Maria Montessori speaks reverently in regard to the role an adult plays in the child’s life. Even though we strive to foster independence in the child, this does not mean we as the parent or teacher take a back seat in the journey. Rather, “we should exhaust our souls teaching our children. Our love is drawn from the soul of man, and the more freely we give, the more invigorated we become ourselves.”
To learn about Montessori is to appreciate the child for all he is able, but the adult can change so much here along the way. Is Montessori for the child or the adult? Perhaps it must be both. How are you doing as a parent? As in, how are you respecting your own life, your own growth, your own independence?
Adults are always learning, too. In which ways would you like to evolve?
When we raise children, we can become consumed by their needs. But for as much as the child looks up to the adult and wants to be just like them, shouldn’t we ensure they see us rejoicing in our own independence, too? What does human agency look like for you?
There was a time in my first couple years of motherhood where I might have conceded my own life. I had beautiful goals and plans and hopes for a future, but I prioritized my children in that. I wanted to not only be their mother, I wanted a front row seat to their life, and I would apply guilt if I happened upon the second or third row on any given day. But to feel remorseful because we work or have friends we care about or hobbies we like to enjoy means that we are not practicing the independence we champion for our children.
It is important that we give children the space to watch us interact with our environment — this is how they learn from us, much like our observations of children help us to learn about who they are, too. But it is equally important that they see us believing in who we are as the adult they are striving to be. My son knows I love to write, and so it’s important to me that he sees what that looks like. He knows his father enjoys reading, because he sees the books piling up near his bed stand and will even ask, “What are you reading about now, Daddy?”
When we choose to spend some of our time doing things that fulfill us, the child not only will see and discover how independence makes a human feel, he is given the space to ask himself, too, “What do I like? How do I want to spend my time?”
And this is how we all grow, together.
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