Building Your Child’s Internal Architecture

Your child’s internal architecture refers to their integrity, ethical thinking, initiative, compassion and awareness. As I was speaking of the importance of these qualities, one parent remarked, “Oh, it’s like Jedi training! In the Star Wars world, the Jedi warriors’ code emphasizes self-improvement through knowledge and wisdom, and selfless service through acts of charity and citizenship.” Well, then yes, it is like Jedi training. Parents should not have to choose between strong academics and strong internal architecture (Jedi training) for their children, and I contend that you cannot really have one without the other.

Twenty years ago, leadership training was about learning strategies for improving performance, management by objective, and getting people to do what you want. Today, much of contemporary leadership training is about developing this internal architecture. Great leaders understand both the art and the science of working with people; they can influence hearts and minds. Great leaders trust their gut. Great leaders have a vision of the world that does not yet exist.

The foundation for this internal architecture begins at an early age and must be built on an underlying sense of trust and safety. In the same way that you would not put a new roof on a building with a shaky foundation, you must first shore up the internal architecture before addressing a child’s learning and development. For the young child, a sense of trust and safety is cultivated through familiar routines, consistency of adult interactions, and plenty of unscheduled time for natural exploration and free play.

At school, children learn best with structure, warmth and encouragement. Trust and safety develop when a child feels respected and heard, understands what is expected of them and can depend on the structure and boundaries set forth. Schools must be unwavering in the task of providing an emotionally safe environment for children. Positive relationships, structured academics, time in nature, uncluttered classrooms, mindfulness, low technology and explicit teaching all help to build the internal architecture of our students at Caulbridge School.

Excerpt from A Common Sense Education in Uncommon Times: Caulbridge, by Debra Lambrecht, available on Amazon and Kindle.

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