Yes, of course we finished our block on St Francis a while ago, but it has been a busy couple of months!
I wrote before, both on this blog and also on a couple of forums/lists about my concerns and reservations about doing Main Lesson blocks with Nin about the Saints. It can be very difficult as an adult, to set aside personal baggage/bias when working with a Main Lesson that has (on the surface) very religious connotations which may clash with the personal beliefs that one may have. Add to that, I know very little about any of the Saints (St Francis being about one of the only Saints I had heard of, plus St Nicholas – I spent part of my childhood in Belgium, rather hard to miss St Nicholas there – and St Valentine) so I was rather concerned about my ability to put together a Main Lesson that spoke to Nin and engaged her (and, tbh, me, as unless I feel inspired and interested by the material then I’m really not going to be particularly good at presenting it).
A lot of stock is placed upon personal development within the Waldorf community and indeed upon reflection/meditation. I have to say that I’m not the most meditative of people at the best of times, let alone with the relative chaos that has been the past couple of years, particularly the past year, so I really had my work cut out when considering whether or not to cover this Main Lesson block that is so very central to Grade 2. Whilst I realise that I could’ve perhaps looked at doing a block on ‘inspiring people’, I really wanted to get to the bottom of WHY it is the Saints in particular that are presented at this stage.
Now, I really cannot improve in any way on the writings that exist (both in books and on the web) regarding the whys and wherefores of the Second Grade Waldorf curriculum and I have no real interest in trying to add to such wise words, but I did want to write a little about the fact that I did have some *issues* with the idea of the Saints and that it has taken time and effort to try to understand the whys and wherefores.
Having come to the end of a block on St Francis, and indeed, having also read stories of St Nicholas (Christine Natale’s excellent – as always – series of stories on the St. Nicholas Centre website) and St Lucia, I can honestly say that having put my own personal baggage regarding Christianity aside (temporarily atleast), I have really enjoyed the stories we have read and it has been an absolute joy to see how much Nin (and indeed Ted, who has listened to some, not all, of the stories – he wanders in and out at times) have soaked them up.
I’m not saying my Christianity dragons have been laid to rest, I still (sporadically admittedly) seek answers to the questions that I have about elements of Christianity (and indeed, I think that is perfectly healthy and right, because I want to learn more, I want to understand) but to anyone out there who is approaching Grade 2 and is questioning whether or not they will cover the Saints with their child, I say YES! DO IT! Put aside your issues and come to the stories fresh and open-hearted, as your child will. You will not be disappointed.