Support Instead of Education

Among Equals

Adults have their identity, children have their identity. Whatever their identity is and may develop, it exists and remains equal regardless of all differences. Relationships grow on the fundament of this really existing identity of every adult and this really existing identity of every child. From person to person, from identity to identity, from self to self. The adult finds his way to the child out of his own self. He involves aspects of his personality in his relationship to the child just as he wants and is able to. He has no mission, no assignment, no method, and no trick. He is authentic, situational, and flexible: He remains the way he is, with his rough and smooth sides, suggestions, encouragements, limits, and hopes.

Adults who no longer carry the educational image of the child in their hearts, who see themselves and their personality not hidden behind an educational mission, who first of all take on responsibility for the child they themself remain their whole life, who are centered within themselves and not in the child, are very different from adults who find education is right. Post-modernism poses existential questions which support a constructive orientation in the world of equality: »Who am I – who do I want to be?« »What are my personal values in this diversity of values?«. This leads to the next question: »Who are you?« and concerning the question »Who am I in the communication with children?«. These adults realize that they no longer carry the image of the child as a human in need of education and that they no longer see themselves as educating adults. For them there is no educator and pupil in an educational relationship. Instead of this, equal humans meet beyond any education.

However, the non-educational adult does not turn away from the child. Why should he do this? Ending the educational view of the child does not end the love for the child. He turns towards the child in a similar way as educational adults do this. But this happens without the educational approach, without the mission to make full humans out of the young ones. No, he approaches the child from one equal to another equal by respecting all differences. Just as he does it with men and women, in politics, and elsewhere.

Children can sense this mental change. This father, this mother, this teacher, this adult has a new charisma, a new mental message, and children understand this shift: »He no longer says, that I must become a full human. There are many recipes how one can do this: authoritarian, anti-authoritarian, laisser-faire, democratic, and there are many chefs de cuisine with recipes how to do this: Comenius, Pestalozzi, Rousseau, Montessori, etc., etc., etc.. No, he lets me know that he sees me as a full human, right from the start. And from this position he steps into a relationship with me, a relationship without education. Everything he does is full of this non‑educational, missionless, respectful attitude. I experience a person – and can also be a person in his presence. We have things in common as well as differences, conflicts, limits, we mutually enrich and restrict each other, just the way it happens. However, we don´t have that thing called education between us.«