You are aware that between the 7th and 14th/ 15th year – after which it becomes sexually mature – there lives in the child an ability, that could be described as the power to act on authority. There is nothing better for the child, than to undertake something out of veneration for the person who says: that’s good, that needs to be done. Nothing is more detrimental for the child than acquiring the habit of forming its own judgment at too early an age, before having reached sexual maturity.
In the future, the sense of authority between the 7th and 14th year should be developed much more intensively than in the past. Education in these years will increasingly need to be consciously focused on developing a pure feeling for authority in the child; because what the child acquires in these years, will form the basis for experiencing the equality in the social organism that every person deserves. Equal rights will only arise in this way, because people will never mature as adults towards a feeling for equal rights, when they do not develop a sense for authority during childhood. In the past, a much less strong feeling for authority might have been enough; in the future, it will not be sufficient.
Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 296 – Die Erziehungsfrage als soziale Frage – Dornach, August 9, 1919 (page 19)
Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger
Previously posted on September 1, 2017