When we show reverence and gratitude by our actions, children absorb it into their bodies and they too will learn to express gratitude from deep within, for the young child, under the age of seven, learns by modelling the behavior of the adults around him and absorbing what lives within the adult. Rudolf Steiner stated, in The Education of the Child in Light of Anthroposophy:
“There are two magic words which indicate how the child enters into relation with his environment. They are: Imitation, and Example. The Greek philosopher Aristotle called man the most imitative of creatures. For no age in life is this more true than for the first stage of childhood, before the change of teeth. What goes on in his physical environment, this the child imitates, and in the process of imitation his physical organs are cast into the forms which then become permanent. ‘Physical environment’ must, however, be taken in the widest imaginable sense. It includes not only what goes on around the child in the material sense, but everything that takes place in the child’s environment — everything that can be perceived by his senses, that can work from the surrounding physical space upon the inner powers of the child. This includes all the moral or immoral actions, all the wise or foolish actions, that the child sees. "
It is not moral talk or prudent admonitions that influence the child in this sense. Rather is it what the grown-up people do visibly before his eyes.
Wash the dishes,
Wipe the dishes,
Ring the bell for tea,
Three good wishes,
Three good kisses,
Thank you for my tea!
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