Thursday, 13 October 2011

The child in the family - chapter 3 :the spiritual embryo

Here we are with the 3rd chapter of the child in the family for our read along series.  This chapter is called "the spiritual embryo".

What did you all thought about it?

I'm asking, because this chapter didn't flow for me.  I don't know if it was because of the mysteriousness surrounding it or just the wording, but I had to read it twice to actually make something out of it.

What I have finally taken of it is this:  the newborn child has an incarnating job to do, and this will be done no matter what. THis process is one that starts at birth, and that is within the child.  It's secrets remains unlock, and we do not yet know how this process works, but it does.  And this newborn, who can become anything, will become himself through this mechanism. We can't see it, and we can't stop it.   But we, as parents, can help this process by setting a nurturing and protective environment around it, and we as parent have to see the child not as an empty or passive  body in which we'll eventually pour life, but as a spiritual embryo that should inspire reverence from us.

" THe child thus incarnate is a spiritual embryo which must come to live for itself in the environment.  But like the physical embryo, the spiritual embryo must be protected by an external environment animated by the warmth of love and the richness of values, where it is wholly accepted and never inhibited"

Never inhibited...That is probably the biggest difficulty children of our age must have to go through. Inhibition comes from everywhere, and everybody.  Children should fit the norm. And even if I repeat myself, possession and materialism pass before children in our time and age.  Do not touch must be one of the things the young children hear the most in his 3 first year of life.

On a totally different note, in reading this chapter, I felt a lot of things resonated with the  Waldorf philosophy on some level.

What have you taken from this chapter?

I love the analogy she used comparing human newborns to hand made goods.  Hand made goods are always unique, imperfect and yet just perfect.  Their "perfectness" comes from their originality, and their imperfections, by the thought and the soul that was pour into it by the person who created the good.  "Humans, she says, is worked by hand, and each individual is different from the other, having his own distinctive created spirit, as if he were a natural work of art."

This is something I try to remember every day, and every time I am with my children.  These differences, they have to be celebrated instead of noted, changed or reprimended.  When our children are different, whether it is in their tastes, their ideas, their ways, we often try to change them, I know I catch myself trying to.  And when I do.  I stop and remind myself that these differences are what makes my children unique.  I don't want to conform them to whatever society is asking for.  I want them to be what they were set to be, what their inner self is telling them to become.  But conformism is the norm, and we resort to it too often.  The special mechanism Montessori talks about has been working for a while within my children.  I might not be able to protect it now that my children are older, but I sure can respect it, and most of all let it do it's work without interfering.  Trusting that my children will grow what they are meant to be.

How did you like this chapter?


  1. She lost me a little with this chapter. I hadn't highlighted any of it, I did underscore the bit about human development being a lengthy and interior process but that is all. This does remind me of a quote of hers, I don't remember where it is from, where she says something like, it takes twenty years to become a man of twenty years. I really wonder about her influences, considering I think she only had one child herself I wonder how she came to think this way, what were her thought processes. This is yet another chapter in this book that shows a different side to her than most people know. She wasn't just an educator but I believe a philosopher. I found this chapter very hard to read!

  2. Indeed hard to read. I'm glad you are saying this, as I thought for a while that is was because I didn't get the subtleties of english in there. (I am bilingual, but french is my first language after all) SO I guess it is not just me.

    If I am not mistaken Kylie, after she did her MD, she studied anthropology and I think philosophy. So I think you are right in that sense.

    About her influences, I think it is a good question. I never saw her mentioning something about it (well, aside Piaget, and Segin)