Love in the time of Coronavirus
By Laura Radefeld, Interim Co-Administrator
This extraordinary time in which we find ourselves seems destined to become era-defining for us, our children, and for people around the world. Like 9/11 or Watergate or the Kennedy assassination, we may look back and remember who was with us and how we understood ourselves and the events as they unfolded in our small circle of community and family. What we can say with certainty is that fear, anxiety, and isolation have resulted, along with goodwill and generosity. We are learning new ways of being and doing. Certainly, the world has come to a standstill, something new is being born, and we are witnessing an extraordinary moment.
The outcomes of our temporary mode of schooling will fade. Our memories and the stories surrounding this time will live; our efforts to connect and to love one another through this crisis will survive everything. Teachers and parents together are working hard to create interim ways to school our children, but what we are really learning is how to work together when we can’t be together in old ways. We are challenged to strengthen our capacities for loving-kindness as the forces of isolation rise and grow strong.
Waldorf education has always been about educating a full range of human capacities. This is why we say “head, heart, and hands.” In this difficult time, digital connectedness and distance learning are bandaids. The healing will come through our efforts to develop stronger capacities to see and care for each other, and to educate through deeper insight and partnerships, through a deeper understanding of our complex world.
More than anything else, we need to respond to the human suffering that will arise as a result of these circumstances, to reach out to one another, knowing that we can provide some comfort where it is needed. And we can look forward with such enthusiasm to being together again!
(I thank Elan Leibner, my colleague from Princeton Waldorf School, for the seed of these thoughts.)