Monday, September 5, 2011

English translation of Hungarian TV show about the life and work of András Pető (Part 3)

The post below is the rough English translation of the one episode of the series “Hungarians of Sterling Worth” of the Hungarian Television featuring the life of András Pető. I added some explanations in brackets where I felt it was needed. Please click on the link below to watch the show on the Hungarian Television's website.

Hungarians Of Sterling Worth-András Pető (1893-1967)

Part 3 translation starts at 00.33.20

Tamás Vekerdy, psychologist: He was an absolute phenomenon and he was mesmerizing, he mesmerized me, and the children mesmerized me as well. I had been observing at the Institute for extended periods, for days on end.  Everything that happened there, the way the children spoke, for example a 4.5-year-old who couldn't speak before at all and uttered his first words there at Pető.  He told us what it was like when he was laying on an operating table with appendicitis and everybody was talking around him about how it would be much better for him to die, “it would benefit him since he’s a cripple”.  He could understand this all and when he could finally speak thanks to Pető’s movement therapy—because movement brings speech with it—he told us what he went through in his earlier life.  These children were mesmerizing; they were holding down one of their hands with the other to control them so that they could tell us what they wanted to say.  They were writing poems, some of them were excellent mathematicians and this whole cleverness that there would be a school there—that one of the disabled children would be the librarian there as an adult, another one a teacher—was made up by him and brought together by him through paragraphs and law and other mazes with the help of genius and selfless colleagues for example Dr. Hári.

Sándor Török (Hungarian writer, 1904-1985): “I would’ve loved a little garden” /excerpt from his autobiographical novel/:  "I visited one of the programs of the 9-10 year-olds’ once.  This one was an academic class.  However, it came to that the children started writing poems.  They were writing the rhymes on papers kept down with their twitching hands far away from their eyes, with spastic muscles and with glorious smiles on their faces—all about motion.  About rippling lakes, racing mountain creeks, rabbits grazing on a flowery meadow, passing clouds; and I was the witness of the Institute’s head professor starting his overnight vigil all for them."

Tamás Vekerdy, psychologist: It was also Pető’s idea that there were no strapped, tied down hands for children with over-movements.  There were no tin bowls, etc., but there were China plates, glass jugs, glasses, hands moving freely—this was their way to try—at worst they’ll break.  He made these children equal with all other children even in their everyday life and this had a huge effect on these kids.  The individuum is impenetrable.  The thing is how the immortal and impenetrable individuum is accommodated within its worldly body.  Is it perfectly like for us who are more or less moving well or is it only a fraction of it that’s able to enter and the rest is left outside.  Pető looked behind this.  You’re the same, impenetrable, whole, sterling individuum—I can see this all over you—like everybody, you just can’t use your body the same way.  I’m appealing to your immortal being and I’m helping you to use your body a better way.  These were the highlights that could not possibly be bypassed in this approach.

Zoltán Vitó, poet/writer:  Nothing is impossible. I don’t know how—maybe through a special talent--I was able to implement this to all areas of my life.  It was his person who was the most important guidance.  Thanks to this I achieved that I am a recognized poet and writer despite the immense disadvantage and prejudice;  my writings are listed in literary and contemporary cyclopedias,  and furthermore I have a beautiful young wife and a wonderful little son who consummate the array of my struggles and I can call myself a happy person.

Poem “About the magician of motion” by Zoltán Vitó  (I am lacking the qualities to be able to translate a poem like this.)  The poem is about Pető. The poet compares the ability to move to good wine and flush of joy; once one learns to walk they know that nothing is impossible.  Will, heart and mind are able vanquish any monster.

Mária Hári, MD, College Professor:  Peto had a message of higher meaning for everyone.  People usually remembered this for life.  I was unable to completely follow through what I received but he said countless times that “There’s no me, just this” and “it’s not because, it’s in order to”. He took it for granted that he needed to keep his world in order around him.  He believed that order around you comes with order inside you and he took care of these very well.  Part of the order was to carry through and complete each thought and each action, and to turn all failure into success.

