Rudolf Steiner in the Waldorf School
Address at a monthly assembly
23 November 1920, Stuttgart
I have come to you once again from the country with the high mountains; Herr Molt picked me up in Dornach, where our building is going up, so I could come see you.
We are working very hard in Switzerland and have no time to climb the beautiful mountains your dear teachers have described so nicely for you. We have no time to climb up there and look at the sun, but it is something like sunlight for us if we can come to Stuttgart now and then, because we love this hill here. It is certainly easier to climb than the Swiss mountains, but the pleasure we get in climbing up this hill to our dear Waldorf School is a spiritual pleasure more than anything else. It is a spiritual pleasure for us because this is where you, dear children of the Waldorf School, are taught to become good and capable people for life.
It has always been a joy to my heart to spend a lot of time in Stuttgart in our dear Waldorf School. This time, I am sorry to say that I will have less time because other work kept me away. However, I hope to be able to be with you at least for a little while in the next few days. I especially wanted to greet you warmly today, since this assembly falls in the time of Advent and the wonderful festival of Christmas.
Once again, I would like to greet your dear teachers, who are very concerned about how to teach you to be good and capable human beings. But if you work hard out of love for your teachers and follow their directions, then all their concerns will fall away and be replaced with joy in their hearts, joy at being able to teach you children, who have been sent to them from the spiritual world, to be really good and capable people for the future.
Now that I have been able to greet your teachers, I would like to greet you, too. The first impression I got of you was that you were yelling and being really noisy. I thought you really could be a little less noisy. But we have to look at the bright side of things: While you are being so noisy, you are not having useless thoughts. You should not be cooking up useless thoughts even when you are not yelling. But I hope that when I see you in your classes, you will not be yelling like that. There are also times when children must behave differently and not sound like so many chirping birds.
Now there is one thing I always have to tell you: You are meant to grow up to be good and capable people. However, you can become good and capable people only by trying to cultivate three qualities in yourselves and thinking about them again and again. What you take in here in school must last you for the rest of your life, but it will be able to stay in your memory, to stay in you as a strength for life, only if you pay attention in your classes, if you pay attention to the good men and women who are your teachers. Paying attention will make what you learn in childhood carry over into your later years of life. What your teachers say to you comes from incredibly hard work on their part, from the strength of their devotion and from their love for you. But what comes from their love must also be able to get to you, and that is why I always say the same thing to you: Love your teachers, because love will carry what comes from your teachers” hearts into your hearts and into your heads. Love is the best way for what teachers have to give to flow into their students. That is why I am going to ask you again today, “Do you love your teachers? Do you still love them?” [The children shout, “Yes!”] That is the second thing — to love your teachers. The third thing is hard work. Nothing can be accomplished without hard work. You must work hard, and then what you have learned by loving your teachers will become a real strength for your life.
When you are trying to cultivate these three qualities, you must develop the right feeling. You are now approaching the time of year when the spirit who became the spirit of love came down from distant worlds. Now, when the festival of Christ is approaching, think of the many beautiful words the Christ spoke. Among them are the words, “I shall be with you always, until the earth no longer exists.” 1Free paraphrase of the words of Matthew 28:20.
Thus the spirit of Christ is always with us. Each Christmas and each Easter shows us how to turn our thoughts to how the spirit of Christ is among us. This spirit of Christ is also your teachers' great teacher. Through your teachers, the spirit of Christ works into your hearts.
Cultivate everything your dear teachers accomplish through their work, everything they bring to you out of deep concern for you. Cultivate this through the three qualities of paying attention, love for your teachers, and hard work, and then what you carry from your young years into your later years will be just what humanity needs — the strength of human work. You will grow up to be good and capable human beings. That is what you are meant to become through the Waldorf School. Do it by paying attention, loving your teachers, and working hard!
Address and discussion at a parents’ evening!