A Sharing on the Life of Rudolf Steiner

Feb 28, 2022

Dear Seasons of Seven Community. We always have a chance at the end of February to remember Rudolf Steiner and the legacy he has left for the world. Let us remember him with love and gratitude for all that he was able to share with us.

A Sharing on the Life of Rudolf Steiner 161 years ago in the year 1861 there were no computers, telephones, cellphones, televisions or air travel. Only a few had access to motor cars and the idea of the aeroplane had just been invented. At the very beginning of that year on 27th February, Rudolf Steiner was born. He was born in a little country called Austria - Hungary which is now part of modern day Croatia. He was born to loving and generous parents. His fathers name was Johannes and his mothers name was Franziska. His father was a telegraph operator and later became a railway station master. Rudolf Steiner grew up surrounded by the natural beauty of the foothills of the Austrian Alps. He acquired a good education that was well rounded. He loved to study subjects like Maths and Geometry as well as Chemistry, however he also loved History and Philosophy. He loved reading. One could say he was born into a specific culture at a pivotal point in history which allowed him to fulfil his very special tasks.

One of Rudolf Steiner’s jobs after he had finished studying was to tutor. There was a family who had four sons. The youngest son’s name was Otto Specht and his parents were quite worried about him as he suffered from extreme autism. He found it very difficult to talk to people and no one had much success teaching him. His mind and his body were not strong and no one thought he could really be helped. His parents asked Rudolf Steiner to be his tutor to see if he could help him. Otto was 10 years old when Rudolf Steiner who was not a teacher, agreed to help him. He met Otto every day and watched him carefully and thought about him a lot. Within two years Otto had caught up to all his friends and could do anything they could do.Rudolf Steiner then proceeded to teach him Latin and Greek which allowed him to attend a regular high school and college. After that Otto went to medical school and became a doctor. It was while teaching this special boy that Rudolf Steiner got many of his ideas which formed the basis of Waldorf Education as it is today - it was still a long time however, before the first Waldorf School was opened.

There was a man who lived in the city of Stuttgart in Germany. His name was Emil Molt. He owned a cigarette factory called the Waldorf Astoria, he asked Rudolf Steiner to come and give lectures to his factory workers. He spoke to them about social and educational matters as well as teaching foreign languages to some some and helping some of the workers children. The workers were so grateful to Emil Most for allowing Steiner to teach them. He got them thinking about all sorts of new ideas for the future. During World War One and just after when many people could not understand how such a terrible war had occurred the workers had many questions about it and wanted to find answers. Both Emil Molt and Rudolf Steiner knew how important it was to educate people. Steiner believed in ideas that were new and different, for example he thought it was very important that all workers in a factory knew how the whole factory worked, not just their little part. They should also for example know about the tobacco plant, where it grows and who grows it. Everyone should know every detail that goes into the finished product. This showed that everyone was important and everyone should be able to imagine the bigger picture in which they played a small part.

The workers were so excited by all these new ideas that they wanted this type of thinking and way of learning for their children. They believed that if their children were educated in this way the world would be a better place. So Emil Molt asked Rudolf Steiner to start a school for the children of the factory workers so that they could also enjoy this new way of learning. Rudolf Steiner worked hard with the teachers of that first Waldorf school and taught them many things and answered many of their questions.

Rudolf Steiner loved the children of that first school. He loved to tell them stories and they would listen so quietly and attentively to him. The children loved to see him in their school and whenever he walked across the school yard the children would run up to him and greet him. He said that happy children gave the teachers good ideas. He loved to join the children’s classes and watch them from the back. One young girl describes how she had been called up to the board in her Math class to explain some of her homework - it was homework she could not really do. As she stood to walk to the board Rudolf Steiner entered the room. He took off his black broad brimmed hat and quietly sat down at the back to observe the lesson. Now she felt particularly self conscious but now she could not turn back and she couldn’t remember anything.Then suddenly all her anxiety and nervousness slipped away, it was as though peace itself had entered the room and she was completely calm. She remembered everything. Such an effect could Rudolf Steiner have on people .

Farmers came to Rudolf Steiner and told him about their seeds that seemed to not be giving such good crops compared to many years before. They also shared their problems of sick animals and asked him what to do. Out of these questions Rudolf Steiner shared the principals for bio-dynamic farming. Before that doctors too had come to him and asked him many questions. Steiner gave lectures to doctors giving them many new ideas and ways to work with patients with an intimate knowledge of the human being as a reference.

He introduced the art of Eurythmy and gave new ideas and indications for the dramatic arts. He encouraged people to find something new in religious life out of the traditional streams from which they had come and so the Christian community was born.

There are many people who have special difficulties. These people need special care and love just like Otto. When asked, Steiner was able to teach others how to care for and love these special people and how to fulfil what they especially need. Small communities arose and are known throughout the world as Camphill villages / communities.

Rudolf Steiner lived for 64 years and was able to share so many thoughts and ideas it is really quite phenomenal. From the time he started teaching from a young man right up until the time he died, it was as if his messages were like tiny seeds being planted in the souls of men. Still today when we read his books and lectures more and more seeds are planted and it is up to each individual to mature these seeds and to see what develops. 

 

~Ms. Bridgette (Seasons of Seven Teacher)

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