Magazine article Montessori Life

A Model for Authentic Parenting

Magazine article Montessori Life

A Model for Authentic Parenting

Article excerpt

A Model for Authentic Parenting Montessori Parenting: Unveiling the Authentic Self By Dr. Jim and Sonnie McFarland Buena Vista, CO: Shining Mountains Press, 2012 Paperback, $25

In Montessori Parenting: Unveiling the Authentic Self, Dr. Jim and Sonnie McFarland present a model for parenting that is based on an understanding of the divine within each child. This approach affirms what the McFarlands call the "Authentic Self": the child's essential nature, which is revealed when he is parented with love, respect, and spiritual nurturing. In Part One, the McFarlands provide a brief overview of Maria Montessori 's life, describe the characteristics of the Authentic Self (known to Montessorians as the traits of the normalized child), and present Montessori's philosophical view of the child's place in the universe. "The Authentic Self is the pure individualized Spirit dwelling within each one of us, as our personal expression of Cosmic Consciousness. The Authentic Self is nothing less than our true nature of love!" (p. 62) When there is a recognition of and an understanding of the child as a sacred, spiritual being, and when that understanding is incorporated into parenting and educational experiences, hidden potential is nurtured, revealing natural characteristics that otherwise may remain unseen deep in the child's soul.

In order to more clearly understand the process of a child's natural development, the McFarlands created The VEIL Model, which they explore in Part Two of Montessori Parenting. This model includes the following stages (spelling out VEIL):

Volition: The child is inspired to engage in a particular activity.

Engagement: Sensory stimulation is received as the child is motivated and engaged.

Integration: Information is assimilated by the child.

Love: The child experiences a moment of self-realization and understands who she is and what she is capable of. At its essence, this is an experience of love.

Each of the four steps in the VEIL Model is explained in detail in separate chapters.

In Part Three of the book, the emphasis is on the home, providing parents with concrete ideas for creating and maintaining a home environment that supports the unveiling of the child's Authentic Self. The four areas of that home environment that are addressed are physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. In the physical environment, the authors focus on the need for order, beauty, independence, self-management skills, and the power of touch. To create a nurturing mental environment, emphasis is given to fostering curiosity, providing space for quiet time, setting fair and reasonable boundaries, and cultivating creativity. …

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