what care must the adult take in order to support the development of the will?
Maria Montessori, the Absorbent Mind
We consistently choose to obey the rules of social life, so that we can be in compliance with the needs of the community. This obedience is key to the cohesion between beings. It is essential for the unity and harmony between human beings; we constantly make decisions to defer the will to the greater good. We discriminate and judge to determine positive actions in the community. The negative aspect is that many whole nations can follow along a command which is unhealthy, toward destruction. What Dr. Montessori, observed, is that there is an abundance of obedience to the will of another, but there is not enough discrimination toward the control of obedience. Likewise:
“All social life is organized around this basis of obedience. If there were no obedience, it would be necessary to order the children to do this or that. Thus, social life develops first through inner development, and then by obeying the rules of the environment. .The child is content to obey these rules, because he has the ability to carry out what the rules indicate. Such organization leads slowly to the division of labor and to setting of one’s actions in a specified span of time. This, the children have social experiences which lead to social organization… The placing of ourselves voluntarily in a known order.
It is thus extremely important to know the meaning of obedience. Otherwise, adults will always understand obedience to mean doing whatever the caprice of a bigger person commands. Obedience is not a passive factor; it has an organizing power child must be kept alive. So a man must be the holder of his own obedience and he must be capable of disposing of it. He must know how to obey. He must understand that it is necessary to obey for his own defiance and the defiance of his society.”