"If processions of children appeared among us we would have to welcome them reverently and bow down before them in admiration. The child would appear before us as a teacher of peace."
~Dr. Maria Montessori
A dear friend and Montessori educator recently shared this quote from Dr. Maria Montessori in response to the amazing momentum of action and protest to change our counties gun laws.
I share it with you now because it speaks to the power for impact and change that resides in the hearts of children. It is our work with the elementary aged children to inspire them so that they might find this spark within themselves. It is our work to help them cultivate this spark and to encourage them to recognize that they have a powerful and important role to play in the world they have been born into.
I have also recently been contemplating how it is that we come to find balance between our personal desires and our obligations, and how it is that we can best help children to develop this practice. I have come to the understanding that discovering this balance is a lifelong journey that begins with the simple practices within our classrooms that foster this practice of internal deliberation. This practice begins with helping children navigate between, "I want to...be with my friends, use this new material, work on a new project.... but I need to... be kind with my words and body, practice skills to be prepared, make a plan." As adults, I think we often take this process of logical reasoning for granted, yet in truth, it takes practice to come to the skill of balancing between need and desire. This work also extends beyond the self and into the community, " I want to sing this song, but my table mate is distracted by it. I want to............ Insert ridiculous behavior, but it is not what my community NEEDS". This is where children begin to understand that they have an obligation to support the well being of the communities that they belong to, and fullfilling those obligations strengthens their sense of belonging. Again, this takes time and practice. But as we continue our work, and I reflect on the powerful movements happening across our country on the behalf of all children's needs, I have faith in our humanity and our children. Peace.