A friend recently gave me an article written by Dr. Annette Haines. Dr Haines addresses the full spectrum of man’s development, from birth to adolescence and ultimately as a “cosmic agent” to order the earth to the good of all through actions in solidarity benefiting the common good. Why am I posting about Montessori? I discovered that there is a deep connection between Montessori Schools and The Integrated Business Leader.
“A peaceful society cannot be built on a foundation that does not seek to integrate body, mind and spirit.” This is exactly the call of the Catholic Church and specifically the call of business owners. We will never lift the poor from poverty until business owners live out fully their vocation which requires them to live a fully integrated life (of body, mind and spirit).
Other excerpts from the article: Replace “child” with the word “business owner”, “business leader” or “employee” and “childhood” with “business.”
- What is the secret of childhood? It is that children, when allowed to develop according to the natural plan, (what is the secret of business? It is that employees, when allowed to develop according to the natural plan…) display quite amazing characteristics: for example, they become calm; they are industrious; they enjoy silence and working alone. They are generous, loving, happy, and have an intense attraction to reality—characteristics that most people still would not ordinarily associate with children! (employees, business leaders!) What causes such a change? It is today as it was in San Lorenzo: the possibility of purposeful work, freely chosen.
- When a child washes the dishes or scrubs the clothes, he cleans what others have soiled. When he sets the table he works for the benefit of the others. Yet, he does not consider all this
work done in the service of others to be special or in any way to be an effort deserving praise. It is the effort itself that is for him the most sought after prize….In this way, the child develops a sense of social purpose—unconsciously, effortlessly, without even realizing it. Once they have reached this level, the children no longer act thoughtlessly, but put the group first and try to succeed for its benefit.
- “It is hoped that when this sentiment of love for all subjects can be aroused in children, people in general will become more human and brutal wars will come to an end.” She asks us to call the attention of children to “the hosts of men and women who are hidden from the light of fame, so kindling a love of humanity; not the vague and anemic sentiment preached today as brotherhood, nor the political sentiment…nor patronizing charity for humanity, but “a reverent consciousness of its dignity and worth.”
- And so the history given to the elementary child is not the usual list of battles and kings, or dates to be memorized that most of us remember from our school-age years; it is more the story of human beings, people living in different climates and geographical regions, solving problems and working together to meet their fundamental needs. It is the story of men and women and boys and girls, creating and inventing ingenious ways to fashion an existence in what were sometimes inhospitable circumstances, first in one way and then in another, based on the circumstances. It is the story especially of all those unnamed individuals who came before us and to whom we owe such gratitude.
- When we see the order in nature, we can see the strange fact that all living things not only do things to benefit themselves, they also benefit others. Nature has this beautiful arrangement whereby everyone does something for its own life, but in so doing also acts unconsciously for the betterment of everything.
- Laborers needed to learn to work with their heads and intellectuals needed to learn how to work with their hands, as “men who have hands and no head and men who have a head and no hands are equally out of place in the modern community.
- Montessori says, “a man must have strong character and quick wits as well as courage; he must be strengthened in his principles by moral training and he must also have a practical ability in order to face the difficulties of life.” Adaptability—this is the most essential quality; for the progress of the world is continually opening new careers, and at the same time closing or revolutionizing the traditional types of employment…there is a need for a more dynamic training of character and the development of a clearer consciousness of social reality.”
- Montessori warned us “If the sidereal forces are used blindly by men…in view of destroying one another, the attempt will speedily be successful in doing so, because the forces at man’s disposal are infinite and accessible to all.” The natural boundaries of mountains, deserts and seas no longer limit man, “now that he can fly over them,” she wrote. In this new age, laws and treaties will not be enough; the limits will have to come from within.
- ..the formation of man and his personality, for “the child who has never learned to act alone, to direct his own actions, to govern his own will, grows into an adult who is easily led and must always lean upon others.”
- ..peace could not be brought about by marches or taught through a curriculum. She understood that a “New Age” would not emerge from meditation or peak experiences. A peaceful society cannot be built on a foundation that does not seek to integrate body, mind, and spirit….
- What the world needs—and soon—is WHOLE men and women: not mutilated persons, but individuals who can work with their hands, their heads, and their hearts.
- Politics and peace talks may provide a cessation of war but they cannot create peace. Over and over we realize that we cannot change the adult. Peace will emerge only when there is remote preparation. To learn how to assist “the constructive work that the human soul is called to do, and to bring to fruition a work of formation which brings out the immense potentialities with which (all) children are endowed.