The Tuesday following Thanksgiving has been known as “GivingTuesday” for the past decade and is a day dedicated to encouraging generosity as an expression of “mutuality, solidarity and reciprocity” among humankind.
Generosity is very much a part of our Montessori classrooms, where kindness and respect are part of the “grace and courtesy” lessons and are modeled by the teachers and older students. In its beginning stages, generosity starts by noticing others and offering help. “May I help you with that?” The multi-age classrooms are a beautiful picture of giving and taking, as young children learn from their peers, and then, in turn, become the leaders in the classroom. Kindness, respect and empathy (essential traits that lead to generosity) are core values of the Montessori program.
While research has shown that generosity is a trait present even in young children, it needs nurturing to fully develop. We all want our children to one day be generous, empathetic, and respectful adults! Why? First, our own sense of belonging and self worth are strengthened when we make meaningful, valuable contributions to our family and community. “The primary need of every child is to feel a sense of belonging and significance.” (Flora McCormick).
They will imitate us in any case. Let us treat them, therefore, with all the kindness which we would wish to help develop in them.
Life’s persistent and most urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”
Martin Luther King Jr.