Everyday David works with professional athletes, clearing physical, emotional and spiritual trauma from a lifetime of extreme pressures. And still, we celebrate sports, and the profound meaning they bring to the individual, their families and communities. As with everything in Waldorf education, it's not a matter of censoring, but timing and conscious engagement from coaches and parents.
Here, our own Brian Wolfe, a 10 year+ Waldorf games teacher & championship-winning upper grades basketball coach, gives an opening chat for Kim John Payne, author of Simplicity Parenting and Beyond Winning, Smart Parenting in a Toxic Sports Environment.
I once thanked "Mr. Wolfe," with tears in my eyes, for being another strong male role model for my sons. He thanked me, but I said, "No, really. I want you to understand. It's been years, now, that they come home elated, sharing stories and laughing over their games and art time with you. Years of us realizing you are one of the best parts of their day. We don't believe this is a small thing. It's a huge thing, for them to love art, to learn to play cooperatively and to have another man in their life that sees them, celebrates them and holds them accountable. We're deeply grateful."
For one of our sons, this was so much more important, because he was recovering from post-traumatic stress from my near-terminal pregnancies (his own and his brother's). Waldorf education allowed us to slow down enough for us to really support our son, to see his true smile emerge and to feel him come into his own happiness with a sense of ownership and curiosity. He has always been exposed to professional sports, and now, at twelve years old, he's ready to begin organized sports for himself.
With coaches and parents holding the family, the child's health, friendships, skills, sportsmanship and winning as important aspects of a holistic picture, I'm ready, too. And grateful.
Thank you for being a part of this community and conversation. It's so important. You can get Kim's book, Beyond Winning, here.