Monday, October 25, 2010


"Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about. Forgive everyone for everything."

It has been an introspective time, and the quote above sums it well for me. Pondering roads not taken is like comparing my life to other people's- who knows what the troubles would have been then? I am working on forgiving myself for everything I chose, and didn't choose. There is a difficult acceptance that when we choose one thing, we are not choosing another (sometimes I mourn the loss of a road not taken). I run into the inescapable fact that choices come loaded with consequences (there is a price). I'd like to meet my life deciding in full awareness and with full acceptance of what I have chosen.

Appropriately timed, in the last Conscious Discipline session we touched on the subject of choices- it was my favorite session to date. Choice being the realization that we are responsible for our own situation. Or at the very least, for our reactions to our own situation. Like Dr. Viktor Frankl puts it:
‎"The last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."
As regards to working with children, I have to remember that choice is an internal power. The only person that I can change is myself. The choice I have is to decide how I will respond to the moments of the day. (I have been asking myself at different moments of the day, "What is the quality of this moment?" and touching base on my feelings and interpretations.)

I can create the conditions for a child to learn and thrive, but I cannot do the learning for the child. He must ultimately make the choices. Creating the conditions means preparing the environment for children to make the choices that we'd like to see them making: through materials we offer, the structure in the environment, encouragement, and modeling.

These thoughts are a comfort when I am confronted with a child who has made a not so good choice. I am not responsible for his choices, but I can help him realize the consequences (the price) and responsibility that his choice carried. I can also find a way to adapt the environment to his needs to help him make a better choice in the future.

Making choices takes effort and carries a great responsibility- it is easy sometimes to lose sight of our own power and just let life happen at us. But I think about the children in the classroom, and how sometimes the four year olds get lost and all of a sudden lose the power to decide and come to me for help, "Help me choose a work".

During the CD session, I celebrated our Montessori environment privately among the group of teachers and felt so fortunate that in our environment choice is built in naturally. Children generate will power and self worth every day when they come in and take the responsibility for their own education. I think of Montessori's idea of internal obedience, it is the ultimate product of conscious choice making.

1 comment:

bunny said...

really enjoyed reading this post.
I thought that is had a lot of wisdom to offer about dealing with day to day life, making choices and facing the consequences, essentially a good reminder to something some of us already know. I really like when you say, essentially that is upto us to help prepare but ultimate choice is out of our control:
"I can also find a way to adapt the environment to his needs to help him make a better choice in the future."

However, I do strongly feel and with all due respect IMHO that the choice the child makes is the best for him or her in the moment, so maybe there isn't such a thing as a better choice next time. Next time, the choice he or she makes will be best for him.

I could be all wrong and perhaps will better understand your point if there was a specific case, or maybe I am out of context.

Thanks for sharing such wonderful thoughts. I wasn't having a very good day and after reading your post just gently reminded myself that its up to me how I react to the situation. Really trying hard to hang in there.