Archive | February, 2010

Good Parent Karma

26 Feb

Today I got an e-mail from my dad, and although it contained a few brief lines written from a cyber cafe in Parping saying “It seems like the wedding plans are in order, I’m very happy for both of you”, it brought me so much emotion.  You see, my dad has been in Nepal since November of last year, and I haven’t communicated with him since.  He’s on a Buddhist retreat, fulfilling a lifelong dream he put off for decades while he slaved away in an industry he hated.  His only goal was to provide his family with the best in life, and he constantly told us that the only inheritance he could give us was a good education.

I am blessed with two parents who understood the concept of parenting at its core, even though they both came from highly dysfunctional families.  They both knew that parenting doesn’t mean being your child’s buddy or rescuer.  It doesn’t mean doing things for them or sheltering them from the big bad world.  It doesn’t mean keeping them dependent so they will always need you and always stay by you.  It doesn’t mean lying to them, ignoring questions, or dumbing down answers.  It doesn’t mean doing their homework or fighting their battles.  It doesn’t mean giving them things in lieu of giving them love and time.

For them, parenting means arming children with tools to succeed in life.  From the time we were born, they pushed us towards independence, giving us a delicate balance of freedom and limits, combined with consistency, discipline, role modeling, and the kind of unconditional love only parents have.  This parenting potion gave us the security and stability we needed to go forth with confidence.  We inched towards independence, secure in the knowledge that they stood behind us like coaches in a boxing ring; not to soften the blows, but to remind us of our own strength and preparation, and to give us the sometimes necessary push to go back into the fight.  They weren’t perfect, but they were in it for the right reason.  It was hard work, the most difficult role they ever took on, and yet not once did they falter or cave.

Their mantra was this poem by Khalil Gibran:

Children, Chapter IV

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, “Speak to us of Children.”
And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

I don’t yet have children of my own, but I approach my students with the same love, discipline, limits and freedom that my parents gave me, because it’s the only formula I know works.

A lot of women go into the pre-school teaching field because they “love” children.  They love how cute and funny and innocent they are.  But the real test comes when you love a child enough to set limits and say “no”.  Some people can’t handle that, even when the child is imploring (through his actions, not words):  “Please tell me what’s right and what’s wrong, what I can and cannot do, so I can make order in my head and move forth in my work of development and growth.”

Thank you, mom and dad, for hearing my pleas early on in life and having the strength, courage, and selflessness to do something about it.  If I had one wish, it would be for every child to be so lucky.

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Luis, Alfa, and Beto: My new heroes

26 Feb

http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/02/25/cnnheroes.soriano/index.html?hpt=C1

Mommies Who Get It

24 Feb

I have been DELIGHTED to get so many amazing responses to the Parenting, Inc. book review from mommies who are sick and tired of light-up toys and Barbie merchandise (and how about light-up Barbie merchandise?!).  You guys give me hope that when I have kids, I’ll be able to find mom-friends who have the same values I do, and who respect their kids and know what’s best for their development.  Hats off to all of you, and A BIG THANK YOU for sending me links! I’m working on a follow-up post as soon as I recover from this majorly insane week (more on that later, but it involves temper tantrums, peeing on carpets, head-banging and shoe-flinging).

If I Ran the Marketing Department at the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI)

20 Feb

Preparing to understand the Binomial Equation (pic:1worldmontessori.com)

Lunch box: $30

Shoes and clothes for school: $1,000

Three years of Montessori tuition: $25,000*

Allowing your child to discover who she is and what she’s capable of: PRICELESS

There are expenses and there are investments.  For the things that really matter, there’s Montessori.

Montessori: The preferred method of education for parents who want to prepare their children for life.

*If parents understood the value of Montessori, and pushed their state governments to incorporate the method into the public education system, it could be free for everyone.  PARENTS, THE FUTURE OF YOUR CHILDREN’S EDUCATION IS IN YOUR HANDS!!! You can sit there and complain, or you can do something about it…

Thought For the Day

20 Feb

Do we want our kids to be test-takers or problem-solvers?

Which type of kids is our public school system churning out?

I’m so brain-dead, I can’t think of a good title for this post

19 Feb

In the expansive (haha) amounts of free time I have left after teaching, cleaning the house, picking out tiles and fixtures for our bathroom remodeling project, practicing Italian, and planning our wedding, I am reading Parenting, Inc. (I know I should be reading The Advanced Montessori Method, but even hard-core Montessorians can get overloaded sometimes).

I plan to write an entire post (or two) about some of the book’s themes (it’s quite good), but in the meantime, I thought I’d share this concept from the book for you to mull over: Problem-Solving Deficit Disorder.

Wanna know where it starts?  Read this NYT article…

Why Montessori Schools Don’t Hand Out Bumper Stickers to Their Students

13 Feb

Don’t get it?  Read this…