maria montessori
facebook            simona nicolae

INTERESTING TO READ... february 2013

The Cultural Shock
I am sure that many of you have heard about the cultural shock.
The cultural shock is the difficulty or rather the state of anxiety, confusion, and stress that anyone moving over a short period of time or for good might feel, in a different country or culture. This state is caused by the different life style one has to adopt in the host country. Starting from the cultural aspects, the organisation, socialisation, perception of life, and up to the smallest details you perceived as normal and natural in your own country and which you will now feel at maximum intensity. 
I've decided to write about this topic for two reasons: one is that I am currently experiencing the cultural shock, and the other one is that the period I am currently crossing is somewhat similar to the absorbent period of children aged between 0 and 6.
In my opinion, we all have that inner educator Maria Montessori was writing about, and who helps us assimilate the things around us, when we are forced to develop in a certain direction.
Just like the child does not develop by chance, but has this interior guide that helps him adapt to the new environment, so does the adult.
The difference between an adult and a child is that the former unfortunately acknowledges that he has to assimilate a whole culture in order to be able to adapt and live in the chosen place, while the child unconsciously does it.
When I decided to leave to France, I started by learning the language with a teacher, in Romania. After I've learnt how to conjugate a few verbs, I thought French wasn't that hard, but that it actually was a beautiful language. When I got here, I realised that they do not use the verbs I had learnt how to conjugate in speech. ;)
I needed 2 days to find the courage to go buy a public transportation subscription. Then, I stood in front of the desk for 15 minutes, before I could render a coherent sentence that, in Romanian, I would have spoken while talking on the telephone and looking for my wallet in the purse.
When I started understanding the language, there I was, just like 3 or 4 year olds, in the very middle of the language period: I was reading all advertising boards, all subway papers, I carried books around, and read whenever I got the chance; I bought magazines, and took all flyers I was offered on the street to read them. When I got to the end, I had the feeling that I had done the most important and the most difficult thing in the world.
I had the chance to meet people who helped me in this accommodation to a new culture, but, above all, the children I work in the classroom mostly helped me; one way or another, we are on the same path ;).
I believe that, most of the time, we do not realise how much a child strives on his road to development and that, quite often, we, the adults, do nothing but raise obstacles. We should appreciate and support the child's work more, even if it seems effortless when looked at from the outside.
Observing the child more and trying to understand the purpose of his actions before stepping in might be a good start.
And this month I (re)found something "Interesting to see” because I saw again a movie one of my dearest friends recommended to me a few years ago: "The straight story”.
At first sight, it might seem that it has nothing to do with what I wrote, but I'll leave it to you to decide…;).
The action takes place so slowly that you sometimes want to stop watching, but it is so full of great and simple lessons that you end up congratulating yourself for the patience.
A movie of reference, I dare write, for both adults, and adolescents.
"When my children were little, I used to play a game with them. I have them each a stick and then I said "You broke it". Of course they could, it was very easy for them to break it. And then I said: "take a bunch of sticks and try breaking that". Of course they couldn't. And then I said "the bunch, that's family.”
Alvin Straight – Straight story 1999.