I was talking to my daughter this morning as she was grumbling and having a fit about being too tired to put on her clothes by herself for school. In somewhat of a rant and lecture, I went off on her about how she has to stop saying "it's too hard" and "I can't do it". I kept telling her that she can, and she has to and that no one will help her if she can't help herself. It was something that I thought important enough to write down.
I said, "You can do anything you want, you can build a plane, you can fix a house, you can do anything you want if you just tell yourself "I can". But first, you need to learn how to dress yourself and get yourself ready for the day. If you can do this by yourself, then you will learn to do anything on your own."
After thinking about it for a short time I realized, ah, yes, this is why Practical Life is so important in the Montessori environment. This is where we give them the tools to do it on their own, the ability to be confident in themselves and their work, to move forward from caring for yourself, to caring for others and the environment. Being able to care for yourself has more implications in the greater realm of life than we can put down into words.
I have so much more to write about this as I have been documenting in photos all that we do at home and how our home is set up to help them become more independent. Of course, then we have days like today, where I want to pull out my hair and wonder what is going on that she can't do it on her own when she's been doing it all by herself since she was 18 months. Well, the answer to that came when I thought, I've been working with 4 year olds for years, but this is my first time parenting one. This, is completely a different process. My friend reminded me how at 4 they come to realize they can do so much, ask the most amazing and profound questions, and realize the world is so much bigger than they knew before, and this, this very thing is what makes them come back to you and want to be held and comforted. In some ways, they are unsure and not quite ready to face it, and rather than pushing them, I need to be encouraging and loving, and go back to the way I am with my little one. Slow, and small steps.