Years ago when our family was walking along the coast of Maine, my son Ben picked up a rock, analyzed its shape and quickly called it “Tennessee!” Indeed, the rock was a near perfect likeness. He immediately set himself to the task of searching for the shape of each of the fifty states. By afternoon, his North American rock map was complete. It must be a Montessori child who has a sensorial relationship to geography; those puzzle maps at work! Something deep occurs when one has touched the living world like Montessori children do.
In this day where cyberspace and jet lag are common and every day, we can seemingly be someplace we’re not, or physically get someplace hours before our spirits have had time to catch up. True orientation is a mightier challenge than ever before. Long gone are the days when a compass was enough. In this time of velocity and great mobility, we seek navigational skills for body, mind and soul.
A number of years ago, I traveled to meet my daughter at the southernmost point in Greece. Expecting the sunshine and heat, we were surprised by hurricane-force winds and pelting rain. At dinner, we dreamed of relief from the storm with a two-hour flight to Egypt.
When morning arrived, our little hotel had been soaked by the storm and deluged with deep puddles of mud. Our proprietor looked up from his broom with a grin, “This is the Sahara!” he said. “Those large winds mixed up with rain and whipped all this desert right across the sea.” Incredible; it was only the day before that the two of us were dreaming of a spontaneous flight across the Aegean, and instead, in the flash of a storm, a portion of Africa had settled exactly where we were.
Whether it is as simple as running a finger around a stone and declaring the name of a state, or as dimensional as travel and dreams, each and every day we are called to consider our relationship to where we are and where we truly want to go. The most reliable navigational tool depends first, on looking carefully at what lies beneath our feet. It’s not necessarily Egypt, nor is it Tennessee. Like Dorothy learned on her way back from Oz, it’s right here within us, attached to what we value most.
At this time of Parent-Teacher conferences and enrollment contracts at Jarrow, we give thanks for your partnership as we navigate the fullness and the intricacies of our mission and Dr. Montessori’s great call to Education for Life.
Mary Zeman, Interim Head of School
on behalf of Mercedes Dugan, Associate Interim Head of School and our faculty and staff