Nineteen years ago I began studying with infant specialist Magda Gerber, and my perceptions of babies, parenting and life were permanently altered. Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE), the non-profit educational organization Magda founded in 1978, continues to inspire parents and professionals and transform lives through courses offered in the US and abroad.
Ingrid Lawrence is one such student, and she has allowed me to share her impressions:
I enjoyed every moment of the RIE Foundations course in June. I find the RIE philosophy to be beautifully insightful, profoundly practical, deeply inspiring, and yes, personally challenging. I came away asking myself this question: “RIE is so good, why is it not catching on rapidly everywhere where there are young ones?” I did not have to look far for my answer. I had only to notice my own struggle to live out this philosophy to begin to understand.
I’ve come to realize that RIE is much more than a brilliant set of useful tools to be considered and applied to the care of infants and toddlers. It is a way of life, a way of being that challenges us to be present, attentive, respectful human beings, and to see clearly not only the child but ourselves.
Ultimately, RIE calls us to love – in the form of sincere respect – not only the child but ourselves, the parent, our coworker, everyone. In this way, I see RIE as a kind of high spiritual calling, one that invites us on a journey of becoming rather than to a final destination point. And, like the young child, we must be passionately determined, willing to get up from our falls and try, try again, filled with the sense that if there’s a will, there’s a way, convinced that the goal is worthy.
If we will let the children be our guides, we will become people who can love and guide them well.
As I consider embarking upon this great journey, I am aware that I must be willing to relearn what it is to be child-like in key ways. I will need to be willing to step out from what I think I know into the unknown in order to have the possibility of learning something new. I will need to be willing to fail in full view of everyone, to accept and learn from it (potentially after a good, loud cry), and try, try again. I will need to rekindle a sense of faith and wonder in this world and its people, and in myself, and know that it’s perfectly okay to be what we call an adult and a work-in-progress. It’s a tall order, and a profoundly inspiring one. The children are calling, and I am nearing the leap.
Ingrid attended the RIE Foundation’s course in Seattle, Washington, facilitated by my friend and associate Polly Elam. Thank you, Ingrid…and Polly!
(Photo by Nanagyei on Flickr)