“I know that the world should be allowed to live and be allowed to live. […] Therefore, it is inadequate to want to lift the world by rewarding the good, and it is impossible to lift the world by punishing the wicked. The world is so big that you can’t get it with reward and punishment. From the beginning of world history, one gave in only to reward and punish. But then there was no time to calmly come to terms with the conditions of the natural order.”

Dschuang Dsi, The True Book of the Southern Land of Flowers , S. 116f, 1974, own translation from German by Richard Wilhelm.

What does this mean for us educators?

There is a deep wisdom in not wanting to change a child. Watching what it is and what it wants to become by itself, rather than pushing its development in a direction that we want through reward and punishment.

This cannot mean leaving the child to his own devices. But it may well encourage us to put our own agenda for the child in the background. It can encourage us to have confidence in the course of things and in the inherent power and wisdom of the child. And finally, strengthen confidence in ourselves and move us to humility before what is perhaps greater and more beautiful than we may grasp.

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