The human being is simply inwardly paralyzed in his moral development, when he is given moral commandments too early: ‘you should, you should not! -You’re allowed to do this, you are not allowed to do that! ‘ – when he is taught moral concepts in an abstract manner. The child must experience what is right and wrong, through the guiding of the teacher or educator. To that end, however the connecting principle must be that the teacher works upon the child in such a way that it longs for the good, loves the good and despises what is not good.
To teach morality, we must work in such a way that we do not prohibit the immoral and demand the moral, but we must evoke in the child between the change of teeth and puberty the feeling, not the will impulses, for what is good and what is bad. We must inwardly identify with what is moral. We must develop love, sympathy for the good, before it is developed further as a command in our willing. What must become morality in the willing, must first grow out of what is pleasant or repulsive for the life of feeling.
Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 304a – Anthroposophische Menschenkunde und Pädagogik – The Hague, November 19, 1923 (page 139-140)
Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger
Previously posted on February 3, 2017