Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Quotes Worth Pondering: Atmosphere is a Discipline

Some of the ideas I am pondering as we continue through Charlotte Mason’s 20 Principles…
Towards a Philosophy of Education, Volume 6 (Charlotte Mason)
“It is possible to sow a great idea lightly and casually and perhaps this sort of sowing should be rare and casual because if a child detect a definite purpose in his mentor, he is apt to stiffen himself against it.”  (p. 102)
“This danger is perhaps averted by giving children as their daily diet the wise thoughts of great minds, and of many great minds; so that they may gradually and unconsciously get the courage of their opinions.” (p.104)
For the Children’s Sake (Susan Schaeffer Macaulay)
“Routines form habits…When planning routines, priority must be given to the most important things.  The person matters (be it child, husband/wife, or friend).  We’ll need time to talk, read, relax and work together.  Our relationship with God matters.  Where is the time to be found for that?  I am a part of this creation.  Where will I find time to get out and enjoy nature?  There is too much work to be done, and I am finite.  I need to accept reality and plan the time and priorities carefully.” (p. 81-82)
“In keeping a child truthful, remember that it is most important not to frighten it into untruthfulness by too great severity.  If it be severely punished for some fault, the temptation to hide faults will be so great that it will readily come to conceal them, and not be quite open over anything it happens to have done amiss.”
“Then again, a child, being pre-eminently an imitative animal, most of its habits are formed by imitation rather than as a result of direct teaching.”
“With regard to obedience, it is a little more difficult to see how imitation can be brought in to help to form the habit of obedience.  Children’s rulers often seem not to have to obey anyone, so that in the minds of many children, to be grown up is to done as one likes.  There, I think, lies the importance of early training in religion, that the children should feel by the way we live as adults, who seem so free, are yet obedient to a higher power, that we are guided by duty, and obey the law of ‘must’.  In this connection, I have long felt that we nurses and mothers can do a truly religious work, for, by making our children obedient to us, we are preparing the way for their obedience to God.”
“What is often needed is a little discreet blindness.  If a child is very troublesome, you must let some of his minor faults go for a time unnoticed until he has learnt to obey the weightier matters of the law.  Don’t ever dishearten a child by making him feel that nothing he does is right, and if you find yourself tending in that direction, be specially on the look out for a child’s good points, and you are to find some, and a little praise for these will help him conquer in other directions.”
“Above all, if we are working for the future, you will see that to give commands without their reasons attached is a beautiful way of training a man to trust himself to the will of his Creator.  The child often cannot understand your reasons, but he understands loving and trusting you, and love and trust are sufficient reasons for him, as they often have to be for us adults who have dark paths to tread.”
“…love has to be accompanied by patience.  It often seems as if we make no progress – as though we gain to-day, we lose tomorrow.  One day we are rejoicing in the sweetness of the child’s character, the next, every fault  that we thought we conquered has reasserted itself, and we are apt to despair.  But we must remember that it is the last blow that smashes a stone, and that all the efforts of all the days will in the end succeed, and not one of them is wasted, but has helped toward the final triumph.”
“Nursery discipline, such as I have treated of, involves a great deal of hard work and self-denial; but all the hard work and self-denial in the world will not produce the result you are aiming at – the formation of good habits – unless you are fortified with a large stock of love and sympathy.”
“The object of discipline is always one and the same – to form and fashion the character, to educate and inform and strengthen the will; to unfold and inculcate the highest ideal of law, and the highest sanction of law.  But the means by which the object is to be attained must be regarded as distinct from the object itself.  The certainty that our object is right does not always carry with it the certainty that our particular means are right.”
“Thus the aim of the teacher is not by a cast-iron system of legal and irritating restrictions to bind and fetter and imprison the will of the child, to repress and kill out all spirit and energy and individuality, and to reduce the child to a tame and lifeless and colourless thing; but rather to give full play to the utmost spirit and energy of which the child is capable, to awaken and develop in the child the idea of obedience and usefulness and the highest happiness – in fact, to put into the child’s hands the bit and bridle wherewith to curb and guide himself, and show him why and how to use them.”
“I will never deal effectively with my children’s character issues unless I deal with my own.”
“In order to train a child’s will in this manner, parents must lay down their lives for them.  They must be willing to spend large amounts of time engaged with them.  They must believe that children are educated  by their intimacies and they must ensure that the child is intimate with what is good and noble and true.”
“Ultimately, we don’t want self-controlled children.  We want children who hear and answer the Lord.  We need to give children choices within limits, but we need to teach them how and why to choose right.  We need to train their hearts and educate their minds.   When they are fully informed of the consequences of their actions, we need to allow free will, just as our heavenly Father does…Children who are trained in such a way do not have their will subdued; instead they have it inspired by the Holy Spirit.”

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