“Mom, look. I’ve got another origami book.”
“The library has three origami books. I got one last week, and another one today, see?”
“That’s great dear.”
“Mom, will you help me with this frog? It’s really hard.”
“Oh, honey…,” I look up. “It’s just that I’m so busy…,” I look into his eyes. “And I, well….”
There it is, in his eyes…the light! You know what I mean, that spark, that joy, that burning enthusiasm for knowledge. This is what Maria Montessori was talking about when she spoke of the lenses of love through which children can “see what others do not see.”
It is indeed a form of love that gives them the faculty of observing in such an intense and meticulous manner the things in their environment that we, grown cold, pass by unseeing. Is it not a characteristic of love, that sensibility that enables a child to see what others do not see? That collects details that others do not perceive, and appreciates special qualities, which are, as it were, hidden, and which only love can discover? It is because the child's intelligence assimilates by loving, and not just indifferently, that he can see the invisible. This active, ardent, meticulous, constant absorption in love is characteristic of children.
No one told my son he had to learn to take a flat piece of paper and fold it into little three-dimensional animals. No one told him to practice reading and following the step-by-step instructions, or to work on developing his hand-eye coordination and small motor skills. He enthusiastically, inquisitively, dare I say lovingly undertook this task entirely on his own. His natural desire to learn compelled him to seek out this book and the information therein.
Maria Montessori advised us (adults) to grab it while it’s hot, so to speak. When the child is following his/ her interests, we should follow the child. In this way, we are stoking the flame of learning and fostering the child’s innate desire to learn.
So, if you will please excuse me, I think I know where I might find some lovely green paper for my son.