Stages of Life- Childhood

by | Oct 5, 2022

First stage of life- Seven Cycles

The Child’s Changing Consciousness

Lecture VI, 20 April 1923, Dornach

When we take into consideration the relationship between the growing child and their surroundings, there are three basic human qualities.

The first concerns the will to gratitude.

The second, everything that concerns the will to love.

The third, everything that concerns the will to duty.

People tend to be unaware of both gratitude and thankfulness. And yet gratitude is a virtue that, in order to play a proper role in the human soul, must grow with the child when the growth forces — working within the child are liveliest.

We only have to act in ways that are worthy of the child’s gratitude, and it will flow toward us, especially during the first period (seven years) of life.

Children do not need to be reminded constantly to be thankful for whatever comes from their surroundings. An atmosphere of gratitude should grow naturally in children by merely witnessing the gratitude that their elders feel as they receive what is freely given by their fellow human beings, and in how they themselves express their gratitude.

If a child says “thank you” naturally — not in response to the urging of others, but simply by imitation — something has been done that will greatly benefit the child throughout their entire life. Out of this, an all-embracing gratitude will develop toward the entire world. This cultivation of universal gratitude toward the world is of paramount importance.

Such a subconscious feeling of gratitude may arise in us whenever we look at nature. It may be felt every morning when the Sun rises, or when beholding any of nature’s phenomena. And if we only act properly in front of the children, a corresponding increase in gratitude will develop within them for all that comes to them from the people living around them, from the way they speak or smile, or the way such people treat them.

Love, born out of the experience of gratitude during the first period of the child’s life, is the love of God. One should realize that, just as one has to dig the roots of a plant into the soil in order to receive its blossom later on, one also has to plant gratitude into the soul of the child, because it is the root of the love of God. The love of God will develop out of universal gratitude, as the blossom develops from the root. It is the foundation for the love of God.

The way love develops in the human soul is different from the way gratitude does. Gratitude has to grow with the growing human being, and this is why it has to be planted when the child’s growing forces are at their strongest. Love, on the other hand, has to awaken. The development of love really does resemble the process of awakening, and, like awakening, it has to remain more in the region of the soul.

Simply Steiner™

About Eliza

Eliza Joslin Kendall holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and was honored by the Women's Hall of Fame for a Start-up/Small Business in 2003. She is a Certified Transformational Life Coach, as well as adept in Energy Healing, and Mediation and Conflict Resolution. Blessed with supersensible perceptions since childhood, she has long been deeply involved with the writings of Rudolf Steiner.