I was first introduced to Montessori four years ago. The beginning of our relationship came about much like it probably did for you — a lot unknown but a lot of intrigue anyway. I still feel that way today. But here is something that has stuck with me as I’ve educated myself of Maria Montessori’s methods: So much of bringing Montessori into my child’s life starts with changing me.
Maria Montessori once said that, in the classroom, “a teacher must be created anew.” It is not enough to guide or observe the child; we must offer them as well our encouragement, our respect and our love, and that “the more freely we give, the more invigorated we become ourselves” (The Montessori Method, 1912).
To me, this means we as the parent must be open to change. We must be willing to reconsider the relationship we have with our children in order to better understand them and more strongly believe in their competence, and we must be willing to expand our own understanding of respect, love and recognition of the child.
We must give our children a better chance.
The responsibility of parenting is massive and infinite, and there is tedium in this. Sometimes we can be overwhelmed with simply feeding them, bathing them and getting them where they need to go that we cannot muster the thought of encouraging and fostering their daily curiosities, too, right? No time! But this is where their mastery grows, and this is where we grow. This is where the invigoration comes, and don’t we need it.
When I say YES to my son’s interests, and I watch him revel in it, I feel invigorated. When I take time to “let him do it” instead of me taking care of it myself, his pure satisfaction of completion invigorates me. When I realize my son is capable and fearless and way more unbridled than my own crippling doubt, we both become better people than we were before. We both grow.
But we have to be willing to start there. If we want to feel invigorated — if we want our children to flourish, we must give them the chance to do so. We must concede our own intentions or expectations and make way instead for how they see the world, for what they desire and for what makes them happy. I’m still learning, but Montessori has given me permission to not only love my son as my child but also respect him as a fellow human being who is not only capable of affecting change in this world, but is fiercely ready to start today.
About the Author
Angela Tewalt is a writer and mother to two boys. She shares parenting stories, learning opportunities and Montessori inspiration in Guidepost Parent.
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