This is an article that describes the process of helping people transition to death. It is lovely and powerful.
It also applies, I think, to anyone who helps anyone transition: midwives, mentors, teachers and, particularly, parents.
The phrase: “to hold a space” is powerful. To me, it means to provide information and help as needed, and none when not needed. It means to treat the “transitioner” with profound respect, even if they do not know all that they will know. The image of helping someone die is a profound one for teachers and parents, as it is so true that, although we know a lot, we also cannot not know all that they (the learners) will someday know.
Montessori called her teachers “guides”. I think that this is why. We could say: “We do not really know where you are going; we only have some guideposts to help, that we have learned through our experience. However, your path is your own. We profoundly trust that you were born to follow this path and that you have everything you need to walk it. I am here to help.”
As teachers, as parents, I think the hardest space to hold for ourselves is that we do not always know when, or how to help, and we often are late realizing when no help is needed. All we can do is hold that space for ourselves as well, and forgive ourselves. And take joy in observing another’s journey.