Musings on Montessori and life from a teacher/guide/directress
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Kind and Firm
We had our first book club meeting Thursday evening. The discussion involved about 20 parents and teachers discussing the first chapter of Jane Nelsen's Positive Parenting. It seemed that many issues with our children revolve around control, or lack thereof. How do we inspire our children to be the best they can be and still be sane through our daily routines? Jane Nelsen says we need to use kindness and respect at the same time. She writes "Kindness is important in order to show respect to the child. Firmness is important in order to show respect for ourselves and for the needs of the situation. Authoritarian methods usually lack kindness. Permissive methods lack firmness." While punishment doled out in an authoritarian method usually yields short-term results for us, it does not result in the long-term outcomes we are hoping to develop in our children, like self-discipline, respect for self and others, and openmindedness, to name a few. We discussed the importance of a united front with our significant other so that children experience consistency. We saw the value of involving the child in the decision-making process of the family so that they have a vested interest in the outcomes. We also acknowledged the importance of taking time before reacting so that our "reptilian" brains (fight or flight reactions) can calm down and we can access a more rational response. We will be reading and discussing Chapters 2 and 3 for our next meeting, which will be on the first Thursday of November.
I am a Montessori teacher who just completed my 10th year. I feel lucky to have found a calling that incorporates so many of my interests: music, theater, art, literature, and sports. I adore singing, tennis, and gardening. I have three fabulous children ranging in age from 14-21 (all Montessori-educated). Montessori opened up the world for me. I found out I love practical life and making beautiful things, which I have dubbed "Jane Austen Time."