Last week we took our (9-12) students to Camp Ernst to have fun, take risks, and set some goals for the year. During one of the activities, students were asked to write down and illustrate where they would like to be in 9 months. Students shared their goals, challenges, and hopes for the school year. One student was struggling as he was writing down and illustrating his thoughts. His illustration wasn’t turning out the way he wanted. To you and me, it looked pretty darn good, but to him it wasn’t perfect. And because it wasn’t perfect, he couldn’t move on. I encouraged him. I told him it looked great the way it was. I let him know it didn’t need to be “perfect.” He remained teary and unable to move forward. I turned toward another student in need of help but remained close in hopes that in a little time he would gather himself.
At that moment a parent volunteer sat down next to him and told a short story. “In the 16th century there was a slab of marble that no one wanted to use. It had been tossed aside as poor quality, imperfect, and unusable. It sat for 40 years, overlooked by artists and architects. A 26-year-old artist decided to use it and created one of the most famous sculptures in the world, a 17-foot figure named, David. The artist was Michelangelo. “
That was it. The parent got up and walked away. I didn’t turn around to see what effect the story had, but soon I heard the soft and beautiful sound of pen on paper.
Here is an article with plenty of valuable recommendations on how to “Help your Child Succeed at School”. It is not specific to Montessori, but there are a lot of great takeaways.