On Saturday I was mostly around the back rooms (next to the shed) where two parents helped to fashion a temporary shaded area for our Remedial Teacher, Tendayi Marwa. What struck me was their quiet willingness to hear our explanations and then to try to bring about what we had in mind.
I remember the immense gratitude I felt towards my daughter’s first Waldorf teacher. It grew to embrace the whole school. Simply setting my foot on the school grounds to fetch my daughter made me smile inwardly. I remember asking my mom: “When does a parent stop feeling thankful towards a teacher who has helped her child?” My mom answered: “Never.” And it is true, I still easily access that feeling of deep thankfulness that I felt towards the teacher and the school.
Seeing the willing parents at the Work Party on Saturday reminded me of my experience as a parent in a Waldorf Community. It was something about the ease and quiet determination with which the work seemed to be done that reminded me. It felt to me as if, behind the scenes, gratitude was driving everyone’s movements.
And then I noticed it this week at school: the white pathway, stones and parking indicators, the lovely succulents in pots hanging outside Class 6 (and the brilliant new door!), the beautiful yellow glow in Class 5, the solid step at the bottom of Class 4, the carpet outside Class 2 … all left there
by Gratitude. I know that it is so much more than an outpouring of thanks, that it is the result of people in community with each other, working together. Still, experience tells me that Gratitude whispers in parents’ ears and moves them in powerful ways.
When I asked my mom whether she answered long ago as a parent or as a teacher, she thought for a moment and said: “Mostly as a teacher.” I suddenly remembered all the people we bumped into over the years that were parents of children in her current and previous classes and later they were children she had taught that now had a child in her class. I remember the cloud of good feelings and talked-about memories surrounding the encounters. The gratitude she felt and experienced from parents left a lasting impression on her, the teacher.
Gratitude it seems, forms the giver and the receiver and knits them together with beautifully coloured strands even long after they stop seeing each other every day.
As I marvelled at the power of gratitude to move us to do things, I remembered reading a quote long ago referring to the giving and receiving aspects of gratitude. For some reason I could not find the particular quote I was looking for this week. With my daughter currently in ‘quote mode’ I searched for one for the two of us to ponder. What I found was this surprisingly apt quote about the power of gratitude to form things:
“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude” – Friedrich Nietzsche
by Ester Ruttmann
See the lovely pics of this event taken by Al Berg on this link.