When you get that early morning call from the daughter, you know it is going to mean one of two things. One – they need a babysitter because a) someone is sick, b) the babysitter canceled, c) school was canceled due to ice/flu/etc… or two – they need something to be done because they forgot. Today it was the latter. Since the family has been under attack by the latest flu/ear infection bug, meds were forgotten in the morning rush and grandma needed to come to the rescue. (BTW – grandmas love this when they have nothing else on their agenda – oh what the heck – grandmas love this even when they have something planned) Any excuse to see the Grands is a treat.
The special attraction (for me) was getting to go to their school, Willow Oak Montessori. Maria Montesorri’s educational mission makes sense to me. I loved teaching at the OSU nursery school where we used many of her techniques, so getting to go to the Montessori school was not a dreaded chore, by any means. As expected, there was interaction, laughter, talking. One teacher sitting at a table helping three students with a math worksheet, two students talking together as they worked on math at a center, one student and teacher crawling along the floor measuring, two others on the floor working on math puzzles with another teacher, another student sitting alone looking at book with a smile on her face. The Grand didn’t even noticed I had arrived – in fact, none of the kids paid any attention to my entrance. Luckily, the third teacher (who had been crawling on the floor and had purple hair, no less) got the Grand’s attention and the forgotten meds, a quick hug involving arms and legs tightly wrapped around me, and all is back to normal.
Actually, as I was driving home thinking about how I wish all schools were like this, my mind rotated (as it is prone to do) to this thing we call life. We are all in a “Montessori” school. Each of us going about our missions. Some of us sitting on the floor “puzzling” over some task, Some of us working with the teacher. Some of us standing with a friend, talking over our ideas and sorting out life. Some of us sitting by ourselves. Some of us crawling, just trying to get to the end or “measureing” how long this journey will take.
“His mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘Because I bore him in pain.’ Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’ So God granted him what he requested.” – 1 Chron 4:9-10 NKJV
Jabez went to a Montessori school, too. He went about his life in his own way. His mother named him Jabez because of the pain he had caused her. Jabez decided (with his free will) to try to never cause pain to anyone else. He strengthened his resolve by asking God to help him in this test, and God granted him what he requested. God didn’t create us for blind adoration. He set his children in a “Montessori Garden” gave them free will and walked with them. When they didn’t pass one test, He continued to let them seek more wisdom in their own way, sent plenty of teachers to point the way, sent His Son to remind them of how they should live – love – laugh, and lovingly,He continues to offer to teach them more when they fail a test with grace and mercy. At the Grands’ school, they have a birthday celebration called, “Walk around the Sun” to celebrate the child’s passage into a new year of life. Metaphors are great teaching tools. Couldn’t ask for a better school than that, could we?