Friday, September 01, 2006

More On Sameness

One thing I love about the Montessori approach to education is that it doesn't look at all children as being the same and doesn't treat them that way either. While some modern Montessorians have become somewhat rigid in their approach (and apparently this has always been a problem in North America), Maria Montessori was highly flexible, focusing on the individual child. Where one child might be presented with every material under the sun because that's what he wanted, the child who didn't want any presentations and spent his time observing what everybody else was doing was allowed to do so. Unfortunately our society's desire for sameness can contort the Montessori Method, as much as it can affect what we do with our individual children.

There was a link on the Yahoo! main page this morning for a news clip about short people and human growth hormone. The mother interviewed all but said that they gave their son HGH because they didn't want him to continue growing up short and being made fun of. [Homeschooling or a good Montessori classroom would probably have ended that mockery!] That as an adult, he would have difficulty in the business world as well as "find[ing] a wife". [Doctors predicted he would be 5'5" as an adult and now predict he'll be 5'8".] They also interviewed a man who is 5'3" who wishes he had been able to have the hormones as a child and had his own son have them. I can't recall how tall he grew to be, but around 'average' height.

Isn't it ironic in the 'land of the free' there is so much focus on individualism, yet when it comes down to it, they just want to be the same as others?

I also found it sad that that man grew up to be so bothered by his height and that the boy and his parents did what they did. I then thought of recent things on TLC I saw on primal dwarfism and kids who were very happy with who they were. And I thought of Danny DeVito, who is only 4'10"-5' tall. He seems like a man who enjoys life and his height certainly hasn't impacted negatively on his career.

We are not all supposed to be the same. While we all share in common characteristics, be it how we are physically or the schooling we decide for our children, there is nothing wrong in being different. I don't think we should aim to be different, because then I wonder if we are being true to ourselves, but however we are different from others should not bring shame or ridicule. And that shame and ridicule that we may feel should not lead us to something as drastic as giving perfectly healthy children hormones so that they can be like everyone else.

Celebrate who you and your children are for the individuals that you are.


Jane said...

What a great post!

I am 4'11 and although my ex is 6'1, my oldest DS is very short for his age and we were told he would be about 5'6" which isn't that short really but right now at 13 he wishes he was 'the same' despite homeschooling.....I think homeschooling really helps with this though in the confidence department.......he is considering going to high school and I am not sure how his height then will effect his decision.

I have always liked my has always seemed to work in my favour and has never stopped me doing anything.....but I do think its very different for a woman......sadly.

Charlynn said...

What a great post!

I really enjoy reading your blog, and Jane's too! I love hearing the different outlooks on life and the world from a homeschoolers' point of view!

It is sad about that poor little guy. Of all of the children all over the world who have to take medicine for all kinds of different disease, disorders, etc.-the idea of getting a child to take medication purely for cosmetic reasons boggles my mind!

Christie said...

According to Jane I have MASSIVE feet! :)

I admire that my children feel ok being different from other kids.

It baffles me that parents would make their child take medication to make him 3 INCHES taller! What difference will 3 inches make when he is an adult!?

Daisy said...

The only thing I can understand in it is to work it out logically: these parents want the best possible future for their child and think it won't happen if their child is "only" 5'5". Frankly, I think that shows a very narrow view of what success is and succumbing to the false ideals of society.

I have big feet, too. Size 8 and I'm only about 5'3".