Montessori. What stays beyond the textbooks


To achieve peace, the peace must be taught, and not the competition.

Actually this is the full quote:

Todo el mundo habla de paz, pero nadie educa para la paz. La gente educa para la competencia, y la competencia es el principio de cualquier guerra.

Everyone speaks about peace, but no one teaches peace. People learn how to compete, and the competition – is the beginning of any war.

This is Pablo Lipnizky, Argentinian teacher and the director the Montessori School in Bogota, Colombia. The quotation is taken from the film “Forbidden Education” / La Educación Prohibida (2012), which had a rather wide impact on the pedagogical community of a number of European and Latin American countries.

What I want to add to this great words.

Lipnizky is absolutely right: the roots of everything grow from the existing model of education based on competing, and the competition – is the “mother” or any type of confrontation, including armed ones. But there is something worse. Namely, it is how discreetly we were taught loyalty to armed violence, when we were children, and how this violence was justified. And how we replay it for our children.

The lesson of violence

For instance, let’s take a look back to our own childhood. In fact, no one and never, neither our parents, nor teachers or other “adults”, taught us how to avoid the need of and how not to take part in the support of the bloody mechanism of life and motherland defense. Other way around, we were taught that it is necessary and acceptable. We were led to believe in the legitimacy of “fair” – responsive and preventive – violence and threats, so that we would take it as an essential part of our lives. We did not learn and we do not know other history, then where one fight follows another, where people destroy each other for resources and territories, where regained sovereignty, where accretion of lands and empowerment are considered the highest merits. We did not learn and we cannot live without the service of police, army, fleet and other power structures, the main tools of which – bloodshed and the threat with it.

Getting older, we do not only become active participants, moral and material basis of the existing violence mechanism, we continue supporting people’s around us loyalty for it: our relatives, close ones, acquaintances, friends, colleges, partners…

However, there is something else, even scary.

We do not give a choice

Following this, we replicate the mechanism for our children. We turn them into “violence’s debtors” from the very birth. We do not offer them any choice, from the early years, teaching them not to pay attention and not to attach any importance to the bloody foundation of the general security, resignedly pay for it the whole life, and, in the worst case, be ready to kill and mutilate by their own.

Do you teach your child not to respond with a hit to a hit, for insult to insult? Do you teach him to be polite, be able to have a discussion and to listen to the opinions of others? Perhaps he will grow up as a well-mannered and a strong person, but, on an equal basis to everyone, he will continue to participate in threats and murders – day after day, month after month, year after year. And when one day he asks you: “Why did you let me get used to the violence?”, you will not have anything to say to him.

Because our crime against people’s lives applies not only to children. It is universal: we impose an obligation and a “duty” of violence on ourselves and on others – first of all, our unwilling compatriots and co-religionists. We believe we have an indisputable right for their lives, which, in reality, does not belong to us. We rely on this our quasi-right, believing it to be true; we rely on it with our whole life and our whole life.

Does the reason lay only in the education system? Or is it, first of all, our own fear – to face the truth and at least admit, that there is an alternative to threats and killings?

But the most important confirmation for this is closer than you think. For example, I remember my great-grandmother well. Our history covers four generations, it is approximately 100 years. And she, perhaps, saw and remembered her. If we count it back (four generations) only 10 times, and then another 10 – we will be among the contemporaries of Christ. That means, He is only twenty steps away from us. And many of us wear Him at the very heart.

In the image of a child, Christ comes to all people

Maria Montessori


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