At your service!?

Mathias Maurer

I just wanted to take a quick glance at the newly delivered morning paper but suddenly my youngest is crying and wants hot chocolate instead of tea. I just wanted a second cup of coffee but suddenly my school-aged daughter’s absolutely essential light green pencil is missing from her pencil case, and of course the lunch-time sandwiches still have to be made.

In the meantime, my oldest has to be excused from his appointment with his physiotherapist and his piano lessons have to be rescheduled. And before everyone has left the house, the clothes still have to be thrown into the wash and lunch still has to be prepared. And then, just when I think I finally have the chance to risk one more cup of coffee and just a quick glance at the newspaper, there goes the telephone, and – surprise – the cello has been left at home.

I‘m only here to attend to my children, a good training in selflessness. I know, I know, education begins with myself. And I should be consoled by Rudolf Steiner’s insight that children choose their parents? – Family? Let me tell you right now! Your own life is over. And a completely new life with your children begins.

It would be counter-productive to play these two different lives against each other, along the lines of either I want to realise myself or I want to do everything for my children. This will only lead to unhappiness. Because at some point I realised I wanted this. It doesn’t matter if I was always of a fully sound mind when it came to the strength of my nerves, my competency at raising children and my ability to evaluate long-term consequences. I would even go as far as to say that these gaps in my rationality have rescued me from the rigid inflexibility of a fully planned-out course for life. I can guarantee it: this helps keep you mentally active, physically fit, and this emotional flexibility can help extend the limits of your endurance when it comes to positive stress.

If you really get involved in raising children you can save yourself the costs of a large number of courses, from intuitive archery, to transcendental body-yoga, and “How do I think correctly”. Above all though, you never stop learning, because with children, absolutely anything can happen – day and night, and on average over a period of at least 20 years. What job can even approach offering all of these opportunities? Due to this fact, which becomes a part of everyday life after having children, you might as well completely forgo any and all planning about having children, seeing as raising a child never fits into your life the way you think it will. Even embryonic freezing won’t keep us from experiencing this elementary aspect of life.

And one last ineffably optimistic recommendation to help in permanently removing the egoism of our consciousness as singles: a proper family really only gets going when everything becomes slightly chaotic and you find that there are more children sitting at the table than were originally planned. Farewell to planning, and a warm welcome to adventure!