Friday, June 14, 2013

Quotes Worth Pondering: Authority and Docility

Some of the ideas I am chewing on as a savor the readings that pertain to Principle #3 as part of the Charlotte Mason 20 Principles Study…
Towards a Philosophy of Education (Volume 6), Charlotte Mason
“…authority is, on the contrary, the condition without which liberty does not exist and, except it be abused, is entirely congenial to those on whom it is exercised: we are so made that we like to be ordered even if the ordering be only that of circumstances.”  (p. 69)
“The principle in us which brings us into subjection to authority is docility, teachableness, and that is also universal.   If a man in the pride of his heart decline other authority, he will submit himself slavishly to his ‘star’ or his ‘destiny’. (p.69)
“The same two principles work in every child, the one producing an ordered life, the other making for rebellion, and the crux in bringing up children is to find the mean which shall keep a child true to his elliptical orbit…The life that does not obey such conditions has got out of its orbit and is not of use to society.  It is necessary what we should all follow an ordered course, and children, even infant children, must begin in the way in which they will have to go on.”  (p.70)
“Docility implies equality; there is no great gulf fixed between teacher and taught; both are pursuing the same ends, engaged on the same theme, enriched by mutual interests; and probably the quite delightful pursuit of knowledge affords the only intrinsic liberty for both teacher and taught.” (p. 71)
“The conditions are, - the teacher, or other head, may not be arbitrary but must act so evidently as one under authority that the children, quick to discern, see that he too must do the things he ought; and therefore that regulations are not made for his convenience.” (p. 73)
For the Children’s Sake, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
“We should daily look into God’s Word and see this path by His clear light.  The shepherd leads into the paths of righteousness.” (p.51)
“When I am honest, as a parent, I know that I am all too often aggressive toward the child.  I am angry at him, because I am angry at my own failures.  I want this child to be the perfect human being that I somehow failed to become…None of us live up very well to that model of righteousness, the loving Shepherd-Leader who is perfect Himself and can lead into the paths of righteousness in love.  Such honesty strengthens our office…Thank God that the reality of righteousness is not based on the level I achieve myself!”  (p. 53)
“Harshness, fear, and autocracy are ruled out if we follow the New Testament teaching that leadership means a serving of the other person.” (p.54)”
“All other right authority is of the same origin and has its measure of the same force, following this wonderful type: in its proper form and operation, it uses love and wisdom in mediatorial service as the minister of good to the body social and politic, and to its individual members according to their needs.”
“We must and will exert Authority to keep the growth straight and true, as we put supports around young trees that they may not be blown away by every wind. By-and-by when they have thrust down their roots into the earth and put up to heaven their branches, we remove the ties and the trees stand firm and straight. So, too, as the child grows bigger we relax and in the end remove entirely our Authority.”
“My observations upon children brought up throughout without Authority have naturally been somewhat limited, but from what I have seen I am certainly disposed to regard them as rather disagreeable little people, setting an inordinate value on their own judgment and no value at all on the judgment of anyone else; while in any disputed point if a verdict be given against them they are inclined to cry out that justice no longer exists. Nor have I observed, so far as I have been able to observe at all, that they eventually make better or more amiable men and women. To conclude: It is not good for anyone to have his own way always--not even when he is grown up--much less is it good for children.”

“Unreasoning Obedience” (Parent’s Review)
“Surely to insist upon its doing so, is to lower the whole conception of obedience as a virtue in itself. It is not only for the sake of convenience that children are made to obey, but because obedience is a beautiful thing and because it calls forth other beautiful things--trustfulness, self-denial, self-control, grateful reverence for the best, where it is seen. It is the great solution of all that is strange and difficult in our lives. For, after all, the will of a parent is only a faint foreshadowing of the many inexplicable laws of life which will have to be recognized and obeyed. Can there be a better training for those higher laws than the discipline of obedience in childhood, when love makes it easy?”

“Again, unreasoning obedience is a useful counterbalance to that strong individualism which is natural to every child, but which soon develops into selfishness unless the child is taught to respect the importance of others and to regard himself as insignificant compared with the community of which he forms a part.”

“Authority in Perspective” by Tara Schorr (ChildLight USA Blog)
In other words, the relationships are modeled after a loving family, not a boss and employers. It is supposed to be enabling and releasing, not managing or using.”

“These are the principles that should inform our daily lives, actions, and decisions. Are we being watchful over our students so that they are challenged in a positive way? Are we impatient and expect things from them that we haven’t properly trained them enough in? Do we care about their feelings, even if they seem insignificant from our adult perspective? Do we put them first, above our own comfort and convenience? Do we really listen to them? Are we nurturing and affectionately loving them through the fun, the tedious, and the challenging? Are we regularly weighing and adjusting according to their development and growing maturity? Are we being tender when bringing correction? Do they feel safe with us, and know that in all things we have their best interests in mind?”

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