In my time as a Montessori practitioner, I have always felt that more important than any particular piece of curriculum, any key lesson, or being able to interweave any piece of jargon into conversation is my role in the preparation of the adult. Dr. Montessori spoke of the guide as a scientist, a tactician, and a saint. These three paths may be understood if attempted in isolation, but they cannot be lived unless they are integrated. The preparation of the adult is the work I must do continually to not only be what I need for my students but also be a more complete human being.
It’s easy to read and theorize about allowing the natural development of a child to unfold before us, but can we actually show that restraint and patience are necessary when the moment is before us? Can we defend childhood and adolescence against the myriad pressures and outside influences we all feel? That, to me, is the most radical aspect of Montessori education, but it must be found in a radical transformation of ourselves and our conditioning.
Stop. Breathe. No, I mean it. Really breathe. Have you thought about the last time you will do something? I don’t mean on your deathbed, although that may be the case. In all of our lives, we are constantly doing things for the last time and never realize it. Would you treat the present moment differently if you knew? But you do know. You’ve always known. In fact, it hasn’t even been you this entire time. Yet it’s so easy to forget. So easy to give in to what feels essential but turns out to be superficial. Prepare yourself as if each moment were all there really is, and so shall it be.