Please enjoy this article reprinted with the permission of The Montessori Initiative:
Compassion and Peace
Despite its global nature and the fact that Montessori is continuing to add schools and students on almost every continent, not every month brings us items that qualify as "News". However, there is still plenty of information that we can share with you.
On his recent visit to the United States, the Dalai Lama spoke at the University of Indiana to a filled basketball stadium. "We must teach our children with compassion," he said. "As a child, I learned more from the teachers that taught me with compassion and a smile than I ever did from those that taught with a frown." He went on to stress, "Through that example, our children will learn compassion and they will learn to apply compassion when dealing with others. With compassion, we can learn to understand one another and appreciate our differences rather than become afraid of them. Compassion is the first step towards 'internal disarmament'. When we can disarm ourselves, we can learn to concentrate on disarming the world we live in. It is too late for our generation. Our generation's responsibility is to the children. We must teach the children with compassion so that they will learn compassion. With compassion, they will work to solve the problems that we cannot. With compassion they will work on the problems that are manmade. They will care about global warming and they will work to turn the tide. They will care about human suffering and they will work to turn the tide. With compassion they will understand that we all have a shared responsibility to one another. Eventually, when enough have learned compassion, we will have peace." [We have edited his comments in summary].
The Dalai Lama could have been a Montessori teacher. Maria Montessori made it clear in her writing that through education of the child comes peace. That is why compassion and a global understanding of our world is such an important part of every Montessori students learning. Dr. Montessori wrote the first "Rights of the Child" for UNESCO. Those rights are all based on compassion. As Montessorians, we continue to teach with compassion to our students. As adults, we must remember it when we deal with one another.