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The Emergence of the New Man

March 21, 2018

 

We then become witnesses to the development of the human soul; the emergence of the New Man, who will no longer be the victim of events but, thanks to his clarity of vision, will become able to direct and to mould the future of mankind.” - Montessori, The Absorbent Mind

 

This is a political post. 

 

This is not a political post. 

 

I have a sixteen year old daughter, powerful and graceful and dignified. She is goofy sometimes and profound at others. She is just as likely to pull away from a hug as she is to climb on to my lap. And I send her to school every day trusting that I will see her again at the end of it. 

 

Her brother was born two days after Columbine. I was sure, then, watching the news as I waited for his arrival, that we'd never see another school suffer the way those children did then. It's almost nineteen years later. 

 

When my daughter told me of how she and her friends used their bodies and their words to dance through their pain, through their anger and their fear, less than a week after the Parkland shootings, I cried, standing in my kitchen, drinking my coffee and thinking we were just starting the day together as we always did. 

 

"Why are you crying, Momma?" she asked. 

 

So many reasons, sweet girl. Because I am also afraid. Because I can't imagine how it would feel to be one of those children's mommas. Because I love you and I love your brother in a way that seems inadequately described by the word.

 

"Because we promised you better than this," I replied. 

 

And a few days after that, when I was honored to speak at the MEPI conference, to a room full of beautiful Montessorians who had come together eager to do this work, I told that story to them, as evidence of the promise we have made and broken, as parents and teachers and Montessorians, to create a different kind of world for our children. 

 

I was wrong. 

 

We are not creating it. We aren't capable of it. We are creating the conditions for our children to create it themselves. And, just like, as parents and teachers and Montessorians, we've been telling ourselves they would, they are rising to the occasion. 

 

This is a political post. 

 

This is not a political post. 

 

They need us to have their backs, as parents and teachers and Montessorians. Our children have said, "Enough." They are making their voices heard. They are insisting on change. They are creating the world they deserve and we are witness to the emergence of a new man, a new person, a new humanity. This is our work as Montessorians, to stand up with them as they lead the march. So, whether you're at conference this weekend, or you're back at home in your own community, I encourage you to stand up with these kids. Have their backs. Bear witness. And at the end of the day, when they are exhausted and spent, when they will have undoubtedly had moments that inspired them and moments that outraged them, offer them safe harbor at home. They are doing their great work. This is ours.  

 

 

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