Maine Coast Waldorf School High School Faculty Chair, David Barham, spoke to the school community about how Rudolf Steiner’s 101 year old message is precisely the message we need right now in 2020 as we head back to school. It was the Wildflower Ceremony for this year’s incoming first graders and, after introductions, David gave these inspiring words to help connect our school’s collective history to the history being made here in 2020.
“I want to talk about something that happened 101 years ago, long before the invention of the computer and even the television. 1919 was around the year the pop up toaster was invented, the Oreo cookie was created and shortly after the zipper was first made. It was also the year of the birth of Waldorf education. Our school is part of a global movement of schools started 101 years ago by a man named Dr. Rudolf Steiner.
In August and September of 1919, Dr. Steiner was teaching the first Waldorf teachers how to be Waldorf teachers by giving them not one, not two, but three long lectures each day for two weeks. In his final lecture to the teachers, their “graduation” from Waldorf teacher school if you will, he told the men and women who were going to teach the first Waldorf students in the very first Waldorf school in Stuttgart, Germany that they needed to take up the following words as their motto.
Dr. Steiner told the teachers to:
Imbue themselves (fill themselves) with Imagination; To have courage for what is true, for the truth; and to Sharpen their feeling for Responsibility -- to feel responsible to imaginatively teach their students what is true.
These words: "Enliven Imagination," "Stand for Truth," "Feel Responsibility," have guided every Waldorf teacher, including every one of your teachers here at Maine Coast, for over 100 years.
I bring up all of this history now because I truly believe that what Rudolf Steiner gave as a gift to the first Waldorf teachers back then, is precisely the message and medicine we need right now to face our moment in world history. We need to feel responsible- responsible to our friends and classmates, teachers and parents to keep them safe and healthy by doing all the things we know work to help keep people safe and healthy now- wash our hands, keep our distance, wear our masks. We need to have courage for the truth- the truth we have seen in the news and read in the papers about the goings on in America and the world over the last four months or so. We need to face that truth and commit ourselves to helping create a different truth in our country and the world. And in order to do any of that, we need to fill ourselves with an imagination that is loving and big and bold and can picture a world that is healed and where all take care of all. Turns out, Dr. Steiner’s 101 year old message is precisely the message we need right now in 2020 as we head back to school.
- Waldorf Education