Thursday, April 9, 2009

When I was a little kid....

I'm reminded so frequently right now of the words from a song from my teaching days-- "when I was a little kid, not so long ago, I had to learn a lot of stuff I didn't even know...but remember the seed in the little paper cup, first the root grows down and then the plant grows up." Such a simple way to put it, but something I believe in so firmly-- so much of the work of childhood-- of self-hood, really, begins deep down, on the inside, in places we can't see with our eyes. The child is built from the inside out. In these these tiny mirrors, who have not yet learned to hide their thoughts and feelings, what you see on the outside is a reflection, verbatim, of what is on the inside.
I'm thinking of this a lot because we have now entered what many refer to as the "terrible two's." But as a Montessorian, I just can't believe in this. All my trainning and years of experience have taught me that when you see negative behaviors, it is the environment, and very often the adult, who needs correction, not the child, who is just existing in the only way they are able. I see in my child daily the conflict between powerlessness and a desire to achieve. It doesn't always come out in pretty ways, this need for independence. And I am not always my best self when responding. But I belive--to my core-- that children will live out whatever is expected of them. If we set the bar high, they will reach it-- with delight and joy. If it is low-- well, how would you respond to someone who believed you weak and incapable? Children are no different.
As I go through all the daily struggles of a mother of very young children, it is so easy to get caught up in the hard moments-- the dog has made another mess, the naked child is screaming and we are (again) late, the baby is hungry, the laundry is threatning to bury us all. But it is in these moments that it is most important that I stop, breathe, reboot. If I remember to give Grady the control he can handle ("are you sitting on your bottom?" rather than "sit down! Stop! You are behaving horribly at the table!") our day will be smoother, and he will be one step closer to internalizing--"normalizing" was Montessori's word for it--the world, and his place in it. Peace-- our goal-- inside and out. Peace to you--on this day and all others.

3 comments:

John said...

You are such a beautiful writer and everything you said is so true. Still... be easy with yourself, mama. I try to remind myself to be as gentle with myself as I try to be with my kids. Since the second came along, I am so much less than the ideal of the mama I would like to be. It just is what it is. There is only one of me and often they both have very immediate needs. So... thank you for your blessing of peace, and I am wishing you the same.

brown robin said...

Oops... so the mysterious man, John, is only sweet little old forgetful me. I didn't switch over from my husband's account before posting.

Lisa said...

What a wonderful writer you are. "The child built from the inside out," so lovely.