Once a father came to me and said: “up to now our boy has been well-behaved, did everything in a way that was morally pleasing to us; now he has stolen money!” – Well, someone who really knows people, will ask the following question: “Yes, from where did the child take the money?” You get the answer: “from the closet.” – “Who takes money out of the closet every day?” – so you continue to ask – “mother!” – the child has seen mother take money from the closet daily. The child is essentially a mimicking being, as a sense organ, it stands with its soul completely focused on its surroundings and acts, when its own being becomes active, in the same way as it has seen it happen in its environment.
The child is not adjusted to receive admonitions in its first years of life, it is not attuned to receive commands and prohibitions – these are not retained in its soul, the child focuses solely on what it sees in its environment. Its total organism becomes an imprint of its environment.
Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 218 – Geistige Zusammenhänge in der Gestaltung des menschlichen Organismus – London, November 20, 1922 (page 249)
Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger
Previously posted on January 9, 2017