So what are we to DO as the ADULT?
We must begin by keeping our imagination alive: to always look for the child who is not yet here; to have a vision for what is possible; to have faith that the child will reveal himself through work; to have faith in the basic goodness of each child. If the child has many deviations, we must remind ourselves that something has already been an obstacle to that child and constantly remind ourselves that the child wants to belong but just doesn’t know how.
The most troublesome children need the most love. They are begging for attention and should not be ignored, though the attention should be appropriate. The type of attention they receive truly matters – as it will either reinforce or break the deviation. We should never ignore or withdraw from a child who is seeking attention. At age three, the child already has a positive or negative self-image, which we can either strengthen or weaken.
We must have faith in the child and develop the virtue of humility before him. The humble person does not lose his faith and blame the child when things become chaotic, rather he looks to himself and to the environment.
We must develop patience, feeling for the child, having a particular sense of sympathy. To be patient with children we need to accept things we understand as well as those things we do not understand. We must know that children are not an inconvenience and we must slow down to their pace.
Hand in hand with patience is perseverance. We must have confidence that the children are essentially constructive. We must be compassionate, maintaining the ability to keep our hearts open – in adversity it’s easy to lose heart when working with children who so vulnerable, but in a positive way. Courage is also crucial – courage to open our hearts even when in fear that it will take in more than we think it can hold. If the adult does not have these qualities, the children will stop showing their own emotions and their development will be stunted on many fronts.