Monday, October 3, 2016

...and they flew...

I've long admired Maria Montessori for her work as an educator and a progressive pioneer in empowering children.  She observed,

"The essence of independence is to be able to do something for one's self. Adults work to finish a task, but the child works in order to grow, and is working to create the adult, the person that is to be. Such experience is not just play... it is work he must do in order to grow up."

Indeed, such an opportunity for independence and growth came along this weekend, quite unexpectedly and with equal parts thrill and terror.  

Aidan and I were preparing a double batch of lasagna when I discovered, to my dismay, that I had completely forgotten an essential ingredient - mozzarella cheese.  "What are we going to DO?" I exclaimed, my head in my hands.

"Mom!  I'll go to the store!" Aidan suggested, his whole face lit up with the possibility. 

"How will you get there?" I asked.

"My bike!" he said with a laugh.  And I stared at him, as Montessori's words echoed in my head.  (Not so eloquently, of course.  More like independence.  Adventure.  Resourcefulness.)

And so with just a little more convincing on Aidan's part, plus the additional help of his brother Leo, I agreed to let them go.  I packed a backpack with the grocery list, cash, and a cell phone; I reminded them to be smart and safe; we briefly reviewed the route and the rules of the road.... and they were off.

55 minutes later, just as I had started wringing my hands, they returned. Triumphant, sweaty, glowing with pride and accomplishment and independence.  I felt so proud of them in that moment, and of US.  This was measureable, real, triumphant growth for each of us...

"Come to the edge," she said.
"We are afraid," they said.
"Come to the edge," she said.
They came.  
She pushed them...
...and they flew.
-Guillaume Apollinaire

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