June 14, 2020
Receive the children in reverence
Educate them in love
Let them go forth in freedom –Rudolf Steiner
One of the most developmentally appropriate video tutorials I have seen to help us learn how to further our children’s understanding that Black Lives Matter is the one above by a young Black woman, Kimaya. She so beautifully reminds us of the open and innocent nature of the young child. She suggests that the way to open their awareness of diversity and interest and care for people of other races and backgrounds is to be a living example; i.e. be what you want them to be as they grow. Look for ways to expose them to people who are different from them – in person and in developmentally appropriate picture books and art. It’s not about teaching and telling; it’s about being and beholding. Being a role model never stops being important, and as the children grow older into middle childhood a more active dialogue can begin to evolve, so that by the time they are youth they are ready to more actively engage in social activism on behalf of justice for all.
As we all choose to become more active, awake and alert to social justice, we want to continue to hold true to the foundations of how children learn. Based on the fundamental principles of goodness, beauty and truth, let us remember to surround our little ones with a sense of goodness in the world. Yes, even as we sense all that is wrong in the world, we can still find and offer goodness. Let our motto be to “be the goodness”. Fresh from the heavenly realms, young children are the harbingers of the spiritual world and remind us, by their pure innocence, that the physical, material realm of existence is only part of what truly matters here on earth. Let us open our hearts and minds to the much larger venue of the meaning of life and allow the children to thrive through all we can do to represent “the good”. This is not the time to directly teach about the eternal history of inhumanity to include the more recent 400+ years of racial injustice in this country. Rather let’s expose them to the goodness we experience in our friends, neighbors, and historical figures of Black people and other races. I am hearing recommendations of the need to “pop our children’s bubble” so that they come to know all the wrongs, to take little ones to our protest events where they will hear the loud voices, sometimes see the angry or forlorn faces, and God forbid, be exposed to the actions of malefactors who are there to destroy rather than to heal. Such experiences are for us as adults, and we can invite along our older children. This type of awakening belongs to a later stage of childhood, that of youth, not to the early years. If we want the little ones, particularly White children, to open to others, help them to meet the goodness in others in settings that will not be overwhelming.
Then as they grow into the second stage of childhood, the hope for experiencing beauty resides innately in their souls. When we expose children to the beauty of the world, and, yes, it can be found anywhere, even in our cities if we have the eyes to see, it helps them to fall in love with the world and those who inhabit the world. Let our motto be “show the beauty”. And finally in the third stage, youth, the innate (perhaps even unconscious) desire is to seek for what is true. Let our motto be “support the search for truth”. Our hope then lies in the idea that if we bathe the young child in the good, expose the child to beauty, and support the search for truth, our children will awaken as young adults to the calling to serve and protect their fellow human being and the surrounding world.
Perhaps you have seen the attached video of two little boys, best friends, when they see each other on the street. Their families met in a restaurant about a year ago, and the boys have been best friends ever since.