The type of awareness I need to have to work with children in the Montessori environment and beyond has been by far the most intimate, ego-shattering, revolutionary thing I have experienced in this life. They do not miss a single opportunity to humble me, or call me out on my bs, with nothing more than a single glance, and out of nothing more than pure love and innocence. A look into their eyes is but a mirror, reminding me that every single thing I do and say to them, every day, shapes who they will become; what kinds of traumas they will have; what they will believe about themselves, other people and the world … How they will contribute to the planet and to humanity.
Nothing else I do on a daily basis is as important as this. My yoga practice, and the ability to share and facilitate classes for others, is a beautiful gift for which I am grateful. But at the end of the day, this is my true calling. What Montessori has given me, has taught me about giving, fills my heart and my life with so much love. Who these children, across four different countries now, have groomed me to be, has been the biggest blessing.
There is no pretending with them. You either are or you aren’t. And they will see it all in you long before you see it in yourself. Any time my ego wants me to get on my high horse as the “adult”, I remind my self that I am not above these children. And they are not below me. I am not here to tell them anything; to pass down some superiority complex bestowed upon me through age alone. I am here to share with them as they are with me. They have fully developed personalities by the age of 6, with their own ideas and processes that they only expand upon as they are presented with new information. (And none of it that really matters if we’re talking about the soul, which they have already from birth.)
This is the part of the conversation that we “adults” tend to neglect, all across the world, as we go back and forth with our policies and social justice diatribes about humanity and the state of the Earth. We forget that these shitty adults, with these shitty ideals, were once little children with bright-eyed wonder who just needed better adults around them to help them nurture their innate goodness. They needed teachers and parents and aunts and uncles who understood their development and wanted the best for them; not from a place of superiority and conditioning, but from a place of humility, honour and wisdom. They needed people who moved through heart and soul and lived for more than just a paycheque. And so on for the adults before them and forevermore thereafter.
Show me any well-adjusted, good-hearted adult and they will show you a great teacher who HELPED them FOSTER their OWN development through love and innerstanding.
Children are not empty vessels whom we must fill with knowledge—an inane being who owes everything he can do to us. And when we, as a collective, finally open ourselves up to the idea that we can learn as much from them as they from us, that the exchange is always mutual, then and only then, will we begin to see a change in human relations.
Establishing lasting peace is not, and has never been, the work of politics. It is the work of education.