Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Interview

Charlotte has kindly passed along some tailor-made interview questions for me. Up close and personal...

Charlotte: What first brought you to Waldorf education, and what attracts you about it?

Kristine: This question reveals how random destiny can seem! After I graduated college, I began working in the health insurance industry. This wasn't a career goal or anything inspiring: my dad gave me a referral for a job within his company! After a few years I was still uninspired. One day I was looking around on the internet for inspiration, and I remember that I had read something interesting years before, in the Utne Reader magazine, about something called Waldorf education. I found that only a few miles away from us was one of the 3 colleges in the US that trains Waldorf teachers! I called them up, took a tour, and entered the Weekend Foundation Year. I ended up deciding not to be a teacher, but that experience has guided my life and my parenting since then.

What attracts me about Waldorf education is its focus on balance. The vision behind Waldorf is that human beings are not just brains: the common Waldorf school slogan is "educating head, heart, and hands." So the curriculum, teaching methods, and even the physical spaces in a Waldorf school are designed to help the child develop all parts of their being, in a harmonious way. Intellectual development is honored at the right time, and is not forced upon the child too soon so that other capacities are stunted or delayed. In fact, many tenets in this regard are being borne out by scientific research, in particular in the area of neurological development. In the Waldorf kindergarten, for example, emphasis is placed on physical activity and learning through imitation in the form of play. So the young child starts to "learn" about language through learning songs that the teacher sings to them each day, and develops self-control, social awareness, and the inner capacity to form images and concepts through imaginative play.

Charlotte: In your blog you appear very calm and as if nothing gets under your skin. Is there anything that drives you stark raving mad?

Kristine: This question got a big laugh! I'm glad that I appear calm and serene in this blog. However, to my shame I often lose my cool at home. Right now my big challenge is my dear son, who at almost 5 years old does like to be contrary and outright rude sometimes. We definitely have some intense karma with each other, starting from his birth. For some reason we have a dynamic where I feel like he doesn't want to do what I say (which in a preschooler is completely true!) but also with a feeling that he is blocking or hindering me. I have no idea where this feeling is coming from, and it seems like one of those lifelong things we will have to work on.

The other thing that gets my goat is rude service people! Though I know from Kerryn that there are rude librarians on the other side of the globe, sometimes it seems like all of them work at my local branch. I'm sure the people at the checkout counter really have a thankless job: they probably take some of the most idiotic questions in the world, and there are many people living around here with only a tenuous grasp of English. But why do they have to lump me in there? I worked for many years in a call center, so I have remained sensitive to customer service, good or bad.

Charlotte: If I could wave a magic wand and give you a no strings attached month off, all expenses paid, to spend on your OWN, what would you do?

Kristine: How startling that I am having a hard time thinking of something to do on my OWN! I start to think of things to do, but then I would want to share them with my family, or at least my husband. If pressed, I would probably go off to a retreat center, or possibly somewhere like the Rudolf Steiner Institute where I could take enriching classes and do art and be out in nature. In fact, that's exactly what I would do: weeks of "Doing Sculpture as Transformative Activity" and "Healing & Destiny: Anthroposophical Medicine for the Lay Person" and "Returning to the Sacred in Every Day Matters through Food, Movement & Healing Ritual".

Charlotte: You work as an editor now. What is it that you love about language?

Kristine: I love that when my kids ask me about words, I can tell them about the etymology and synonyms and all of those things, without being too pedantic. My son will crack up laughing if I say "At the boat store, do they have a sail sale?" or he will ask me "Why is it called 'dinner', Mama?" and I have to go check my dictionary. For me language is living, even when strict rules are applied in my work. Recently I've worked on several compilations of lectures from Switzerland that were originally transcribed in German and then translated to English. I had to modernize them, taking out all the literally translated convoluted German phrasing. What an amazing experience: to try to keep the spirit of the original thoughts (as far as I can tell) while making the words flow to the modern American ear. I also love idioms: I've studied several languages over the years, and things like how you say "Good Luck" in Italian just thrill me. (You say In bocca al lupo "Into the wolf's mouth", and the other person says Crepi il lupo "May the wolf die.").

Charlotte: How did you meet Anthropapa and how long have you been together? What are your tips for a happy marriage?

Kristine: Ooh, a juicy question...I met Anthropapa in college at a party! We had never met, but through mutual friends I went to one of the monthly "Pasta Nights" he and his roommates hosted. This one was the second-to-last one ever, and it was a Friday the 13th! Despite the bad luck, we hit it off right away. We've been together for 17 years, and married for 13 years. (Papa B. can corroborate most of this, if you need proof.)

As far as tips for marital happiness...for us I think one big thing is that, cliche or not, we are good friends. We got to know each other well before we got married, and we have remained interested in each other after all these years, even after major changes. Also we have similar personalities and have similar tastes. And really trying not to take things personally, trying to see the other person's needs and perspective, has helped me handle bumps in the road. Also lots of chocolate.

Since most of my 10 loyal readers (except for you lurking grandparents!) probably already read Charlotte's Web, it's unlikely that I will be able to pass this one on. But if you insist:

DIRECTIONS FOR THE INTERVIEW MEME
1. Leave a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. Please make sure I have your email address.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment, asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

4 comments:

Kerryn said...

I think my rude librarian has been on a holiday. She's much more relaxed these days, when she's actually working at my branch...

As one of your 10 loyal readers, I must insist that you interview ME! Charlotte shouldn't have all the fun.

(Sorry Charlotte!)

Papa Bradstein said...

I would corroborate the tale of that party if I hadn't had so much wine. We served pasta at those parties too? Who knew?

Henitsirk said...

Kerryn: I'll send you some questions over the weekend!

Papa B: Let's see, I think Greg did the garlic bread, and Anthropapa did the tomato sauce, so that leaves either John or you for the pasta...or maybe you were in charge of the wine after all? But I only attended the last two of the fabled Pasta Nights, so I'm no expert.

Charlotte said...

It WAS a lot of fun interviewing you, and thanks for the great answers. I would also struggle to imagine a holiday completely on my own, but would probably end up, like you, on a course somewhere.