Tag Archive: Waldorf School of Atlanta


Never one to disappoint, Coffee Wednesday was chock full o’ nuts, mainly because both my wife and I were there. The gathering was full of conversation. And good ideas. And cellos. Did I mention cellos?

If cellos play in the forest at Coffee Wednesdays, does anyone hear them? You bet they do.

The fifth grade cello students delighted us with a few selections from their repertoire. It went nothing like this, but was at least as delightful, and begat at least as many smiles. The four or so songs included a piece entitled “Babylon” and some traditional music as well. It was such a treat. And it’s so refreshing to hear live music, especially when you’re not surrounded by thousands of screaming fans. I can’t wait for next week’s 4th grade cello performance.

While Carmen spoke with a new acquaintance, Ashley and I talked about writing for the school and otherwise. She brought up a fantastic point about writing: it’s an invitation to experience something. What a good way to put it! And so true; when you put words down on a page — paper or electronic — you’re conveying a thought, striving to impart something you’ve experienced to someone else who hasn’t.

That isn’t an easy task. Not with three words. Not with a thousand. No matter if you’re trying to convey a vacation or a vacuum cleaner. I guess that’s one reason that writing is such an important (if overlooked) art. As a friend pointed out this morning, editing is, too, but that’s another ball of yarn. (Thanks, Jen!)

As another pal pointed out a loooong time ago, “Good writing means never having to say, ‘Well, I guess you had to be there.'” (Thanks, Gary!) Writing — quality writing — is an invitation to an experience, but it’s also a conveyance, a vehicle that takes the reader there.

If you haven’t made it here, to Coffee Wednesdays, consider this an invitation. And if you can’t make it, I hope this Heavy Mental weekly feature gets you at least halfway.

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I’ve attempted several Regular Features on Heavy Mental, but without much success. Not unlike Italian forms of government since WWII. I’ve tried read-alongs. I’ve tried retrospectives.

But this one is different: this go-round, I’m making  the time for it, once a week. I’ll be scribbling some reflections and ideas engendered from Coffee Wednesdays at the Waldorf School of Atlanta. It’s Wednesday, and I’ve had my coffee. So let’s get started.

Getting mugged at WSA. You're doing it right.

After dropping the young lad at school, I stayed, joining in the fun, bread, and beverages at Coffee Wednesdays. I got my java and homemade bread fix, had some insightful convos (Thanks, Nancy!), and made a new connection for my freelance writing business. The last one was a complete surprise — either a complete coincidence or a divinely coordinated arrangement.

I’ll bank on the latter.

You're doing it wrong.

I stayed to the end of the event and helped to carry a tray of coffee mugs (no Styrofoam(TM) found here!) up to the kitchen, taking the opportunity to talk with a fellow parent. It just turns out that her relative is a contract writer for a local agency and would be glad to pass on my 411 to the relative. Sweet — that’s organic networking at its finest.

To top off a great morning, on my way to the parking lot, I found myself behind Ms. Luba’s kindergarten class as they were heading back from their morning walk.

Ah, childhood: like each day, it’s so full of promise.

I (Don’t) Want My MTV

It’s quarter of 12. I’ve had a long, full day that began at 0600. I’ve done a bunch. I just got back from a parent meeting at our son’s school. And I’m stoked, pumped, awake.

Why?

Because I’m thrilled that he’s enjoying school, being nurtured in the environment he’s in, surrounded by families who are as engaged in their children’s education and upbringing as we are.

It floats on a felted lake

Big G attends The Waldorf School of Atlanta — a granola-eatin’, tree-huggin’, nature-lovin’ kinda place. So that means a First Grade parent’s meeting involves not how the kids are performing on state proficiency tests nor how many sheets of simple addition they’ve done this week. It involves talk of … different things: the daily rhythms of the classroom (and the respect and peace it engenders), reducing/eliminating media at home (and how that improves concentration), and, of course, building beeswax boats (and how that develops motor skills).

It’s different, yeah. Perhaps “dumb” in some people’s books. And all this may be at best “interesting” on some intellectual level, perhaps for many of you, regardless of how you feel about it. But here’s the kicker, and perhaps what got me excited: I realized that some of the lessons our kids are learning now — now, at age 7 — are lessons it’s taken (it’s taking) me years to grasp.

"Too much is never enough." Really, Billy? Really?

Case in point: media. Many of us grew up with “I want my MTV!” in our heads. (And if you remember those commercials, maybe we should ask ourselves why they’re still in our heads 20-30 years later.) TV is normal, right? In Waldorf, we’re taught that it’s best for our kids to avoid “screen time” (TV, computers, etc.) for a number of reasons that I won’t go into here. Again, that can be considered dumb according to, well, most of the civilized world. (Do we see a trend?)

“How can you deprive your child like that?” is a compliant I’ve heard with some regularity. But what’s brilliant is this: our kids are faced with that reality and have to face it. “I’m raised one way, but my friends are raised another way. What do I do?”

What do they do?

Most of them learn — with the help of supportive parents, teachers, and the greater Waldorf community — to understand why we do things like we do, and then (and here’s where the magic happens) have faith even when the world doesn’t dig you or your Birkenstock-wearin’ parents.*

They learn some of those important lessons:

  • It’s OK to be different.
  • You don’t live for others’ approval.
  • It’s important to be accepting of others’ beliefs.

Wait a sec … a minute ago, we were talking about MTV. (And that’s “mmm” TV, not “em.”) How’d we end up on profound life lessons? Easy. Most lessons that we need the most can be learned at a very early age, by educating the whole child — through Head, Heart, and Hands — and respecting their natural development.

The Waldorf way of education is one of many such paths out there that see children as so much more than statistics on a government chart. I’m just amped that we’re a part of it.

*Disclaimer: I don’t own a pair of Birks, but my wife does.

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