Monday, January 21, 2008

Loving Every Child

Through a Montessori Catalog, I came upon the suggestion of Loving Every Child , a compilation of wise thoughts from Janusz Korczak. I cannot tell you how intensely this book has impacted me. Every morsel of his words are like gems of parenting advice. Although he wrote them nearly 60 + years ago, they are all as worthy of our consideration as the day he put pen to paper. Almost instantly, I could feel the expectations & aspirations that I request of my children come to a halt. It is beautiful, reassuring, and calming. We request so much of our children, we think too forward of tomorrow of next year, of the next decade to wonder and become excited by the beautiful beings they are today.

Many quotes have just left me numb, although I am not even halfway through this book.


I want everyone to understand that no book and no doctor is a substitute for one’s own sensitive contemplation and careful observations. Books with their ready-made formulas have dulled our vision and slackened the mind. Living by other people’s experiences, research, and opinions, we have lost our self-confidence and we fail to observe things for ourselves.
Parents find lessons not from books, but from inside themselves. Then every book they read can be considered to be of small additional value; and this one, too, will have fulfilled its given task if it has managed to contribute to bringing this idea home.

Wow! How often have I short changed myself, not realizing the very words I hand out to new moms I know, “God has provided you with everything you require in order to be_____________’s mother.” Here Korczak says these very words. I have left behind my innate ability to be everything I need to be for my children in place of the labels and suggestions of strangers, thinking they know better than I do on how to raise a child they will never meet. When I see, smell, breathe these beings everyday. Of course I know what they need and how to be their guide. But as Korczak as mentioned, I have lost my “self-confidence,” I question the very gifts God has given me and instead reach for the next book to provide me with a “ready-made formula.” Thank you, Mr. Korczak.


It is nothing but a mistake, utter foolishness, to imagine that everything which is not outstanding is therefore pointless and worthless.

How often to we expect perfection of our children when we go to the grocery, to the library, on a playdate. If we instead see these beautiful mistakes as steps to a bigger purpose, is it possible that we will put away these impossible expectations of our children?
And again…

Know yourself before you attempt to get to know children. Become aware of what you yourself are capable of before you attempt to outline the rights and responsibilities of children. First and foremost you must realize that you, too, are a child, whom you must first get to know, bring up, and educate.

I recently told a friend I have over active tear ducts. Yes, I cry at the drop of a hat. It’s something I revel in and despise at the same time. Only recently have I been able to feel “asher” about my life. I am infinitely blessed. This place as required a long journey, and I know I have yet more to come. As Korczak writes:

And in the future, she will have to find her place in society, herself amid humanity, and herself within the universe.
Well, well, now the hair has turned gray, but this work is still not done.

As a mom, I give myself a lot more credit than I should. Thinking that every book, every experience, every meal I have or provide for my child will eternally impact his or her being. That this is the end all or be all. My mom told me the other day, “ You raise your children and they will become who they are, regardless of how you raise them.” We all have our own slant, our own way. This is not to say that I should go about being immoral and reckless in front of my precious babes, only that I need to stop taking myself so seriously and realize that these small moments are gifts to treasure, not to analyze.

I’m sure I’ll have more to write about this remarkable book, and perhaps others may think, “Wow, this is all common sense,” but this treasure has found itself in my hands for a purpose and I hope that I can incorporate these bits of common sense in my life.

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