His Own Life

Shaded entrances to the Children’s Village at Beaver Run set me instantly reflective. In part, the mood is a conditioned response to the bittersweet separations and joyful reunions experienced there. But always I wonder at the beauty of this children’s village and the significance of its discovery to my son John.

There is a little magic steeped into the real life John enjoyed here – a life not defined by mine, but truly a life of his own.

The pulse of Camphill days is strong and rhythmic.There is purpose to every detail from the specially designed homes to the wholesome unhurried meals shared in the spirit of family. The smallest of achievements is noted and celebrated against this backdrop. I treasured the delight and pride in a houseparent’s voice when he told me of John’s solo walk to the schoolhouse; and I know John basked in the glory of a job well done.

The people in John’s Camphill life were many, varied, and woven into precious images. There were classmates who rocked together on Columbus’ journey, painted trees on great white canvasses, and reached heights during A Midsummer Night’s Dream. There were roommates, who slept and awoke in the comfort of each other’s presence, and younger housemates they knew and followed as they grew.

And what of the teachers, coworkers, and houseparents? Their steadfast commitment is the foundation of life here.Tirelessly, and without fanfare, they cultivate happiness and progress. I gave them, and watched John give them, admiration, affection, and trust in full measure.

I was overwhelmed by the mystery of my own child as I watched him respond with an uncharacteristic small, knowing smile to a classmate’s whisper. Revelations larger and smaller appeared in the context of the Camphill community. The psychologist, Michaly Csikszentmihalyi, expresses, “A community should be judged good not because it is technologically advanced, or swimming in the material riches; it is good if it offers people a chance to enjoy as many aspects of their lives as possible, while allowing them to develop their potential in the pursuit of ever greater challenges.”

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