Other Good Things
The internet is an interesting place.
It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of Pinterest, or find a thousand quotes which seem to be written just for you in just this moment of life, or spend much too long watching or reading things which are only casually interesting.
We stumbled across a video recently, a visual representation of an anecdote about the early education of Thomas Edison. Here it is, if you’re interested.
In it, we read how Edison was sent home from school one day with a note that caused his mother to choose to educate him at home. We’re told the note said he’s too smart, but at the end, we find out the note said he was unintelligent and wouldn’t amount to anything.
It doesn’t really matter if this is true, or just one of those Rabbit-Hole, written for you in just this moment of life stories. The message IS true.
Our words and judgements matter. Who are we to limit the potential of a child? Who are we to judge? What is a child capable of, if we believe in them wholeheartedly?
Additionally, what a testament to parenting. What a symbol of the incredible advocacy and strength and belief of a Parent.
We trust experts, and authority figures, and those who “simply know better” (in our eyes or in theirs), but sometimes trusting ourselves is what wins out.
Labels, judgements, relying on outside influences don’t serve the child. Meeting the child where he is, following interests and abilities, feeding areas of strength and helping a child to understand, work on, and overcome areas which present more difficulty — these are the responsibilities of parents, educators, mentors, allies.
Another famous mind, Einstein, wrote, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” A book this quote is featured in, by Michael Kelly, then asks,
What is your genius?
What if we saw children for their genius, for their experimenting and their compassion and their strengths and their struggles, and the label we put on them was genius. They might come up with something even more amazing than the light bulb. They might just change the world.
Or their community, or their own minds. Regardless, however the child chooses to spend her life, we can live into the responsibility Maria Montessori calls us to in her book, The Absorbent Mind,
“I have served the spirits of those children, and they have fulfilled their development, and I have kept them company in their experiences.”
And isn’t that precisely what Mrs. Edison did? Accidental Montessorian, following the child, providing opportunities and practice and belief her son’s potential.
Written by:Charlotte Wood