A World Initiative
An early morning intuition after a deep sleep began for me with a very difficult realisation: I was at fault. What had I done? The news once again presented me with a frightening picture: A young man with a gun in his hand had cold-bloodedly shot another human being. This news was accompanied by a desperate feeling that connected itself to our increasing technology and its effect on youths and on children.
It is a fact that such a deed is only possible if the shooter has a deep-seated feeling of anger, lack of reasoning and tries to get even, by applying his will without any feeling whatsoever for his victim’s future and his own. This could have been avoided by a harmonious upbringing, in peace and quiet. Love and caring for babies, young and older children is lacking in many homes today. It is not realised that this lack shows up in later years. Is it due to technology, to a change in values or to time available among family members? Children of all ages begin to play with technical devices in schools, indeed, already in kindergartens, even in cribs. Ever new ideas appear on the market to fascinate also the youngest. In many families, both parents are required to work full time so that their children are becoming more and more dependent on their cell phones, i-pads etc. It is rare that imaginative story books are read to or by the children. All this turns out to be a restricted way of upbringing. As a result, in many cases thinking is over-activated and trained in the growing child. ***
It is important to remember that the human I or ego always expresses itself through thinking, feeling and willing. Only a harmonious interaction between these three soul faculties helps the growing person when he or she becomes a young adult. It is necessary that all three soul faculties be developed evenly because they are expected to play their part in later life. As our time has evolved into a technological age, only thinking is required for many school subjects. Google becomes our guide in research projects rather than classroom teaching. A living relationship from human to human has been exchanged for a calculating search tool for finding a goal. This trend continues, of course, in young adults while life in many homes has moved away from gatherings for family meals, from interesting discussions and making music together. In short, what was called quality time, being together, has turned into a social life where most young people are left to their own devices. Many of them watch movies which are either inappropriate for their age or harmful because of portrayed violence. In sports, young people prefer competitive games to cooperative ones, and they are given less opportunities to become physically active themselves because ever more school work is asked of them. So they prefer to watch these games on a screen rather than get out and play them with friends.
One can observe that another factor enters the picture: thinking, feeling and willing begin no longer to harmonize. Our evolution has entered a time where thinking, feeling and willing slowly separate from each other. Eventually they must be held together by the developing ego or I. Around the twenty-first year this begins to become possible. In the past, this separation of soul faculties did not take place. Each deed of the will was automatically weighed in the light of thinking and the warmth of feeling.
How can humanity find a solution to this problem?
The above-mentioned activities in homes and schools educate only thought-processes on the one hand, and selfish will through competitive school work and sports on the other. This takes place at too young an age. Very important human soul capacities are neglected, especially those that touch on the feeling realm of the growing child and young adult. Just to give some examples: Looking with a young child to find the wonder of life in nature, in exciting forest formations, and to look with awe at changes that take place in ice crystals in a puddle. One can teach a child to have feelings of love when he or she perceives tiny animals and their ways to hide. Observing a snail: how is it moving? Why does it hide in its shell or carry its house wherever it goes? Where does it want to go when it appears? A friend is crying, why? Can we help him? With very comforting words one can create a simple little story so that tears turn into laughter. All this is helpful for a growing child because it develops empathy for others and for the world around. It develops the feeling for others that was missing in the young murderer mentioned at the beginning.
When a child grows into a youth he will be asked to process and filter information and to think things over. Then it is wonderful when he or she can do this by weighing the facts, with a soul in which thinking, feeling, and willing, were allowed to develop equally.
Just a brief mention of Rudolf Steiner’s recommendations for education. The small child should be shown how to imitate the adult in cleaning vegetables or sweeping the floor regularly, in imitating the making of little rolls from bread dough and watching the rising of the dough before baking. All this will gradually develop the will forces in the young child in a healthy way.
From seven to fourteen their feelings should be touched by descriptive historical stories and biographies of known humanitarians. Also, artistic experiences are of paramount importance. Music, painting with water colours etc.
After fourteen only, it is healthy to guide the young adult through true, active thinking processes (as distinct from watching a movie passively).
Only those can fully understand these connections, who have learned from Rudolf Steiner’s books and printed lectures that the harmonious development of the three soul qualities during the first twenty-one years is of paramount importance.
I will conclude by saying again: As parents or educators we should be aware that the evolution of humanity is coming to an abyss where, in our time, thinking, feeling and willing are beginning to be held together no longer by themselves, as was the case in the past, but have begun to drift apart. This evolutionary change is as yet not fully realized and understood by educators. It is the maturing ego at around twenty-one that will ever more carry in consciousness the responsibility of holding the three soul forces together in our time.
Returning to my early morning experience, I recall that on waking a frightening picture stood before my eyes: Today’s youths who have had a chance to develop only the cold intellect through over-identification with today’s technology, little or no exposure to the arts, saw too much violence shown on the media, perhaps complicated by social and family trauma, can easily be led into the horrors of student gun violence the world is increasingly faced with it. While identifying only with their hurt, their anger or frustration with life, a gun is used and someone is shot. The thought that others will suffer has never entered their underdeveloped feeling life.
As a result, biographies are destroyed on both sides of the gun. Many years of prison follow for the perpetrator. No judge, educator or psychiatrist, no medical doctor or prison warden is conscious of the fact that the young offender, even murderer, is not really at fault! In his momentary deed, with an undeveloped ego, perhaps never having experienced love, he could not access his feelings of empathy which could have prevented the deed!
Instead of being helped by society to make up for lost childhood time he is condemned. What should take place is that, in prison outreach, he is placed into a most loving and beautiful environment where he is led to experiences which perhaps have never before touched him. He needs a harmonious and protected environment where he is taught to paint, to make music, so that after a while he too can enjoy artistic and musical experiences which can strengthen him in the realm of feeling.
This was my experience on waking, and I called friends together to discuss these ideas. What can be done to create awareness in the world today that these young people are victims of an age where there is a lack of faith, love and hope? I was asked by my friends to write a verse which we all could carry and which would create a circle of light around the world, a world which includes all true faiths. We are not alone, and we can be protected, guided and helped to transform.
Two days later, on waking, the following verse came to me in English and within a few days later I was able to write it in German.
The Verse Uniting All of Us.
Faith, Love and Hope
Will lead me in my willing
When I light a candle and unite
With the ever-present Love of the Almighty
And His Creative Force.
It works in me when I in love embrace all people
Who come to me with
Faith, love and hope.
This verse may lead us on our path
To create a circle of light around the world.
It will unite us and disperse loneliness.
It will open our minds to imagination,
Strengthen our inspiration,
And bless us with intuition.
The verse can be used by individuals or in a group setting. Our friends in Vancouver would like to get some feedback from those working with or reading about the circle of light. Please share with us in an email what is important to you so that we can support each other in this initiative.
Blessings to you all,
Revised March 2017
 See Rudolf Steiner or Waldorf Schools, readily available on the internet.
 This word was changed from children to people because there is a child in every person. The word people can be changed back to children when the verse is used in regard to the children of a school.