Magazine article Montessori Life

Lofty Goals

Magazine article Montessori Life

Lofty Goals

Article excerpt

Lofty Goals NO SUMMIT OUT OF SIGHT: THE TRUE STORY OF THE YOUNGEST PERSON TO CLIMB THE SEVEN SUMMITS by Jordan Romero with Linda LeBlanc 2015, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers Paperback, 368 pages

No Summit Out of Sight is about Jordan Romero, a young man who set a goal to climb each continent's tallest mountain. The book follows him on each of his climbs and details the necessary preparation, training, and fundraising that precede each ascent.

I imagined that students in my class, 9- to 12-year-olds who believe in themselves and have big ideas and great energy, could relate to Jordan. I also imagined the book could pose some questions worthy of consideration and in keeping with Maria Montessori's concept of Cosmic Education. Montessori wrote,

If the idea of the universe be presented to the child in the right way, it will do more for him than just arouse his interest, for it will create in him admiration and wonder, a feeling loftier than any interest and more satisfying. (1989, p. 6)

Famous mountaineer George Mallory said climbing a mountain such as Everest was born of "man's desire to conquer the universe" (Nuwer, 2015). Exploring and conquering are two very different things; within the space between these two notions is great opportunity to examine a big undertaking colliding with issues of peace, justice, and how we define ourselves and find our physical space on this planet.

At the age of 9, Jordan was inspired by a mural at his school, a simple depiction of nested summits showing the height of the seven continents' highest mountains. He did a little research on the seven summits and announced to his dad that he wanted to climb each one-he wanted to know "what it would be like to stand on top of each of those mountains and look at the world" (pp. 7-8). His father, an adventure racer, did not immediately shut down his son's grand plan but instead suggested they go for a hike. On that first hike, Jordan tired after 10 minutes and maintained interest by investigating wildlife on the trail. His parents ultimately supported his goal, and his father and stepmother decided to train him and act as his teammates and champions.

In the book, Jordan describes himself as a goal-oriented young person, and so, despite his inexperience with actual mountain climbing, he embarked on a mental and physical training regimen with the goal of climbing his first summit-Mt. …

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