Parents should understand and explore their own temperaments in a continued effort for personal growth. Steiner requested Teachers do self observation and study so they could learn more about themselves and how better they could serve the children. He stated the importance of the adult remaining in balance, because "a teacher's unbridled temperament can be harmful to a child".
From Rhythms of Learning:
"Everything that adults do makes an impression on the child's soul. These impressions work their way into the child's breathing, circulation and metabolism and can affect that child's health in later life."
"According to Steiner, teachers (and parents) with an overly strong choleric temperament cause children to live in dread of their fury. This dread penetrates into the child's metabolism and can lead to disorders of the metabolic system in adulthood. Teachers (parents) who are overly melancholic can be so preoccupied and self-involved that they behave coolly toward the children. This lack of warmth can cause disorders of the respiratory and circulatory systems in later life. Teachers (parents) who are overly phlegmatic and not sufficiently responsive to children can cause a certain dullness to arise in adulthood. Sanguine teachers (parents) who give themselves up to every impression, hastening from one thing to the next, fail to arouse sufficient inner activity in the child. The lack of inner activity can result in a lack of strength and vital force in adulthood.
As Teachers (parents) we therefore have a RESPONSIBILITY to strive to MASTER OURSELVES, to bring ourselves into harmony and balance, so that we can promote this health and well-being on the students (our children) for the rest of their lives.
Waldorf teachers recognize that we affect our students not just through curriculum and the subjects we teach, not just by the methods we use, buy by WHO WE ARE.
Who am I to stand before my students (children) as a representative of humanity? How can I, with all my faults and limitations, guide my students (children) toward their higher selves? We must remember that what is most important to our students (children) is not our achievements but our STRIVING.
Each of us in the process of becoming. Our students (children) are often our teachers in this process. They force us to face our shortcomings and limitations and inspire us to continue to strive to transform ourselves. By working on ourselves, we work on behalf of our students (children). By coming to know ourselves, we learn to know our students (children).
Anthroposophy is a meditate path and a WAY OF LIFE that supports this striving."
(source: Rhythms of Learning)
In The Four Temperaments Rudolf Steiner said: "We learn to know individual human beings in every way when we perceive them in the light of spiritual science. We even learn to perceive the child this way. Little by little we come to respect, or value, in the child the peculiarity or enigmatic quality, of the individuality; we also learn how an individual must be treated in life, because spiritual science doesn't merely provide general, theoretical directions. It guides us in our relationship to the individual in the solving of the questions we need to solve. Such solutions require that we love the individual as we must, otherwise we merely fathom others with the mind. We must allow the other to work upon us completely. We must let spiritual scientific insight give wings to our feelings of love. That is the only proper soil that will yield true, fruitful, genuine human love; it is the basis from which we discover what we must look for as the innermost kernel in each individual."