on their own terms, and hopefully grow to have an appreciation towards your lifestyle choices. And if you are worried about plastic toys, I imagine it would be easy to annouce your preference for natural toys, and opposition towards educational electronic toys without offending anyone. Links to your favorite books, websites and information could be easily accessed and would surely be clicked by family members without you having to preach.
I don't think it's my place to educate my family on this lifestyle path we are headed on, that could very well change at any time. Really, waldorf has opened my eyes and make me want to be a better parent, what I've taken so far has really little to do with education and "things", and more about parenting choices and purposful living. My mom is the only one who somewhat understands what we are striving for, but she pushes her limits and if she really knew more about waldorf she'd pinn it a cult.
I tried initially to educate family, mostly in regards to toys since that's really the only issue that has come up but sometimes I wonder if it was worth it. Last christmas we actually recieved wood toys, they were melissa and doug, but at least I know they heard us, and and bought what was accessible to them.
We live in a very mainstream world, and I don't think most people want to embrace the other side, and choose to live a more slow paced, simple life. But you can show them how happy you are with pictures and words and it could very well lead to your family getting inspired and accepting your prefences.
I think you are overthinking this. Most of us would have a long row to hoe if we tried to get our parents on board with every parenting decision. And your son is only a year; you have no idea if you will do Waldorf long-term, or not.
It sounds as if by "being supportive" you basically mean you would like your family to give you certain types of toys and not others. This is situation many of us face, not just parents with kids in Waldorf schools. In my experience, you can nicely state a preference for wooden toys etc. once or twice. And then you have to sit back and accept the fact that it's up to the giver to give what they want and up to the receiver to be grateful for the thought and bring it to Goodwill if they don't want it.
Don't get me wrong: I think it's fine to share your enthusiasm about the type of education you are planning for your son. But especially for grandparents who live far away, I think it's a bit much to ask them to do more than be happy for you that you've found something you like. Prosyletising them (which is what it sounds like it would be with the books and movies) is not necessary.
Of course, if they specifically ask for more information, you can certainly provide it.
BTW, this is coming from someone who was raised in a very Waldorf style and went to a WS for years, and whose grandparents kept right on with the "inappropriate" (and majorly fun) toys. I've always been grateful to my parents for allowing us that taste of life on the other side of the fence, where kids got to play with Lite Brites, etc.
man, i haven't thought of a lite-brite in years.
oh, and i am looking at starting a family blog just so that we have a place for everything that we do. of course, i need another activity like i need . . .whatever. . .but i'll probably do one anyway.