Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Waldorf Education and Boy and Girl Scouts

"Oh, we don't do Girl Scouts in a Waldorf school."

And with that ignorant comment no one stepped forward in our circle of "Waldorf" parents to buy Girl Scout cookies from my daughter last year. This bothered me greatly since many of the values that are within the Waldorf Community can also be found in Girl and Boy Scouts. I also know for a fact that this particular parent bought Girl Scout cookies while at home. 

One of my biggest pet peeves is hypocrisy. 

Over this last year I have been researching and learning about Rudolf Steiner's Threefold Social Order and how it can or could be applied to Boy and Girl Scouts. It is the Threefold Social Order that the Waldorf schools are modeled upon. 

Here is what I have discovered, learned and applied from the lecture "The Nature of the Social Question in the Life of Modern Man" by Rudolf Steiner.

In 1917, at the end of the World War I, Europe was in desperate need of a new model of government and a way to heal from the devastation of the war. Rudolf Steiner developed the idea of a Threefold Social Order between 1917 and 1922. At the heart of this idea is the recognized three domains of the human social activity: economics, legal, and culture. Rudolf Steiner believed that the health of human society depended on the understanding of each of these domains. It needs to be stated clearly that this model is not socialism nor is it capitalism. Please don't confuse it with a utopia world either. 

(You)The Economic Realm: where nature provides in the mineral, plant, and animal kingdoms the commodities that meet human needs. The idea of "brotherhood" meets the needs of all human beings on the planet. Further discussions on the financial aspect of economic life can be found on Dr. Stephen E. Usher site "Rudolf Steiner's Threefold Social Order"

(We) The Legal Domain also known  Rights Realm: This is the realm where the laws that govern the behavior of society equally. This is the realm where human rights are discussed. There is no room for business or business law here unless it pertains to human rights. This realm was established to help defend the rights of individual cultures and countries from foreign intrusion and military power. Steiner was not a pacifistic but he didn't want to see countries invades and dominated by other countries over ideologies and economics. 

(I) The Culture Realm: This realm is about the cultivation and recognition of the human capacity. Human capacities, according to Steiner are "the spiritual endowments that rain in upon the earth with the births of the new human  beings." It is the culture realm that is tasked to finding the best way to develop the human capacity.  

 In a newspaper article Steiner described this freedom:

" The Culture Life aims at a form of cooperation among men [women] to be based entirely on the free intercourse and free association of individuality. Here human individuality will not be forced into an institutional mold. How one person assists another, how on helps another advance will simply arise from what one, through his own abilities and accomplishments, is able to be for the other. It is not great wonder that presently many people are still able to imagine nothing but a state of anarchy as a result of such a free form of human relations in the social orders spiritual cultural branch. Those who think so simply do not know what powers of man's innermost nature are hindered from expanding when man is forced to develop in the pattern into which the state and economics system mold him. Such powers, deep within nature, cannot be developed by institutions, but only through what one being calls forth the perfect freedom from another being."

(One) Movement: Steiner envisioned that society should be structured so that each of the three realms had their own organization and autonomy but could come together through negotiations on matters that were common ground and concerns.

This is where Boy and Girl Scouting can fit in with the Threefold Social Order. 


Rudolf Steiner strongly encouraged families to have a spiritual faith and have their children raised within that faith. That is what both Girl and Boy Scouts encourage- (Culture)

Rudolf Steiner strongly encouraged building a stronger community and culture. (Economics)

Rudolf Steiner lectured extensively about Human Rights and equality. The Girl Scouts in connection with the United Nations established goals to help young girls learn about the plight and lives of other children around the world. The Service Projects that both the Girl and Boy Scouts create are focused to help them understand how to help their community and society. (Legal)

The badges, journeys, belt loops, Eagle Award and Gold Awards that the Boy and Girl Scouts earn through out their journey in scouting are to help develop personal skills that can be used in the future. Lord Robert Baden- Powell of the Boy Scouts and Juliette Gordon Low of the Girl Scouts discovered that young adults were not prepared for the real world. Creating the the Boy and Girl Scouts Lord Baden-Powell and Lady Gordon Low created a path for young people to develop skills for the future. This is the core of Rudolf Steiner's Threefold Social Order- (One Movement)

The Girl Scout cookie sales is the number one entrepreneurial and goal setting program for girls in the United States. Girls learn how to set goals, philanthropy, entrepreneurial skills, money management, and communication skills while selling cookies. Money raised during this time are applied towards troop activities, service projects and individual girls personal goals. Selling Girl Scout cookies (Boy Scouts have other opportunities to raise money) involves all realms of the Rudolf Steiner's Threefold Social Model. 

Would you like to buy Girl Scout Cookies?

For further reading check out:

Dr. Stephen E. Usher's article on Rudolf Steiner and Economics applied to the Threefold Social Order here..

Rudolf Steiner, The Threefold Social Order

Bless Bless

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