Sunday, January 16, 2011


     For the last week or so, I have been attempting to write a post about the many different aspects of respect in a Montessori school and home. However, I have also been battling a nasty flu and have just conceded to the bug.   Besides, others have written far more eloquently about the subject.  I'd like to share a couple of those pieces with you. 

     The following two paragraphs are from After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path by Jack Kornfield.  Mr. Kornfield spent many years as a buddhist monk and is also a clinical psychologist - but don't let that scare you.  His writing about family and children is very eloquent and extremely compatible with Dr. Montessori's philosopy.

     "Our children love respect. Even little ones want respect for their needs and respect for their fears. Our lovers, our parents, our coworkers, the animals and trees around us blossom with our respect. Offering respect is the foundation of parenting as a spiritual practice. Without awareness and respect we simple repeat what was done to us, acting in ways conditioned by our own upbringing. Without respect we will continue whatever cycles of wounding, shame, unworthiness, stress, or abandonment existed in our own past.

     Without a spiritual perspective, our heart's natural caring in parenting can be overpowered by the speed and materialism of modern life, by the pervasive values of the media, by the accepted norms of stress and violence. Without a respectful attention, we allow the media and modern pressures to hurry our children to grow, forgetting to protect their dependency and vulnerability. We forget to trust that children naturally become independent in their own sweet time. Without attention to our hearts we become like the generation of parent who followed popular experts in refusing to feed or pick up crying children, even though every wise instinct and cellular impulse in their body called for them to hold and comfort their child in pain. With respect we can offer our children protection and wholehearted nurturance, while at the same time setting appropriate limits on behaviour. Our spiritual teaching will be conveyed not just in our words but in the integrity of our daily life, how we demonstrate the deepest values of our heart (Kornfield, 2000, p.226)".

     The second piece on respect is a link to a wonderful post by Cathy over at A Montessori Home.    Cathy is a Montessori trained teacher who shares how she has created a Montessori home for her child.  (Actually, do yourself a favour, make a big pot of tea and read ALL of Cathy's posts - from beginning to end.  You'll be very glad you did.)

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