"Try to make the girls feel accepted and loved: be firm without being harsh and be good without being weak", says one of Sophie’s "maxims".
It is something that, in my 52 years as an educator, in schools and popular projects, I have aimed to live by, more or less successfully.
Reflecting on that phrase, I realized that, in Sophie’s early years, the most pivotal figures in her life were her mother, who was affectionate and very close to her daughter, and her brother Luis, who was austere, demanding, and who enthusiastically pushed her to acquire a wealth of knowledge.
Comparing this phrase of Sophie's with her early experiences and with our educational methods, a pedagogy that she pioneered, I realized that she had wisely combined her mother's love and tenderness, on the one hand, and her brother's demand for quality on the other. She took from each one the things that help children grow, and rectified their possible excesses; the affection of one and the demands of the other.
This discovery led me to try to enhance what was valuable in my upbringing and to let go of what was not helpful. My admiration for Sophie grew; I value and understand better that phrase that has helped me so much, and I am grateful for all the good I have received from my educators.
Ana Ramírez Ugarte rscj