Growing with and through each other

Growing with and through each other

23 June 2023 Sebastian Jüngel 2317 views

Family life has largely emancipated itself from external precepts. The need for personal development and reliability cannot be met with new directives. With its annual Family Festival, the Goetheanum creates a space for practical questions around the theme of ‘family today’.


“We want to be free, make our own decisions, conquer the world, but we don‘t want to be hermits or loners.” This is how Gerald Häfner describes the needs of families today. He is head of Social Sciences at the Goetheanum and champions family life – in forms that are right for the family members: without normative and antiquated structures imposed by the state or the church, independent of economic coercions – built entirely on what is required for family life. Family can also be experienced as “a cage, or as hell”, says Gerald Häfner, a family man with two children. He finds it therefore the more important that we determine ourselves how we live, that we are free and take responsibility for each other.

Family forms have become diverse and varied. As a result, shaping life together, discussing and implementing ways of dividing tasks and labour and continuing to transform them have become an ongoing challenge. Gerald Häfner‘s experience is that it helps finding a way, if one knows how others deal with the challenges of their family life and if one can share one‘s own situation with them. The Family Festival at the Goetheanum offers an open space and much inspiration for this.

Gerald Häfner is convinced that “children above all need adults who are both self-determined and reliable.” It is essential, he finds, that all family members can grow with and through each other.


English by Margot M. Saar

Family Festival (German) Shaping Life Together! 29 July to 1 August 2023, Goetheanum

Picture for the Family Festival 2023 at the Goetheanum (Drawing: Sina Lux)