Is friendly always free

"Always friendly"

Ms. Bruns-Cabello, how did you get into your job?
When I was 12, my dream job was actually a mother in a children's village in Africa. My parents advised me against it because at that time I was said to have a tender soul ... Since I have a talent for languages, I became a foreign language correspondent. Nevertheless, I went to development aid when I was in my early twenties, but had to quit after three months because I couldn't tolerate the diet at all. So it didn't work out for Africa - but I still realized my dream of becoming a mother in the children's village.
My husband is a social worker and through him I got to know and love working with children. After the birth of our daughter in 1988, we took on a youth group in the Pestalozzi Children's Village and later a group with children of all ages. I have gained further qualifications while working, as a Waldorf educator and youth and home educator. Over the years, further training followed, e.g. in non-violent communication, systemic counseling, talk therapy and trauma education.

So you have been working in the Pestalozzi Children's Village since 1988 ...
With an interruption. In the year 2000 our children's village family was at a point where all those we looked after were becoming more and more independent. That was a good moment to re-orientate yourself again. I then took over a Waldorf kindergarten group here in Wahlwies. After 5 years, i.e. in 2006, former children's village colleagues came up to me and asked me if I would like to go back to work. So I became a pedagogical employee. That means, I represent the house parents together with an FSJ worker two days a week when they are free. We’ve been doing this together for the eleventh year now and we’re a good, well-coordinated team, it’s really fun.

Describe your work in three words.
A former head of education said to us after every team meeting: “And please, always be friendly.” “We always laughed, but that really hits the nail on the head. In my own words I would say: existence, relationship and love.

Why do you want to do exactly this job - and no other?
I am now 60 years old and have often thought about doing something in the direction of adult education or family therapy, which I would also have a lot of fun ... But I just love to be “alive”, in direct contact. Every child brings a new nuance and challenge and that gives me an infinite amount. I really don't want to be anywhere else. In addition, relationships, security and reliability are the basis of our work. I wouldn't have the heart to say: "So, children, I'll be gone, someone new will come." That is also something that you should think twice about: the children here have so many broken ties. what you actually want to heal again. Half a year or a year and then be gone again - that's not good for the matter.

What is challenging in your work and which qualities are helpful?
"Always friendly to you". For me, that is the great challenge of always finding a practicable path and an appropriate approach to every child. To work de-escalating and not to freak out, even if you sometimes feel like it. For me, Rudolf Steiner's motto is very formative, in short: "Education is self-education." To question yourself again and again or to put it aside. For example, if a child doesn't want to do a job and yells: "No, I won't do that, stupid family ...!" Since just don't get on it, best not answer first, if in doubt, go out briefly and say: "We'll talk later." Not at any cost to ensure that it is done now and immediately, just because I say it, if maybe there was still time until the evening. The argument ties up so much energy and also unsettles the other children. They all come from backgrounds in which there was probably a lot of argument and noise. It is important to give the child time and space to develop self-efficacy. There are often abused and abused children with us who first have to develop their own and also be able to say “no”. Nevertheless, I have to stay tuned, because on the other hand, the structure is also very badly needed to give the children security. To say: "Okay, let's just leave it" would again be neglect. In this sense: It takes patience, philanthropy and perseverance. Belief in what is good in people and the hope that everything has its purpose. Many children come afterwards and say: "The time in the children's village was the best in my life."

Can you describe an experience that particularly touched you?
During the holidays we arrived at a campsite with our nine children. They just tumbled out of the bus after a long drive, like potatoes out of a sack ...
As we pitched our tents, the neighbors around us turned the entrances to their caravans in the other direction. Sure, these were older people who probably thought: "Oh God, here come the hordes, that's it for our vacation." That went on for a week, then one of these Dutch women came up to me and was totally blown away . How our children went to the sanitary facilities with huge mountains of dishes without complaining and washed them, or to shower or brush their teeth, in an orderly and harmonious manner. In other families with one or two children, that would always be a lot of nagging. On her last day of vacation she invited us to a barbecue, it was a huge party with balloons and everything. I enjoyed it so much and I remember it impressively over the years.

Would you like to say something to the people who are considering working here?
I am here because of the children, of course, but also because of the community, the wonderful place Wahlwies, but also because of the atmosphere. A Demeter nursery, a village shop, the helper network with therapists, educational leaders, the kitchen, the laundry ... That makes it a lot easier and you can concentrate fully on the children.