It never ceases to amaze me how children become more and more like those they find around them. Young children, especially between 0-3, will emulate their parents physical demeanor, which involves their way of walking, moving and talking, the handling of objects, their emotions, manners, and taste.
It’s because of this absorbent nature of the child’s mind society encourages parents to provide a language-rich environment, including conversation, vocabulary, reading, and story telling. But seldom do I hear the mention of effective communication skills. That is, until I attended The Assistant Training: “The Montessori Framework”, facilitated by Kathy Graham, founder and director of the Montessori Tides School.
I listened with keen interest that evening as our group was instructed to place our hands over our heart, close our eyes, and take a deep breath. “If we are to truly “help life,” said Graham, “we must think and then speak from the heart.” She pointed from her heart then up to her mind in order to demonstrate superiority of the heart over the mind. “For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
What really interests me, to recall this event in mind, is that I slowly but surely began to understand that the same opportunity the Montessori Tides educators take to truly “help life”, we as parents share in this opportunity. Indeed, parents are first to experience it and the weight of a parent’s impact is far greater. “While not every teacher is a parent, every parent is a teacher”. When we look at ourselves, or at our children, we do feel inadequate, unprepared, and unequal to the task. But when we make a habit to look into the treasure planted deep with in our heart we find ourselves able to draw on the wisdom that already inhabits our hearts.
Montessori Tides aims to empower our parents to know and understand how to be a guide for life. It can be generally agreed that effective communication and observation is where this begins in the Montessori School and in the home. What a pleasure it can be to teach by teaching, not by correcting. Avoiding correcting when the lesson can be taught another way can be rather challenging at first. (Of course if a child runs out into the road, we correct!). Choose to make a habit to respond from this treasure demonstrated by Kathy Graham, which is found inside the heart opposed to reacting. Every word spoken brings a chance for the obvious to be found; we were born to embrace, not excepted. An adult’s response releases an opportunity to experience an unveiled look into whom their child is unfolding to be. Discovering this place of treasure in your child is fulfilling and ever-changing. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”.
Nevertheless, children are absorbing the “how” of effective communication – or lack thereof. How many arguments, tears, and disappointments have resulted from verbal misunderstandings in your home? Our words can create a positive atmosphere establishing healthy attitudes and stress free child complying results.
Look for our next blog, “Communication With Young Children”. This blog will include helpful suggestions and tips the Montessori Tides teachers use that you can try at home.