Last night I had my first meeting with my new group of class parents.
My thoughts have been so consumed by graduating my 8th graders, I haven’t had much time to dedicate to thinking about this new group of families. So I was surprisingly taken aback by the flood of emotions I felt as we all sat together in the first grade room for the very first time. After weeks of curiosity and anticipation, it felt so good to see them all face-to-face, play a game together and talk about the future.
Imitation vs. Authority
As I prepared for the meeting and I thought about the differences between kindergarten and the grade school, the word that kept coming to mind for me was “authority.” I talked with the parents about how in the first seven years children work out of imitation, while from 7-14 they work out of authority.
We talked about how authority is a somewhat uncomfortable word these days and we explored what it means and how we could wrap our minds around cultivating a healthy sense of authority in these children.
Ultimately, I shared that finding every opportunity to build that authority is something that we, as a community of adults, can think about. Every chance we get we should convey the respect we have for one another and how lucky these children are to have such a great teacher (blush) and such caring parents.
At the end of the meeting several parents came to me asking for suggestions for reading material to help guide them in this new way of relating with their children and teacher. I thought my readers might also be interested, so here are a couple of my favorites.
It’s been a few years since I read The Soul of Discipline by Kim John Payne, but I remember really liking the way he described the various roles that parents take on through the years. I attended a talk of his a few years back and wrote a post about it, which you can find here. Kim also wrote Simplicity Parenting, which is an absolute treasure.
Hold On to Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld is another favorite. I read this book with my current parent body when this class was in 4th grade. It’s a good lead-in to the middle school years, but I think it’s a good one to read early on, as well.
What are your favorite Waldorf parenting resources? Share in the comments.