As you can see, we aren't hard to spot in a crowd--sort of the Mutt and Jeff of the anthroposophical world.
Bob is 55 (making him eligible for 10% off on Tuesdays at the local department store), and Nancy is 47 (making her eligible to become 48). Bob grew up in Oakland, California; Nancy grew up in the Army with strong roots in the Midwest. Bob was raised by stern small business owners; Nancy was raised by permissive public servants. Bob's training is in mathematics, Nancy's is in history. Both of us are energetically creative and have worked for many years on behalf of and within the anthroposophical/Waldorf movement. Needless to say, we argue a lot.
Many of you have asked what our relationship is to the "official" world of Waldorf Education and/or anthroposophy. Both of us have been involved with anthroposophy and Waldorf schools for about 20 years. Each of us belongs to the General Anthroposophical Society, Nancy is a member of the School of Spiritual Science and of the Social Science Section.
However, in the context of our web site, the answer is "there is no official relationship." This site is simply a volunteer act by two people who are committed to the ideals of both Waldorf education and of anthroposophy. On this site we speak strictly for ourselves, though out of a love and gratitude for the gifts of the education and the spiritual approach. We hope that our love and gratitude don't blind us to legitimate concerns and challenges that merit clear, honest responses. We also hope that we can maintain willingness to own that there are problems and to set about trying to resolve them. We value our independence and endeavor to be straightforward and clear (some of the less tactful among our friends feel that "blunt" is more accurately descriptive). We try to speak our truth and believe that greater truths can emerge when all do likewise. In this way, we believe we can best serve the goals of both Waldorf Education and the spiritual approach of anthroposophy.
We have also been asked what our "qualifications" are for speaking about anthroposophy and Waldorf Education as we do. We have not really wanted to get into this because we don't want our thoughts or anyone else's to be evaluated on anything but their own terms. From where we stand, anything anyone says should be weighed against the listener's sense of truth and kept, tabled, or discarded on the basis of that very personal, yet very universal, outcome. So, what you are about to read is not written in the spirit of describing qualifications, but rather to share some personal history as it relates to Waldorf Education and anthroposophy
Bob graduated with a degree in mathematics just after computers began to be a force within the business world but before there were Computer Science departments and degrees. Because of his particular aptitudes, he quickly found himself installing, configuring and developing computer systems as fast as the manufacturers could produce them. He installed Bausch and Lomb's first spectrum analysis computer, worked on the moon car project at GM, and, most important in the context of anthroposophy and Waldorf Education, spent 12 years at the Max Planck Plasma Physics Institute in Munich, designing and developing computer systems for plasma physics experiments.
During this time he encountered anthroposophy and Waldorf schools which led to a lifetime engagement in both. He also became fluent not just in German, but specifically in southern German, which is closest to the Austrian dialect that was Rudolf Steiner's mother tongue. This intimate knowledge of colloquial usage and a living feeling for the underlying tone of certain phrases gives him an enormous strength and depth when translating Steiner's work.
Bob also raised four children, two of whom were educated at Waldorf schools. Additionally, Bob has led study groups for US Waldorf schools, developed financial policies and acted as a consultant on administrative process and economic reality within Waldorf schools.
Nancy graduated with a degree in history just as the Vietnam War came to an end. Her primary focus was on European social history in the early part of this century and mainly in Germany, and Chinese intellectual history after the Western Impact. This latter specialty required as deep a penetration of Western philosophical thought as it did of the Chinese and necessitated the development of a capacity for "cultural translation." Her training became vocationally useful only after she and Bob began the work of translating Steiner's pedagogy. In that context, it has been invaluable, as we have found that in addition to needing to recognize idioms and tone, in many cases an accurate translation can depend upon knowledge of the current events of the time or upon knowledge of other philosophical streams that Steiner encountered.
Between acquiring this knowledge and using it, she also raised three children, all of whom attended Waldorf schools. She worked with Rudolf Steiner College Press and Bookstore, helping them develop their mail order business and worked as administrator/coordinator for a Waldorf school. This latter experience convinced her that the life of administration and economic vision in Waldorf schools in general is in much need of remediation and support.
Together, we have translated over half of Steiner's pedagogical work, served as consultants to Waldorf schools seeking to find clearer processes of communication and decision-making, and as consultants to schools wanting to move their economic life beyond that of buying and selling, while preserving a realistic grounding. We also work together to develop this site and jointly maintain our web site design business, bnsDesigns.
We want you to know that we are very grateful for your interest and support of our site. We hope it continues to be of value to you and others. Thanks for coming!
This page maintained by Robert F. Lathe and Nancy Parsons Whittaker.
Please mail comments and questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last update: September 3, 1998