Despite concerns about the weather, the Sonnie McFarland event held Thursday night, February 3rd in the St. A’s sanctuary drew perhaps seventy-five people. Staffers and parents from Bala House, Montessorians from the area, and a good sprinkling of parishioners heard Sonnie speak on Unveiling the Authentic Child-A Cornerstone of Peace.
Sonnie came with a spirit that would be familiar to someone who’s lived in the Western part of the U.S. and who has been influenced by the Native American philosophy of life. She shared Montessori’s philosophy of peace, which resonated with that of Gandhi (the two conferred long and often while Montessori was living for a time in India). She invoked a model for the learning process formulated by a yogi master from India when she talked about the mind and how it directs the brain.
Sonnie spoke of Montessori’s concept of “the authentic child”, and how he/she is, by nature, positive and loving. We promote this side of children when we provide them with appropriate environments that reflect a respect for the child by reflecting a true understanding of the child.
Through concrete lessons given to the child, we enable them to understand the four parts of themselves: body, mind, emotions and spirit. By giving the child tools, like an emotional vocabulary, an ability to calm their bodies and emotions through deep breathing, and practicing positive mind sets, we enable the child to be his/her “authentic self”. When we talk about the “love light” coming through a child’s smile or eyes, we help the child see this positive side in others. Sonnie showed pictures depicting different emotions. They’re shown to children, in order to bring to their consciousness the many different feelings people have. In this way they recognize them in themselves and others.
Montessori (and Gandhi) believed it was through the child that we can all find peace, and that if we can bring out her/his loving side, “the authentic child”, we would be doing a lot to more to promote peace—by raising a peaceful generation.
But we have to see this glow. We have to help it grow. We have to help them know, to recognize so they can sow this powerful love and pass it on, this empowering peace that is so strong.
This sure takes work, a LOT of work! But, what a positive work! If you’d like to know more about it, you can ask me—or, copies of Sonnie’s book are available in the Bala House office for $25.
Love and Peace,
Director of Parent Education
Bala House Montessori