As children begin to learn about Montessori, it should be exciting for us to realize that we as the adult begin to change, too.
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 us, this means we as a 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 we say YES to our children’s interests, and watch them revel, we feel invigorated. When we take time to “let them do it” instead of us taking care of it as the adult, the child’s pure satisfaction of completion is invigorating. When we realize our children are capable and fearless and way more unbridled than our own crippling doubt, we all become better people than we were before. We all 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. Montessori gently reminds us to respect our children as fellow human beings who are not only capable of affecting change in this world, but are fiercely ready to start today.