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"Labeling a child as “difficult” points to something in ourselves rather than the child. We admit we cannot handle this child in the context of the other children. This child explodes the bubble in which we want our children to be contained. We want the children to do just what we want...

One of the biggest impediments to our moving forward is our addiction to contentment...we want everything to be harmonious and nice. When we are led by this desire to be comfortable, we are not open to hearing the true child speak...

Life is structured in time. Human development is a process in time. Our society is one that expects quick answers and solutions, so this process puts us at odds with modern expectations. As educators, we have to understand that what is done with a child now will have its results in the future, in later life. As helping companions to the child, we must also have patience that the dialogue with the true spiritual being of the child will not happen instantly. The processes of emptying, looking, listening, and sensing require time and patience. We must be able to withstand the discomfort we feel in not being able to come up with an answer right away. We have to wait to permit the world to imprint itself into us so we can realize the meaning of what we see. This requires patience and tolerance to live with the frustration of not having a quick answer...

The world is a classroom, as it is a mystery temple. Waldorf education can happen everywhere, and some children require this wider vista. Every situation of daily life can become curriculum for Waldorf education.

Difficult children do not exist. Children with difficult behaviors do. We need to develop a knowing-understanding through an “emptying-out” attitude, where we do not label, we do not react. The children need us to say “yes” to them, which will be our virtue development because they require us to be on a path of inner development. We can picture ourselves as musicians who “lift” our musicianship to a soul capacity where we can bring about social harmony and create music in social situations. The children who experience this lifting into selfless, social skills will be affected in their bodies. We affect the children’s bodies by who we are and what we do. This fundamental transformation of attitude — saying “yes” to the child — is what is required."

Working and Living with So-Called Difficult Children by Nancy Blanning Gateway, Issue 54

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
mollygm
Jun. 18th, 2009 07:15 am (UTC)
Well, you posted the article, but not your thoughts on it.
aelfie
Jun. 18th, 2009 02:52 pm (UTC)
Haven't gotten that far yet. I just wanted to remember the good bits that struck me.
hitchhiker
Jun. 18th, 2009 12:17 pm (UTC)
sounded like she had some good points to make, but damn, that was a badly written paper :(
aelfie
Jun. 18th, 2009 02:57 pm (UTC)
True! Its the points I want to remember.
mollygm
Jun. 23rd, 2009 04:44 pm (UTC)
"Difficult children do not exist. Children with difficult behaviors do."

That's pretty much the only part I actually 100% agreed with. That doesn't mean you need to say "yes" to children displaying difficult behaviors. Or wander in their temples of mysterious bubbles or whatever.

Shit like this is what would make me grit my teeth in all those Child Development classes.

I mean, granted, this is just a small excerpt. Maybe in some OTHER part of the book they discuss how children thrive when given consistent boundaries and expectations. That doesn't mean the expectation has to be that they sit on their hands and recite poetry all day. But, yes, you do want things to be "harmonious and nice." That's what falls into place when kids know what to expect and their comfortable.

I'm ranting at the passage, not you.
(Anonymous)
Jun. 23rd, 2009 04:46 pm (UTC)
"they're"

ugh.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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