I had the privilege of hearing Julie Lythcott-Haims speak last year (above TED Talk), and appreciated reading her book, How To Raise An Adult. Her messages resonate with much of our work as Montessorians: we need to teach our children life skills to be successful, and that starts when they are young! Her talk had many similar messages to the presentation Caroline and I had given recently, The Road to Success is Paved with Failures.
I also really enjoyed this article I came across in the Chicago Tribune, Teaching Children Self-Sufficiency Early is Key, in which the article gives praise to Montessori schools! I particularly liked this quote, “We want our kids to be happy, and we want to spare them discomfort,” St. Jacques said. “But if we rescue them too early and too often from the safe, everyday struggles, we’re denying them opportunities for growth.”
While the Mama and Papa Bears in us want to protect our children from anything “unpleasant,” it is so important to remember that a little discomfort, a little struggle, is a really good thing for our children! It’s what builds resiliency and perseverance! If we are too often doing for our children, directing them, “social engineering,” and scheduling them, then we are not giving our children enough opportunities to practice, grow, and learn on their own. As with anything that takes practice, mistakes will be made, it’s how we learn! We would be doing them a disservice if we always tried to shield them from making mistakes or even getting a little bumped or bruised once in a while. Instead, we must see these moments as great opportunities to get back up again and keep trying, keep practicing and keep learning how to navigate challenging situations—whether that’s riding a bike, figuring out how to navigate friendships, or learning how to read! These are the little struggles of childhood that are necessary to practice and learn from now, so that as they grow and have bigger challenges to face, they can cope, problem solve, and move forward on their own!
As a parent of three young children, I know it’s not always easy to put these ideas into practice, so if you ever wanted to brainstorm together, I am happy to be of support to you!
Best, Reena (firstname.lastname@example.org)