Mária Herczeg, College teacher:  He taught all his colleagues the most basic thing:  thorough observation—or rather—he taught us to see; to extensively observe and see.

Gyuláné Kozma, College Teacher, Director:  Professor Pető thought that when it comes to the complex personal development of the motor disabled child, the nice environment, the nice human face and the nice soul hiding behind the nice human face play a significant role.

Erzsébet Gárdos Kőrispatakiné, assistant professor:  There was a homely atmosphere.  It was a closed little republic.  We were almost excluded from the outside world but in a good sense.  He took extreme care so that everything happened in the children’s interest.  They received the best of everything: food, people…

Aladárné Őrfalvy, Head of Department: It was very important to look good.  There were rumors about—I don’t know whose idea this was—everybody was talking about ‘Pető girls’; that only pretty ladies were employed at the Institute on Villányi Street.  Well indeed, he kept an eye on us if we looked appropriate at all times.

Erzsébet Gárdos Kőrispatakiné, assistant professor:  The lady colleague who didn’t help the children the correct way, didn’t look appropriate or didn’t keep everything in order was often sent off to pick up their “Employement book” (i.e. they were fired).  However, he usually changed his mind, asked them to come back and tried to look into how to help instead.

Éva Óra Takácsné, Head Conductor:  He saw me coming in to work on one occasion.  My hair was—like a young girl’s—a bit messy.  He looked at me and asked me why my hair was messy.  I humbly said that I had not have time to go to the hairdresser.  “And you didn’t have money either”.  He gave me 100 Forints [Pető’s salary was probably 500 Forints].  “Go to the hairdresser, and when your hair is done come in because I’d like to see it.”  Then he said in a funny manner: “Don’t spend it on food”.

Aladárné Őrfalvy, Head of Department:  Accepting gratuity was inconceivable.  Instead, he gave money to the needy.  We were even forbidden to accept a bouquet of flowers.  [This was, and still is extremely rare.  Generally all healthcare professionals live on parasolvency in Hungary as they have to supplement their meager income.]  He took this very seriously.

Péter Popper, psychologist:  He was poor as a church mouse.  This did have a good reason: I believe he spent at least half of his income on taxi.  He always got about by taxi; he couldn't move very well.  I didn't see any luxury in his life other than the taxi.  Once he—I know this because it caused a lot of trouble—suddenly decided to spend his entire monthly paycheck on chocolate and candy which he shared out between the children at the Institute.  Subsequently he came to realize that he had left nothing to live on and he adopted a Széchenyi sort of policy: “my friends will support me” and that is what they did.

Sándor Török (Hungarian writer, 1904-1985): “I would’ve loved a little garden” /excerpt from his autobiographical novel/:  “He was ailed by many illnesses, some very serious.  There were times when he couldn't even lift a chair; he was pulling it behind him.  When the elevator was out of order—he lived on the 5th floor—he made arrangements with the ambulance to take him to the Institute on a stretcher in the morning and bring him home in the evening.  “Now"—he said while in a bitter mood—"I don’t even like very much what I do.  Destiny put me here and it’s forcing me to remain.  I’m guilty.  I’m not keen on my destiny at all, but I do have to fulfill it.”

Péter Popper, psychologist: Gábor Palotás [MD, special educator, college professor], who also belonged to his circle of friends, came in out of breath:  “the Professor was put into retirement”  “That’s not a problem”—said the professor—“the problem is that the paper boy is already far down the street.”  He picked up the receiver, called the Party Central Committee, one of the bigwigs—I’m not saying his name on purpose—and he said:  “Pető here.  I was put into retirement yet again.”  The Ministry rescinded their intent to retire him a week later and apologized to Pető.  They didn’t like András Pető, they would’ve done everything they could to close the Institute.  The stupendously huge international popularity of the method and the Institute came when Pető was already dead; it didn’t happen in his life. 

