Supporting a Hospitality Towards Awe
Dear Friends Near and Far,
Part of what's profound about having children or working with them is how much they teach us. At La Purisima Mission in Lompoc yesterday, I noticed a few WSSB fourth graders staring into an oak tree. When I walked over, I heard them -- seriously, wonderingly, gladly -- discussing a nest in this tree. One child thought it a squirrel's nest, one thought it a bird's nest, one a rat's. It occurred to me afterwards that I hadn't even noticed this oak, not to mention the creature's nest in it, so carried away I was by the burbling of my own thinking. It is a grace to be around our children (though not always an easeful, calming grace!), and perhaps it is foolish to assume they are the only students at WSSB, so often do they limn for us grownups how faraway we've strayed from the shine of things, from the garden:
may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old
As we have said in newsletters past, The Waldorf School of Santa Barbara's credo this year is "celebrating our uniqueness." And our uniqueness is Waldorf education. And a bedrock value of Waldorf education is a special kind of hospitality, a hospitality towards awe, towards the "little birds" Cummings invokes. Why is such awe important? Such awe is important because we want our children to have moments -- many, many moments! -- of joyous absorption while they are alive and because such awe makes for deeper, more effective learning: one is more compelled to focus on something if that something interests somehow (be it math or chemistry or ornithology or Norse myths). Such awe is also important because it enjoins us to care-taking, to living lives one might call ethical or moral. "People exploit what they have merely concluded to be of value, but they defend what they love," Wendell Berry writes. So by making ourselves hospitable towards the world's mysterious beauty, we are perhaps helping save it.
Each year at private schools all over the country funds need to be raised to run and improve those schools. WSSB's primary fundraiser to cover the gap between tuition and operating costs is our Annual Giving Campaign. This year’s Annual Giving goal is $40,000 with 100% participation from every parent -- as well as faculty member, staff member, and board member -- at our school. So far we have raised $25,040. And to our great fortune, a family within our community recently stepped forward and generously offered to double all monies given to WSSB up to $3,000. So if you give now, your money will go twice as far!
If this education weren't so important writing such letters would be taxing. Thankfully, such is not the case. The values and practices of this education not only bring joyous absorption and deep learning to young lives, they help cultivate future care-takers, future stewards of this mysterious world of which we all are part. We dearly appreciate your financial support as we continue to work hard to offer children this unique, worthy education.
Carolyn Kaster and Teddy Macker
The Waldorf School of Santa Barbara