Respect this House

Mario Montessori’s entire account of the events summarized in the story below can be found in the NAMTA Journal, v23 n2 p7-9 Spr 1998. It's an incredible story, that makes one feel very grateful for its amazing ending.

In 1936, while living in Barcelona, Dr. Montessori was approached by the Spanish Minister of Education, a former pupil of hers, to give a series of radio talks aimed at mothers and fathers. Her protege believed that, “It is the mothers and fathers who must be illuminated as to the greatness of their little ones.” The talks had a profound affect on many people, who soon began calling on Dr. Montessori in order to thank her for her transformative words. 

Mario Montessori would later elaborate on his mother’s growing popularity in Spain, “She gave a second series of talks on “The Social Question of the Child,” which awoke event greater interest. The figure of “The Child, Constructor of Man” began to loom in all its majesty in the minds and in the hearts of the Catalan people.”

Not long after her talks, the Spanish Civil War began. Clashes between forces led to much destruction and death. Churches were burned, homes looted, and people disappeared. It was only a matter of time before the conflict reached her front door. 

Then, one day, while out on the veranda with her grandchildren, she saw them coming. The “militanos” marched down the street, shouting and brandishing their weapons. Mario, who was in London at this time, relays the dramatic scene, “They came straight to her door, but they did not ring. They stopped in front of the wall and one of them began to paint something over it with a black, dripping brush. Soon it was finished. They all looked up, saw her in the window, raised their hand in salute, and marched away.  

The children all ran down to see. Written on the wall, in large black letters, was the caption: “RESPECT THIS HOUSE. IT HARBORS A FREIND OF THE CHILDREN.”

Posted on October 9, 2014 and filed under Resources.