Imitation and Example / Discipleship and Authority

As for the first years of childhood Imitation and Example were, so to say, the magic words for education, so for the years of this second period (7-14 years) the magic words are Discipleship and Authority. What the child sees directly in his educators, with inner perception, must become for him authority — not an authority compelled by force, but one that he accepts naturally without question. By it he will build up his conscience, habits and inclinations; by it he will bring his temperament into an ordered path. He will look out upon the things of the world as it were through its eyes. Those beautiful words of the poet, ‘Every man must choose his hero, in whose footsteps he will tread as he carves out his path to the heights of Olympus,’ have especial meaning for this time of life. Veneration and reverence are forces whereby the etheric body grows in the right way. If it was impossible during these years to look up to another person with unbounded reverence, one will have to suffer for the loss throughout the whole of one’s later life. Where reverence is lacking, the living forces of the etheric body are stunted in their growth.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 34 – The Education of the Child in the Light of Anthroposophy