I am against individuals and for persons.
~ Martin Buber
From the time we first feel our babies move within the womb, we have dreams about what that little bean will grow to become. Above all else, we want our child to discover his Self—that person he or she is meant to be, the one who is unique to all the world. Indeed, Abraham Maslov in his famous hierarchy of needs describes self-actualization as the highest goal.
And yet while individuation is important, it is equally important to keep the goal in mind. We are meant to individualize not just for the sake of being different, but so we can contribute to society, live in community, and help make the world a better place. We are meant to find that spark that makes us shine so we can set the world aglow.
When we choose to teach our children reverence for the world and care for others, when we show them they are competent and resilient and amazing, when we model for them gentleness, peacefulness, kindness, and all those other wonderful fruits of the Spirit, we are teaching them about the interconnectedness of the world. We are helping them to become not just “individuals” but persons who can live faithfully in the world.
"Receive the child in reverence. Educate him in love. Let him go forth in freedom" - Rudolf Steiner