Have you heard about the Thinking Chair?
I discovered it last week. It’s part of the Montessori school philosophy. I know this because my three-year-old granddaughter, Ella, attends a Montessori school.
Maybe the Thinking Chair is a broader concept — I’m convinced it should be — used in other situations and by other institutions. If so I am unaware of it.
What I learned was this:
When a child disrupts the group in some significant way or refuses to follow instructions after multiple reminders, he or she is asked to sit in the Thinking Chair to reflect upon the misdeed. When the child feels, after reflection, she understands the situation, which is to say: cause, reaction, effect, she will say: “I’m ready.” Then the teacher will join the child for a little chat to make certain that not only resolution was achieved, but also, and more importantly, comprehension. With comprehension, the child must take that information and act upon it. That could mean listening and following instructions or in some cases an apology, or both.
I suppose it’s semantics, just another way of saying “go to your ‘Time Out’ corner.” Still, I like the clarity of a Thinking Chair. A child is told specifically the purpose of the time out and learns to ponder and reflect.
The child then returns to her activities and the day continues. Surely comprehension depends upon age, but it seems to me that mastering the ability to pause and think is a great lesson that will serve children well throughout their lives.
Sometimes we seem to live only in reaction and not reflection. Maybe the Thinking Chair would be our equivalent of deep breaths, a long walk or yoga. The older I get the more I think I need to take more deep breaths.
At a brunch party yesterday, guests were talking about the “challenges” of Thanksgiving, that quintessential American, bring family and friends together holiday I so dearly love, but apparently for many it can be a trying obligation. One woman suggested that family gatherings are the place to get into “serious arguments if necessary” (I wonder what “if necessary” means) about major differences of opinion be they political, philosophical, religious, educational, etc.
Another guest countered that she had never seen anyone change the opinion of a family member over a holiday meal.
I have a relative who is the sister I never had and I have a profound love for her. In some areas of our lives our opinions couldn’t be more divergent. It-makes-no-difference. She is kind, generous, fun, funny and I am incredibly lucky to have her in my life.
Speaking of thinking and breathing, I think it’s time I take a deep breath and get back on message in this space: Fashion and beauty.
You’re probably thinking, oui, oui, oui.