Worker Stories - Activities of Life
Meaningful purposeful work can be a potent antidote for a child to help balance the overwhelming nature of technology today. Our interest in practical life, our physical and heart engagement in doing real work, baking, knitting, sewing, shoveling, planting a garden, building, etc., is the source of vital imitation for our children. Through their eagerness to imitate us, we help enliven their relationship to their own will forces, their ‘doing’ confidence, and enjoyment. When children imitate useful worthwhile actions from us, they are forming the building blocks to their own moral capacity.
When they view puppet characters also visually engaged in ‘doing’ actions this reinforces the children’s imitative powers to motivate their own interest in participating in a life of accomplishment in the daily life around them. Imagine their sense of self worth that arises from this.
The key is in building up our own story imagination. We draw our own life experiences, story meaning and symbolism, research, consciousness, and warm this into an imaginative inner picture. This becomes something nearly physical that topples in and around our puppets.
We find the inspiration for these worker tales in the activity of the competent characters that inhabit them!
The shoemaker lovingly, with great care, cuts the leather and stitches it together to make a shoe! His whole being shows interest and pride in his workmanship. There is a leaning in to the stitching, his eyes look at what he is creating. His soul nature surrounds the shoes he is making. After all, the true archetypal shoemaker is making a shoe that supports the human walk on their pathway through the world and destiny.
Thefarmer stands sturdily in the field and views the land. He will dig and plant, water, and nurture the earth and the plants that grow in his care. He is the caretaker of earth, and grows the food that gives us sustenance. The sun shines on his hat, the rain falls on his back, through wind, snow, morning and night the farmer steadfastly takes care of the land and the growing of things. We honor this profession in the rhythmic earthy nature of his gestures.
I look for opportunities in every story to bring forward the rhythm of the practical work. From Nursery Rhyme to Fairy Tale, the baker kneads the dough, his whole body movement in the action of kneading. His whole heart is in each stage of the process. We can clearly bring the gestures to the children, the mixing, the rolling, so that the texture of the dough will become visible! When he puts it in the over, we will see him smelling the sweet smells, and when he tastes it, mmmmm, we taste it too! All this we pour into our character from our own inner imagination and insight into practical gestures.
Whatever the worker is doing, we establish a relationship… the shoemaker cares for the shoes he is making, the farmers crops are important to his soul. The Baker finds joy in each loaf of bread he makes. But when the worker character’s work caring for sheep, or a cow, or the chickens, or a child….the relationship is elevated because there can be a visual and believable response from this other character. When the shepherd tends to the sheep, and pats the sheep’s head, the sheep can look up at him and respond to the shepherd’s caring gesture. We see what lives in the interval of the relationship… what is in-between them is made visible.
You might be interested in our upcoming August weekend Online course on an Introduction to Steiner's indications on 'The 12 Professions', a look at the Spiritual Archetype behind the Worker Character - In this immersion we will be looking at The Shoemaker in Story and Puppetry Presentation. Click here for information. Begins August 8, 2020