Gyuláné Kozma, College Teacher, Director:  I’m very proud of the fact that this special Hungarian product—intellectual product, this special Hungarian product, let’s say ‘Hungaricum’, it’s a fashionable word these days—is still its strongest in Hungary despite its 15-20 years of international propagation.  The Pető Institute is the central place of Conductive Pedagogy.  So if they’re starting anything involving Conductive Pedagogy in Australia, New Zealand, Japan or America, it is certain that a Hungarian professional trained by us is taking part in it.

Lucia Alvarez, College Student /Spain/:  They are opening a Pető Institute in Spain and we’re here to learn the method.

Nuria Idoate, College Student /Spain: I didn’t know anything about this whole thing up until 2 years ago.  It’s very interesting to me.  You teach the patient to think how they have to do the movements.  First they think it over how they do it, then they do it.

Dorte Kirkesov:  I’m from Denmark, I’m a pianist.  I came here to try out the Pető method.  This is a very useful method because it treats the whole body; it moves even the defective side of the body.  It’s difficult to use your bad hand, bad arm in everyday life.  It’s much easier to substitute it with the other.  It’s great that they move the body symmetrically here.  This is what I aspire after.  It’s great that they make you especially conscious about this here, and that you have to try it every day.

Zsuzsanna Baján Gróner, College Student /Israel/: I was really looking for this—this sort of—help, when you can see the results.  This is important when you’re helping somebody: to see the results.  We call our Pető Institute ‘Tsad Kadima’, which means ‘one step ahead’.  This is what this is all about: one step ahead.

Lea Masasa, College Student /Israel/: My friends were curious what I was doing here.  Some of them came to have a look.  They saw the programs and they liked them very much.  They especially liked the way I was working with the children so that they can be more independent in their life.

Éva Bokor, College Student:  What I like the most is that the children always come first.  We’re doing everything in a way so that it’s best for them, regardless how much time and work it takes.

Eszter Kárász, College Student:  I believe what this method really is and what it is about takes a very long time to realize; this may be my defect only but I didn't succeed in realizing it straightaway.  You have to make it a part of your being for you to be able to comprehend.  The reality is that I am in my fourth year now and I just started to comprehend; I may not even be able understand what it is about, only sense the meaning of it somehow.  I’m not sure it’s possible to fully comprehend it the first place, but it’s possible to sense what to do to bring out the hidden abilities of the children instead of forcing our will on them.  We've been taught and told about a tremendous amount contradicting things about András Pető.  I would've loved to know him personally, I’m sure he was a fantastic fellow if I can put it this way…

Mária Hári, MD, College Professor:  What he created is performance of art; he established new quality.  He was a creator—everything he knew became one to give birth to something completely new.

Dr. Pető András Szombathely, Hungary, 11 September 1893, Budapest, Hungary, 11 September 1967

Reporter:  Hajni, I would like to ask you to recite the beautiful poem you wrote.
Hajni: "If I could walk"
If I could walk
I’d be happy
We could go outside to the garden in nice weather
We’d run around with my brother, we’d even climb the trees
If the tree was high, we’d climb on top
If the ground was warm we’d roll on the grass
We would chase each other with my dog
And we’d laugh in a great mood
If there were a lot of bushes in the garden, we could both hide
But until I can walk we won’t be able to play tag.
[Hajni's original Hungarian poem rhymes.]

Reporter:  Do you like coming here to the Pető Institute?
Hajni:  Yes I do.
Reporter:  Why?
Hajni:  Because I know I’m making progress in my ability to move.
Reporter:  What progress have you made so far?
Hajni:  I've learned to walk independently using a walker.




  1. Do you know if there are another type of video talking about Peto Institute or Andras Peto in the days of today? Even if it hungarian or any language, is always a way to 'teach' people about CE. Thank you!

  2. I know this is an "old" blog; but for me it rings fresh and powerful and so so true! I cannot thank you enough for writing every word you have put here. Just wonderful. Thanks, - James, Blue's Dad.