Dear Jarrow Parents,
The time is always right to reflect upon Dr. Montessori’s work on intuitive genius. Beyond what’s obvious (the words we use, the homes we create, the experiences we provide), our children’s unwitting ability to pick up on the spirit and intention of our actions is remarkable. Truth is, it’s the spirit and intention that have the loudest voice and make the most significant and lasting impressions on their lives.
At this time of year, it’s easy for actions and intention to become confused. As parents and friends, we can get swept up in insecurities when we wish to extend merriment and gifts to those we love. We often wonder if what we give or do will be “enough”. The photo at the top of this page accompanied a true story that recently came across our desk. Parents in a small village in England so desired to please and surprise their children, they bought and wrapped a total of three hundred gifts.
While this may be an exaggerated example, and while most of us can’t imagine such excess, perhaps it can be of use as we step into the holidays and reflect on our highest intentions. While this is a time of giving, it can also be a time of developing simple practices of gratitude, or sabotaging them.
By example, here is a story from Rabbi Kula: “I was witness to the birth of the syndrome of immediate happiness at any cost at, of all places, a five-year-old boy’s birthday party. His extended family had gathered to celebrate, bearing an astounding number of gifts. His face was full of light and joy, as he opened the first one: an action figure he’d been wanting forever (as he put it). He carried it around for every guest to see and then began to play with it. After a couple of minutes, a relative handed him her gift, which, much to everyone’s surprise, he put aside. With some urging, he opened it, and then the next and the next and the next, ripping open the paper, putting each present down, sometimes throwing it and reaching for another. At the end of what was nothing short of a gift orgy, he cried for more and then completely melted down and was given a time out. I heard one guest remark to another about how spoiled and ungrateful he was. What had really happened, of course, was that this joyful child wasn’t allowed to savor his beloved toy, to enjoy it fully and express his gratitude. He was learning to be a good little consumer, to always want more.”
While there is so much to do in the coming days and weeks, and while it might seem impossible to add one more thing to our already demanding lists, it might be a good time to pause and heed Dr. Montessori’s invitation to embrace the power of intuitive genius, so fully alive in the souls of our children. Our actions speak loudly, but only second to the spirit behind them.
May the coming weeks be a time of renewal, reflection, and a satisfying connection to our highest intentions and hopes,
Mary Zeman, Interim Head of School; Mercedes Dugan, Associate Interim Head of School
On behalf of our faculty and staff