Dear Mums and Dads of Today;
Dear Mums and Dads of Children of Today!
As a Montessori Educator of children in the age-group of 2 to 6 for a little over 25 years now, it’s with a fair degree of comfort that I can talk about childhood and the enchanting time that these years are. At the same time I’m equally aware of the fear that lurks in the minds of young parents today; among those who take the decision to have a child, that is.
When parenthood comes upon you, planned or unplanned, couples today are thinking more about finances, career, maids, home care, schools, holidays, keeping-up, tennis classes or tuitions for the child; and on and on it goes.
Let’s for a moment live in the present; live the life of the child; this miracle of Creation that’s been given to us to cherish, and to learn from.
What do we want the child to grow up and become? What is the learning we wish to provide the child, to enable this growth?
And how does one ‘educate’ a child who is ‘learning’ all the time anyway! What does one teach a child and when does one begin?
Conscious Parenting applies universal guidelines of respect, empathy and open communication, combined with unconditional love, to gently move through every stage of your child’s life. Every day is a new day and one leaves mistakes in the past.
Often we confuse teaching with being able to impart information in a manner that the child knows what we want him or her to do. So in essence, good teaching all comes down to good technique. However this is an oversimplification.
Good teaching comes from the integrity of the teacher. It comes more from being connected on one hand, to what it is that we are trying to influence or instruct and on the other hand, being connected to the child; and then, from being able to connect the two, through oneself.
This involves the teacher having to be there completely.
In schools today and for many decades now, the function of education has been single and uni-dimensional- addressing only the intellect and feeding only this part of ourselves.
This has succeeded in distancing us from what life is really about. The only purpose in this kind of education seems to be to get us to think in a competitive manner, to go out there and get things done, regardless of the means. If one looks around at the world that we are living in, its quite clear that education has failed us.
It has not taught us to approach the world in a manner that will keep it safe; that will protect all the lives that are nourished by living here. Nor does it allow each one to reach the peak of their capacity by a process of collaboration.
Instead, education in modern times has succeeded in separating the head from the heart, as if the two don’t belong to the same person. The result – hearts that don’t think and minds that don’t feel. Decisions taken from this space are distant and remote and create dissonance.
How Conscious Parenting can educate
It is important for anyone teaching, to remove all fear and bring about harmony. All learning is eventually the study of Relationships – between the Subject and the Student, between Intellect and Emotion and in the balance of Receiving and Giving.
The teaching of letters, numbers and shapes is just incidental.
What is of lasting value is the
Understanding of relationships
Ability to feel compassion
Inner discipline to challenge oneself
Pursuit of contentment
In your child’s life, you are a teacher of all things important. So it’s important for you too to learn what makes a ‘good teacher’.
Some ways in which you could help you child are
- When your children are Infants, attend to their needs at once and with a gentleness.
- As they move into the Toddler stage, the focus should be on connecting with them rather than correcting them. Just live the wonder that they feel and show them through your actions, that you are there for them.
- As they begin to talk and understand language, our way of reaching them should be through caring communication. Let them chatter away and guide them gently, listening all the time.
- In the years before Adolescence, continue to build trust. But you will need to be more patient now. Let them know that you are a support in their lives. Share their dreams and confusions.
- As your child moves into the Teenage and late teen years you, will find yourself gradually moving away from the centre of their lives to the sidelines. Learn to accept this with grace. If the earlier years have laid the foundation for strong and supportive relationship, then they will look to you when they are really stuck, even though their main influences now are their peers.
- Every stage requires a lot of patience, consistency and creativity. Remember that there are no short-cuts through the process but the result will surely be rewarding.
Parents of young children need to be ready to take up this challenge. It’s a huge one indeed and schools may not necessarily be able to support you in this.
It is for us to do – parents, social structures, stories, arts, books and people, cultural heritage and the wise leaders of today. Here lie our role models and this is what will give your child an education that really works.
“ It is not our job to toughen our children to face a difficult and often cruel world. It is our job to raise children who will make the world less cruel.” said, L.R.Knost, international best-selling, award-winning author and speaker.
I end with these words spoken by Lao Tzu, a Taoist Monk.
“The inner is foundation of the outer,
The still is master of the restless.
The sage travels all day,
Yet never leaves his inner treasure.”
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