Children Who are Not Yet Peaceful - by Donna Bryant Goertz

my notes:

When we panic and rush in with tutoring, we are wrestling the key from the hand of the child and opening the door for them. We are encouraging the child to become helpless and teaching them that they must be taught by others.

A six year old is pulled in two directions. While longing for more independence, they are understandably fearful of losing the feeling of safety that adult care gives them.

Its a slow and constant effort for us as adults to relearn how to think and act.

As a teacher, my job is to provide an environment in which the child can establish healthy relationships, develop his skills, collaborate on deeply satisfying work and become his own master.

Sooner or later, passion will lead to concentration.

Offering children alternative responses for the future is helpful. Forcing them to say those lines in the present or in the future would be harmful.

Identifying and defining feelings, bringing them safely to the conscious level, finding comfort with them, and owning them openly is a very personal process.

I have learned that it is important not to look too often or know too much.

Since the children are accustomed to my refusal to label or to accept labels for them, they almost intuitively join me in expansive acceptance, creating new ways of accommodating individuality.

At times I speak in the third person of a child who has not become assimilated into the community, or who has chosen a role that doesn’t benefit him or the class. Direct address can be harsher than the third person and too strong for a struggling child to bear in the beginning. Third person discussion allows a child to stand aside and listen to both the anger and the love coming his way. It allows him to look at himself through the eyes of others without bearing the brunt of direct confrontation. 

Transparent Child Abuse- When an unhealthy environment and abusive treatment of children are so typical in a community that they become the norm. Adults lose the ability to recognize the child’s basic needs to the point that they can no longer adequately for them.

If parents wish to preserve childhood for their own children, they must conceive of parenting as an act of rebellion against culture. This is especially true in America.

Tutoring and medication are not a quick fix for an undisciplined, unskilled and disorganized parent.

Ten Tips for Supporting your Child at Home:
  1. Prepare every room in your home so your child can participate fully in family life.
  2. Differentiate carefully between age-appropriate and age-inappropriate if family life.
  3. Include the child in plans if you don’t want a bored child on your hands.
  4. Organize family life to fit the needs of your child’s age and personality.
  5. Welcome all feelings and help your child to express strong emotion with clarity and respect.
  6. Explain carefully what’s going on in the family, while staying on age-appropriate level in keeping with your child’s understanding and interest.
  7. Maintain cycles of activity in balance with basic needs for nutrition, sleep, exercise, quiet concentration, solitude and companionship that fit your child’s temperament.
  8. Participate three times a day with your child straightening his room and putting away toys/materials.
  9. Treat your child’s behavior as ‘in process’ and developmental, never simply as good or bad.
  10. Balance firmness and consistency with a generous measure of hopefulness, good cheer and joy. Laugh a lot.
  11. BONUS: Support your child with materials that are creative and open-ended, that build skills that translate indirectly to the classroom and connect to: art, culture, language, science, geography and history. 

Everything a child thinks, says, and does makes perfect sense in the context of his own interpretation of his experience. For an adult to judge a child’s behavior harshly is to carve a chasm between the child and the adult. If the child attempts to leap the chasm and align himself with the adults, accepting their harsh judgements, he betrays the integrity of his interpretation of his own experience, placing the chasm in his own being.

Thanks to the American penchant for letting viewer interest determine programing, the story lines of cartoons, tv, comics and movies tend to gravitate to the lowest common denominator of mythic simplicity.

Most adults don’t understand that children love to learn on their own, but think instead that they have to be forced to learn through grades, rewards and punishments, the way they were.

When children’s time is filled with imposed duties and demanded obedience, they learn to turn off their own drive to excellence.

Because Montessori children are working for solid character development, high self-esteem, a powerful integrity, a strong will, deep interest, self-discipline, and steady determination, they are often capable of doing better work than children who have specific preparation in a curriculum area but lack the internal organization to make good use of it.

The deep satisfaction of a life consisting mostly of losing oneself wholeheartedly in the work of one’s choice knows no parallel.

The virtues we want to develop in our children - deeply held and authentically expressed generosity, courage, patience, honesty, empathy- come after years of exercising their will and making choices.

If empathy encourages altruism and competition depresses empathy, then we should find an inverse relationship between competition and altruism.

The love we give our child must not be a mere feeling that overcomes us, dissolves us, and sweeps us away. Our love for the child must be an active choice, full of decision.