Example and imitation

In the first period of life, from the first to the seventh year the child is mainly an imitating being. But we have to understand this in the broadest sense of the word. […] In relation to these things people sometimes ask for advice at one or the other event. So, for example, a father once complained to me about his five-year-old child. ‘What did this five-year-old child do? ‘I asked. ‘It stole ‘, said the father unhappily. I told him: ‘ then one must first consider how the theft actually took place.’  Then he told me, that the child had not actually stolen out of wickedness. He had taken money from the drawer of his mother and purchased sweets. Afterwards he divided the sweets among the children in the street. So it was not bare selfishness. What actually took place then? Now, every day the child  sees the mother take money from the drawer. At the age of five years the child is an imitator. It did not steal; it simply did what he had seen his mother do daily, because the child instinctively considers what the mother does as right. – This is a typical example of the subtleties which one should be aware of when one wants to educate in accordance with the true being of man.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 297a – Erziehung zum Leben – Utrecht, 24th February 1921 (p. 19-20)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on July 23, 2014

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What should be required above all in examinations for teachers

Those who wish to become teachers to-day are examined as to what they know, but what does this prove? As a rule only that the candidate has for the time of the examination, hammered into his head something which — if he is at all suited for that particular subject — he has been able to gather from many books, day after day acquiring what it is not in the least necessary to acquire in that way.

What should be required above all in such examinations is to ascertain whether the candidate has the heart, mind and temperament for gradually establishing a relationship between himself and the children. Examination should not test the candidate’s knowledge, but ascertain his power, and whether he is sufficiently a ‘man.’

To make such demands to-day would, I know, simply mean for the present time one of two things. Either it would be said that anyone who demands such tests is quite crazy, such a man does not live in the world of reality; or if reluctant to give such an answer, they would say: ‘Something of the kind does take place, we all want that.’ People suppose that results come about from this training, because they only understand the subject in so far as they bring their consideration to bear upon it.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 181 – Earthly Death and Cosmic Life: Lecture 7: Confidence in Life and Rejuvenation of the Soul: A Bridge to the Dead – Berlin, 26th March, 1918

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on October 5, 2014

We must seek for the god in the invisible worlds and in all external creatures, facts, and processes

Some spiritual movements want to divert the human being from the external world; one should look for the higher self only in oneself. This point of view can never lead to a real knowledge; it is unchristian and antichristian at the same time. Only in the orientation to the world, which surrounds us, we find our higher self. We must seek for the god in the invisible worlds and in all external creatures, facts, and processes. If anybody says to us, deny the external world, this external matter does not exist, he denies the divine world; and there is for a big perspective no worse knowledge than turning away from the outside world. Just the deepening in the outside world leads to higher knowledge. Everything physical dries out, if it is raised a little above the earth, everything mental dries out, if it is raised a little above the spiritual world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 54 – The Riddles of the World and Anthroposophy: Inner Development – Berlin, 19th April 1906

No matter how ugly a thing may be, there is always some beauty concealed in it

No matter how ugly a thing may be, there is always some beauty concealed in it; in every untruth there is a grain of truth, in everything evil a grain of goodness. This does not mean, of course, that you should abstain from criticism! You misunderstand positivity if you think that you should no longer find anything bad, ugly, etc., but positivity means that you should see the grain of beauty in everything evil. This develops the higher forces of your soul.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – Theosophy and Rosicrucianism: Lecture XIV: Further Stages of Rosicrucian Training – Kassel, 29th June 1907

Logic / Reality

When thinking, the spiritual researcher does not only ask himself whether the thought is logical, but makes sure it conforms to reality. That is his criterion for adopting a thought. He only accepts an idea when this idea is in line with reality.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 324a – Die vierte Dimension – Dornach, April 7, 1921 (page 202)

Anonymous translator