from Reminiscences of Froebel (Erinnerungen an Fröbel) by Baroness von Marenholtz-Buelow

translated by Mrs. Horace Mann Boston: 1887 abridged here by Johannes Froebel-Parker

In the year 1848, at the end of May, I arrived at Bad Liebenstein in Thuringia. A man had taken up residence at a small farm near the springs, who danced and played with the village children and was therefore called "the old fool."

A tall, spare man with long grey hair was leading a troop of village children between the ages of three and eight, most of them barefooted, up a hill where they played and sang.

The loving patience of the man, the whole bearing brought tears to my eyes and to those of my companion.

The play being ended I approached the man with the words," I see you are occupied with the education of the people."

He agreed and said, "the other [older] people will not come unless we educate them, so we must begin with the children."

I went with him across the meadow to a country-house where he introduced me to his niece, Henriette Schrader-Breymann.

I retain the memory of only one sentence "Man is a creative being!"

He accompanied me back to Bad Liebenstein, about an half hour away, and we discussed the disappointments of the [democratic] movements of 1848.

"Nothing comes without a struggle," he said. "Strife creates nothing by itself, it only clears the air. New seeds must be planted to germinate and grow, if we will have the tree of humanity blossom...We cannot tear the present from the past or from the future. Past, present, and future are the Trinity of time. In the children lies the seed-corn of the future!"

"That which follows is always conditioned upon that which goes before." (Shown concretely in the Second Educational Gift/die Zweite Gabe)

Although Fröbel never joined the party of progress, he was counted among the revolutionaries by those in authority, who hindered all progress and condemned his kindergarten.

"The destiny of nations lies far more in the hands of women, the mothers, than in the possessors of power, or those of innovators who for the most part do not understand themselves. We must cultivate women, who are the educators of the human race, else the new generation cannot accomplish its task." This was almost always the sum of his discourse.

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