Monday, 26 August 2013


Ninety-year anniversary of her birth
Born 26 August 1923; died 6 October 2001

The anniversary of Mária's Hári's birth date offers arbitrary cause to recall what she achieved, and her hard unyielding. lifetime purpose in holding firm to the course of Conductive Education.

And perhaps ask hard questions.


Like much else about Mária's Hári the effects of her stance on this were contradictory. She tried to hold András Pető's Institute in a sort of time warp, maintaining things as they were on the day that he died in 1967, even though the Hungary in which the Institute and its regime had developed were already even then on the change. Had she not stood so stubbornly firm, however, then quite possibly the Institute and its 'method' might not have survived even as far as the fall of Communism in Hungary.

Along the way, though, András Pető's own insistence upon holding to his prescribed methods hardened under Mária's Hári's wardship into a culture of inflexibility, corrosive to the need to adapt and develop to match the ever more unforeseeable changes to come.

One can only do what one can for the best, in the world, as one sees it at the time. She did what she did, well, and on her watch András Pető's CE survived.

She was what was needed at the time that needed her.

Mária, you are missed

She did not suffer fools gladly, and hated the sugary sentimentality that may attach to working with disabled people, especially children → another contradiction: she was hard as nails and soft as lights  tough love if ever there was, a Tiger Pedagogue.

They have broken the mould that produced Mária Hári – well, not quite but the family life and the experience of the social-political world that helped form her were sui generis, unique, of her own kind.

Her going left a hole that has not been filled.

How to act in remembrance of Mária Hári? Perhaps best by asking tough questions, perhaps being a little more unyielding, less inclined to the easy, convivial compromise –

Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect...

That's more like Mária...


Three obituary notices from the UK:

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