Several years ago I was sitting in my office (the floor of my closet, my most quiet place) reading the book, How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way, when I felt something unmistakable – the feeling I get when the words seem to jump off the page. I thought, Wow! That is so powerful. I have no idea what it means, but it’s true. (As usual, my spirit grabbed it much faster than my mind).
The quote I had read was “While not every teacher is a parent, every parent is a teacher”. It was as if a simple sentence had just exploded in my heart, and I knew it had powerful implications extending far beyond the context.
For the next moment I pondered on the phrase teacher, trying to imagine myself as a “teacher” in the midst of my home. A few hours later, the answer walked right into my kitchen. My daughter, who was probably five at the time, strolled into the kitchen and immediately I noticed her shoes lying on the floor. The pair she removed from her feet earlier in the day and happened to leave on the floor, once again, for anyone to trip over. I simply instructed her, “If you are not wearing your shoes, then please put them up where they belong.” She responded, “Look! Your shoes are on the living room floor and you’re not wearing them.”
Her statement suddenly connected the dots for me. Teaching and instruction have always been important elements of parenting, but in this moment I realized my daughter was telling me that she could better learn if I could better model (teach).
My daughter had instinctively made two assumptions: First, that if I expected to be her first and most important educator, she expected – even craved for me to set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road that I take. Second, that modeling my way of life was the vehicle in which I would feed her spirit and help herself see her self-worth in our home. In exchange, she showed me my worth – harmony in family life.
I use this example to suffice it to say, unlike in the classroom the home is subject to variation and changes, making it feel sometimes the least harmonious. After all, home is the place where children feel comfortable trying out misbehavior. But take heart, having a harmonious home can be the goal of every family. A goal not easily achievable due to theses different variations, yet a goal very achievable; it takes a great deal of commitment and consistency, and results may not be seen every day, nor seen for years. Indeed, a goal worth pursuing!