Reason and Will

There are certain human responsibilities regarding the tendencies – responsibility to use them in a positive way. If these responsibilities are not fulfilled, it is to personal social and global detriment. 

Unique gifts – special endowments of human beings. Dr. Montessori used these terms interchangeably – gifts of intellect/reason – will/love – terms recurring throughout the training. 

In history studies especially, these human gifts are discussed quite often. And how human beings must be responsible for their use. When considering reason/intellect, it is pretty straight-forward – identified with cognitive development/ability. 

The terms will/love are more difficult for people to grasp as Dr. Montessori used them. She referred to the human ability to will or to love as the ability to choose what is good – what is inherently right. For example one can wish that everyone on the planet has enough food to eat – showing a love for people that have never been met because one cares about them and about their needs. One wishes them well. This is not in the same realm as romantic love (that fluffy feeling)[1] that one has about things liked or enjoyed. This form of love has more to do with intent. 

In the elementary environment, the children should be assisted in the development of both of these uniquely human gifts – reason and will. Reason is developed through the presentations, through the children’s work alone, with others and with the adult, and by the child being allowed to work towards his own understanding. Will is developed through the environment, controlling the willing, choosing to submit one's will to another, and by developing the sense of gratitude and responsibility in the history presentations. 

[1] Stephenson

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