Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston, Texas. Child care Montessori provider in Champions, The Woodlands, Spring Texas Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston
Editorial Archives
There’s a beautiful little poem called Children Learn What They Live. In it are lines like “If a child lives with criticism, he learns to criticize”. At the school, we call these vignettes indirect lessons. They’re things like how to walk, how to enunciate clearly, how to carry a tray. Our children observe every detail of their worlds, and they absorb them for how they should walk, talk, and act. As we read distressing stories about vandalism and violence, we wonder how that could happen. But then we watch as a father sets his child on a shelf unit to tie her shoe. Can we wonder that this little girl learns it’s not important to respect furniture? We hear a mother talking with another mother about how stupid her supervisor is. Can we wonder that her son doesn’t respect his teacher? When we see a child’s piece of artwork carelessly tossed into the trash*, can we wonder that the child cares nothing for the white wall he’s painted on?

It’s hard to know what is the right thing to do. Living with our little ones every day at the school, we feel their turmoil. We’re so conscious of their fear of trying new things and of their anxious waiting for mom or dad to arrive at the end of the day. And then we watch harried parents arrive and barely speak to the little face so eagerly turned toward them. Our children can value others only when they’ve been valued. It’s so easy for us to protest that, of course, we value our children. But do we act like it? Compare just the time you use digital media to the time you read to your child, take a walk, or listen to his ideas. It’s easy to get into the habit of treating a child like a thing as we dress, feed, and put her to sleep.

William Bennett in his Book of Virtues suggests that we must focus on excellent things if we want excellent children. It’s an awesome responsibility every time you’re within eyeshot of your child. We have to be the role models for what we want our world to be. More of that poem reads, “If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice. If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.” We build our lives everyday. Parents seem to be willing to accept the charge to be excellent. Maybe that’s why family is the building block of our society.

*Hint: Use the top of your refrigerator for all that “work”. Your child can clearly see that it’s there and if she asks about a picture, you can quickly retrieve it. After the stack gets so high it threatens to topple over, pull the bottom several inches out to put in the trash (confidentially, of course). It’s so old your child doesn’t re-member it anymore. This is also a good stack to pull out of when sending things to grandparents. They’ll love these samples of work.