I have arguments with my nine-year-old son about gnomes. They go more or less like my arguments with him about Santa Claus.
"They don't exist!" I tell him.
"They do too!" he tells me. "Don't mess with them! They'll get you!" Then he looks at me with wide eyes and tries not to start giggling.
Gnomes -- or, technically, earth-spirits -- are big at Waldorf schools, especially in early grades. My son knitted a super-cute one when he was in preschool. Now that he's in third grade at Urban Prairie Waldorf School, they've faded into the background behind arithmetic and Chinese and building models of wikiups and so forth. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if they came up occasionally. As Emily Chertoff noted last November, Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the Waldorf movement, was a moon-eyed German hippie whose philosophy was a mish-mash of Christianity, paganism, theosophy, various child development theories, and a passionate dislike of media (a friend of mine summed Waldorf up as "Gnomes good! Television bad!").
Urban Prairie does frequent outreach to teach parents more about Steiner's thought, and I just as frequently refuse to pay any attention, because ... well, gnomes. I don't want to hear about them, and, like my son, the Waldorf folks don't want to hear what I have to say about them. For that matter, I don't think they really want to hear what my son's pop-culture-critic dad has to say about television either -- though thankfully Urban Prairie's anti-media stance is quite low-key and non-intrusive.