Magic moments

By Henning Kullak-Ublick, February 2017

Sacred moments sometimes occur in the life of a class. They cannot be summoned, planned or, least of all, held fast, but we can hold the door open for them and be vigilant that they don’t pass by unnoticed. What constitutes such sacred moments?

In such moments everyone, pupils and teachers, come to a common encounter such as in an inner picture, a perception, a new thought or an idea. In this wakeful inner space formed by everyone together, each individual grows beyond themselves and experiences their deep connection with the world. Such a community of insight is nourished by wonder long before it turns into a judgement.

What works in the security of a class and in magic moments can run through a whole school community when every so often it holds a celebration in which all the classes participate and in which everyone, be they big or small, turns their eyes on what unites them beyond all political, social, ethnic or biographical boundaries through art, important ideas or an action that has meaning.

If we wish to extend this circle even further, it quickly becomes clear that it is always the great images, the great goals and tales which let us human beings overcome obstacles. Not what we have already become but what we set ourselves to do creates communities, creates something new, creates peace, creates respect for what is completely different.

In contrast to the dull collective, which draws its strength from conformity and excludes everything that is individual or foreign, community only arises through the meaning which each individual member gives it with their thoughts, feelings and impulses. “The healthy social life is found when in the mirror of each human soul the whole community finds its reflection, and when in the community the virtue of each one is living,” Rudolf Steiner wrote.

The Christmas period is a good time to reflect on this once again. Even if we are not Christian, the story of that child, born in bitter poverty and without any material security “twixt ox and ass”, is true: each one of us carries this child within us. Whether he redeems us or falls prey to infanticide lies in our hands alone. The Christmas story is one of the great narratives of humanity because it is as simple as it is profoundly deep in its direct heart-touching spirituality.

In view of the contemporary demagogues who draw their fascination from fear-inducing negative imagery, the christening gift comes to mind which was placed at the cradle of Waldorf education: a perception of the developing human being – always concrete, always unique and always new. This impulse has turned into a system of education at work throughout the world which has freedom as the starting point and goal of all educational activity.

Humanity cannot be enforced, but we can hold the door open. When it is no longer fear but our view of the human being which determines our actions, we are shepherds and kings at the same time. Throughout the world.

About the author: Henning Kullak-Ublick, class teacher from 1984 -2010 at the Flensburg Free Waldorf School; board member of the German Association of Waldorf Schools, the Friends of Waldorf Education and the International Forum for Steiner/Waldorf Education (The Hague Circle).


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