t takes strong willpower to say no to ten more minutes of texting friends or playing instead of going to bed. It also takes willpower to say no to ten more minutes of sleep when you are still tired and don’t want to get up for school (or work). This is because immediate gratification has a serious edge over some possible vague reward that may, or may not, show up in the future, and only if you work for it. In other words, when working from our evolutionary default setting, now will beat later every time!
My journey with Waldorf education began 14 years ago, when my oldest was starting kindergarten. One of the first things that attracted me to Rudolf Steiner School was the opportunity for my children to have balance in their school day. A variety of artistic activities are interwoven with rigorous academic endeavors to achieve this harmony. Bursting with joy and vitality, my children would not sit all day getting filled with information, staring at worksheets, textbooks, and various screens. There would always be a thoughtful rhythm to their day. From early childhood through high school, Waldorf students experience many kinds of fine and practical arts: drawing, painting, sculpting, singing, folk dancing, handwork, woodwork (you should see the container of hand-carved wooden spoons in my kitchen!), instrumental music, and the list goes on…
I always get a kick out of seeing how startled individuals outside of music studies are when they learn that the vast majority of music majors in America graduate with little, or more often, no skills in the primary creative processes of improvisation and composition, nor in the African American musical heritage that is arguably America’s primary cultural contribution to the world.
Questions often arise about the validity and wisdom of reading channeled materials. Is there an unimpeachable source? Sorry to say that there is no definitive answer. The materials that I have encountered run the gamut from extraordinarily helpful to not worth bothering with. How is one to decide?