These 18 years have gone by so quickly and I can now officially share that choosing the “Waldorf Way” was the best decision I ever made. It was, at times, difficult. Many times I felt isolated, alone… I was militant in the beginning; sticking to the rules as though there did not exist compromise. I isolated family members with my rejection of their barbies and plastic toys, I scared them with my health and diet choices. When I moved to another country, they were terrified that we would not come back alive. Yes we did, and I succeeded in raising my children my way.
We don’t normally think about how difficult it is to go against the norm. To choose, perhaps, the less popular route. To be a pioneer… yet that is what those who inspire us carry within – a spark of leadership. The heroes and heroines that go above and beyond. In retrospect, I would not change a thing. The three home births, the decisions to raise my children purely with no additives, sugars, hormones, medicines. The years of nursing and family bed, the revolt against television and plastic toys. My children lived in the magical world of childhood, where their greatest toys were small baskets with special stones, feathers and little felted gnomes. Where they read for entertainment and made their own music.
Now, much older – they are all so talented and developed in a myriad of ways I see other children are not. They are all artistically and musically inclined. They carry a deep compassion and understanding for others. They care about the planet, the people around them.
Zachary, the oldest plays piano and guitar. He wrote his first book, My Journey to Becoming a Mayan Shaman at age 10. He is an excellent skateboarder that can soar over 14 stairs, rails and gaps. He has volunteered more than he has worked and he gives his time and his heart to others. The last two summers, he attended Anthony Robbins’ Global Youth Leadership Summit with 250 children from all over the world, setting a new paradigm of the world’s future leaders. This inspired his second book and training program Immersion Mastery. Aside from being an author and speaker, he is also a model, part time. As of right now, he is building an app to go with his Immersion program to help youth stay focused on their goals and life’s mission.
Zanna wrote a book at age 12 to inspire girls called “How To Get What You Want For Girls” and creates awesome animated videos. She is often behind the scenes on photo and video shoots, always ready to lend a helping hand. It’s much of her creative and unique artwork and design that graces our family’s 120+ websites. Her newest passion is with design and she has really taken off in creating amazing videos, greeting cards, posters, graphics and photographs. Additionally, she has taken her cooking passion to a whole new level and will soon be launching her cookbook with recipe site. We are in that amazing testing and tasting phase ;-). While the “quietest” of the three publicly, she is the driving force and the strength behind all of us. Completely grounded with such grace and elegance, nothing we do would be possible without her organization, calm intuition and ongoing support. She may not like the spotlight, but she probably has a greater understanding of what it entails more than the rest of us combined.
And Zynnia, at 11 is the family “star” (maybe being a Leo like Mama is responsible for that). At age 9 she spoke at the SuperWomen’s Summit and did a presentation on video marketing and received a standing ovation. At 10 she became known as “The Princess of YouTube” and even performed on stage with a famous reggae / rap artist. People have been so inspired by her that they have written songs in her honor! She was honored by the Young Entrepreneurs Society and together with Zanna, they created Sisters To Success when they were only 8 and 11. (Though they have not really had the time to give that site much love the last 2 years). Last year she started a crowdfunding campaign and raised over $7,000 in 4 days to get us all to Hawaii for an event called Awesomeness Fest. Here are some of the amazing people she met and interviewed there, and if you click that link and scroll way down, you can even see the campaign. We had an exchange student here recently and he called her “my little 50’s girl” because she loves Doris Day, Sandra Dee, Andy Griffith, Lucille Ball, Audrey Hepburn and Elvis. She loves to see Elvis Tribute artists and interviews them too! She sings Rosemary Clooney songs and loves all things retro. Her latest fling is with the old westerns of the late 60’s and early 70’s. Though she still has time to wrap it all together at amazing Internet Marketing seminars like Yanik Silver’s Underground, where she met and hung out with all sorts of gurus! Everybody LOVES Zynnia! Her latest project is to take all she learned and experienced from her crowdfunding campaign and create a platform jsut for kids to raise the money they need for their dreams and ideas. That is called LaunchBoxProject.com, check it out!
So you see, allowing them the “freedom to be me” has brought out the very best in each and every one of them. They are confident knowing that they can try on all sorts of things and then are empowered to select what feels best for them.
Young adults are risk-takers, and are committed to their ideas – two important characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. They understand new technology, and have innovative ideas. If we act now, the Recession could be an opportunity to turn what has the potential of becoming the Lost Generation into a generation that fuels tomorrow’s new economy: the Entrepreneurial Generation. ~Young Invincibles
In 2010 we went to Los Angeles for an event and I was amazed at how non impressed they were with all of the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Yes, it was fun to see the walk of fame, the Hollywood sign, the Chinese Theater… but they were more interested in the abundance of health food stores and people living green in the hills overlooking Malibu. They are “cool” kids, but in their own way – not following the trends or music that is the “flavor of the day”, instead they are highly intelligent and creative individuals who are aware of what is occurring in the world in a way that inspires them to be responsible and take action for change. To BE the change. They are not afraid to be different and in fact, they have matured into honoring those that are, recognizing them as the leaders that they are.
Slava Rubin (founder of Indiegogo.com) wrote an essay called “Success Starts in 7th Grade” which is awesome. He believes that every single student should start a business every year starting in 7th grade and continue trying new ones each year until they graduate college, making each student have 10 startups by the time they are 17! Think, not only of all the great businesses that could start out of this and how motivated we could get our youth to create and help society – but how much experience the youngsters would get and how much more certain of what direction they would want to take, having tried and immersed themselves on so many different opportunities.
You know, I could not be any prouder of myself, for honoring each and every moment of time they are on “loan” from the heavens, and in my care… where I am profoundly blessed to be able to learn so much from them. And I am extremely proud of them, for all they have become as a result of my conscious choice of taking away the cultural influences that seem to permeate nearly every inch of existence these days… it has been a wise move and I would not change one thing.
As far as growing up Waldorf… We still have our cherished wooden gnome homes and playclips, our beautiful and well loved wool dolls… and every now and again we re-read the Seven Year Wonder Book or Stan Bolivan and the Dragon… but for the most part, the Waldorf life I built and created for them, with an intent to nurture their souls and honor the divinity in them, is a part of them I know will always be the foundation and the fabric of the character they possess.
The best part is, we still all walk the world in wonder. With a playfulness and innocence – yet an acute awareness that we are all pure potential and love, no matter what the illusion around us tries to sell us, or scare us into believing.
We are all blessed….