The Freedom to Be Who We Are

From September 19 to December 12, the International Campus Waldorf is hosting an online lecture series on “Chances and Challenges of a Global Education,” with lecturers from all over the world speaking on various topics. We offer a summary of Sven Saar’s lecture on sexuality, diversity, and humanity.

Sven Saar is a former Waldorf teacher and now works as a mentor and trainer of new teachers. In his lecture entitled “Sexuality, Diversity, and Humanity in the Waldorf Curriculum,” he invites us to be open to new approaches to sex education and Waldorf education in general. In his lecture, as in his book Beziehungskunst [The Art of Relationships], Saar discusses the importance of not only learning about the traditional sex education topics, such as sexual health and contraception, but, in addition, to include topics that concern promoting emotional intelligence, respect, and empathy, and further to be sure to offer an inclusive worldview as a teacher, where all young people feel seen and represented on their individual paths. Educators can do this by reflecting on their own normative thinking and making space in their lessons for cultural diversity, gender sensitivity, and the wide variety of relationships and family constellations. Ultimately, it’s about creating an environment of freedom, where children and young people can develop in a way that accords with their experiences, in order to encourage them to become the person they really are.

For this to be possible, it’s essential that the diversity of life paths and realities are presented. The teacher who teaches sex education needs a courageous and humorous attitude that creates a safe space, where everything can be talked about. Saar emphasized that with all the choices about how and who we want to be, we still need tools for our own orientation. There are so many different worlds of ideals and ideas, and adolescents look for those that will have a personal meaning for them. When choosing one of these worlds, one essential quality is kindness. Saar defines this human characteristic as the ability to have a positive effect on our environment. If the choice of a personal world is characterized by kindness, then it’s healthy, not only for ourselves, but for everyone. Saar concludes his lecture in this spirit with a quote from Jennifer Dukes Lee: “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

All videos at YouTube
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Translation Joshua Kelberman
Title image Sven Saar

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