There is no love more unconditional than the love of parents. There is no doubt that every parent wants only the best for their children. But misplaced love can do more harm to the child than good.
As a result of adults forcing children to abide by manmade laws rather than the laws of nature, majority of children show a deviated personality that has become synonymous with childhood behaviour such as naughtiness, possessiveness, untidiness, timidity, laziness, imaginative mind, and over attachment.
These are not normal characteristics. Parents, who complain that their children are untidy, restless, can’t concentrate, don’t listen; always watch television might be surprised to hear that their children are not at fault. The foundation for the failure to be responsible and self-disciplined was laid down when they were babies.
It started with toys and television. Children are beings looking for intelligent, purposeful activities around them. Neither toys nor TV serves these needs. Toys might capture their interest for a short while but if you observe, what fascinates them more is the action of folding cloths, opening bottles, combing hair, sweeping the floor, work he has seen us do on a daily basis. But do we give them these tools to work on their development? We have many reasons not to. We say “Its not safe,”“He might make a mess”, “These are not meant for children”, and so on. But are we really looking out for their long term good?
When children from a very young age are not given an opportunity to spontaneously choose a real activity of their interest, when they are not given the freedom to repeat these activities, they lose a very important power, the power of concentration. Their minds start dwelling in illusions. They are deviated because they have lost their object and work in emptiness, vagueness and chaos.
The mind that should have built itself up through real experiences flees into fantasy. Such fugitive minds begin by seeking and not finding, they wish to work with things and could not, and thus they wander in fantasy. These children are never still; their movements are disordered, without purpose. They begin an action only to leave it unfinished for their energy passes through things without becoming fixed on any. But adults admire and encourage fantasies of children, interpreting them as imagination and creativity.
In school, teachers notice that the most highly imaginative children are not the ones that succeed in academics as might have been expected. In order for them to return to normalcy they need to be handled with kindness and delicate care. But what is seen in schools is direct aggression, both in intellectual teaching and correction of disorder. It is impossible to constrain such a child to forced activity. As a result, the children subconsciously create a barrier to protect themselves from this aggression.
Psychologically the child becomes deaf and blind. “You speak, But I am not listening; you repeat things, but I do not hear you, I cannot make up my world because I am building up a wall of defense so that you cannot come in!
The teachers who do not know of such psychic barriers might think that the children are not intelligent. Thus truly intelligent children are confused with ‘intellectually challenged” children. In turn, children start having aversions towards certain subjects, aversion to study, aversion to teachers and other children. This psychic barrier can become an inner obstacle that will be with the children life long.
The fugitive mind and psychic barriers are two of the most serious deviations. The child who is fleeing reality can be brought back to reality by giving conditions rich with experiences for him to use his hands and senses with all the freedom he deserves.
In a Montessori environment, it’s the disorderly, restless and violent children who first reach a level of normalcy. When they fix themselves to a task, their excited fantasy, their restless movements disappear, a calm, serene child, attached to reality starts doing productive work towards his development.
The teaching methodology used in a Montessori school
is that of indirect assistance where making mistakes is an important part of learning. Mistakes are treated as an opportunity to learn and not as a sin to be punished. The child has a relationship with the materials of learning and not the teacher and the role of the teacher is to help the child help himself.
Dr. Montessori discovered many more deviations that include ‘over dependence’, possessiveness, power craving, inferiority complex, fear, lying, and physical deviations. She also discovered that these deviations should be corrected by giving the child the right conditions, means and assistance at the right time for him to show his true nature.
In order to avoid these deviations before they occur, adults must acknowledge that along with physical needs. Children also have psychical needs essential for holistic development and most importantly the change must begin with us.