If you’ve ever flown on a commercial airliner, you probably remember how, just before takeoff, the flight attendant stood in the aisle and reviewed the flight safety instructions, among many things, the demonstration of how to use an oxygen mask was presented. You probably heard something like, “If there is a loss of cabin pressure, an oxygen mask will fall from the overhead compartment, and a person should put his or her own oxygen mask on first before assisting small children or another passenger.”
So why is this? Shouldn’t we selflessly put others before ourselves, especially our own children? Flight Safety International enforces, “People need oxygen to live, and the loss of oxygen can be disorienting. Passengers putting on another mask before their own may become confused. A brief moment without oxygen is disorienting, but prolonged time will be fatal. It is vital for those providing assistance to keep a clear head.”
Dr. Montessori stressed one of the most important duties of the teacher is to spiritually prepare oneself to work with children. “Plainly, the environment must be a living one, directed by a higher intelligence, arranged by an adult who is prepared for his mission.” It is a lot to ask of the adult to provide everything a child needs, especially needs that constantly changes.The Montessori Tides teacher recognizes an important attitude to nurture is to see the child with a fresh clear look each new day, forgetting yesterday and seeing only the potential for greatness.We the parents, teachers, grandparents, friends, or advocates of young children should cultivate this same fresh look and embrace our place because, “we teach who we are”. By getting mentally prepared at the beginning of each new day, putting on our own oxygen mask, allows us to better see our potential for greatness and thereby assist our children in reaching their full potential.
Our culture has done a remarkable job at representing a loving caregiver as one who puts their personal needs last, but in the same way delaying first the placement of our own oxygen mask, not allotting time for personal and professional development, can be detrimental to ourselves and ultimately to those lives around us. Your own peace and fulfillment is what overflows into the child’s spirit. There are many ways you can allot time to get prepared, praying, mediating, yoga, or taking a walk are just a few ways. What is important is that we take the time to take care of our self, and prepare for the mission to embrace our place!