The process by which the human personality is formed is the hidden work of incarnation.
The helpless infant is an enigma. The only thing we know about him is that he is an enigma, but nobody knows what he will be or what he will do. His helpless body contains the most complex mechanism of any living creature, but it is distinctly his own.
Man belongs to himself, and his special will furthers the work of incarnation.
Maria Montessori, The Child in the Family, London, Pan, 1970, pp32-33.
Do we accept that there is more to being human than flesh and blood? That there is a will, soul or spirit animating each one of us?
We could say that parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers are charged with enabling the work of incarnation to take place in the child; not to break the child’s will but to provide a fertile ground for it to grow.
Of course we refer to the Incarnation especially in regard to Jesus. His humanity was shaped in his relationship with Mary and Joseph; we have to thank them for their part in his development, his incarnation.
In this statue from the church of Our Lord in the Attic, Amsterdam, Mary is supporting her Son as he reaches out into the world, to you and to me. Let us pray for the grace to perceive how to support the children we live and work with.